A Cloverdale tribe called the Cloverdale Rancheria of Pomo Indians has received federal approval for its request to create a reservation on 62 acres of land in Sonoma County in California. The tribe has indicated that it has plans to build the county’s third casino on the parcel of land.
Rob Muelrath, the spokesman for the tribe has said that the approval was a major step in going forward with their plans that will help with the economic development of the tribe.
A 575,600 square feet casino resort is being planned on the land which would include a five-story hotel, convention hall and an entertainment center.
According to acting Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Larry Roberts, the restoration of the land to the tribe will enable its citizens to achieve long-term economic growth.
The $320 million project is being opposed by officials of Cloverdale city and the county who say the project is too massive. The county issued a statement after the announcement saying that it was reviewing its legal options for deciding on a course of action to protect the county from the ill-effects of the casino project. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to have a closed-door meeting later this week to discuss the issue.
The proposed Cloverdale Rancheria project would be the second largest gaming complex in the county after the $800 million Graton Resort and Casino located near Rohnert Park. The county’s first tribal the River Rock Casino near Geyserville has seen its revenue drop significantly after the Graton opened in 2013.
Visitors from the affluent Bay area would have to pass through both these casinos to reach the location of the proposed casino by Cloverdale Rancheria. Experts have said that the North Bay market is considerably oversaturated and the tribe may find it difficult to finance the new casino.
Muelrath stated that the final scope of the project will be decided based on dialogue between the tribe and the county government, emphasizing that the tribe wanted to be good neighbors.
The next step for the project is arriving at a compact agreement with the state’s Governor Jerry Brown.
The casino project has been under discussion since 2007 and the tribe had tied-up with a Native American corporation Sealaska at that time for financing and managing the project.
Two earlier proposals floated by Cloverdale Pomos to build a casino, first in 1993 at site near Fountaingrove and another in 1995 near Petaluma were both dropped after enormous local opposition.