Local Casino Gives Update On New Resort Construction
Jamestown, CA — Fielding many questions from the public regarding the status of its new casino resort, Chicken Ranch Rancheria of Me-Wuk Indians of California officials decided to release a progress report on the new casino and resort.
The tribe detailed that construction has not yet begun on that project, which is slated to open in late 2023. In a written press release, they updated, “Currently, the project officials are in the process of finalizing preliminary studies, plans, and specifications, a Tribal Environmental Impact Report (TEIR), permitting, and other critical items which need to be finalized prior to construction. It is anticipated that construction on the resort will begin in late summer, 2021.”
The new entertainment facility once opened is expected to bring about 250 additional jobs with livable wages and benefits to the region, as reported here when the initial announcement of the project was made in January.
The tribe also relayed that it has been “diligent about working cooperatively with state, federal and local agencies to ensure all permitting and environmental concerns are addressed on these projects.”
Regarding other aspects of the plan, the tribe disclosed that several other projects that have been in the planning and permitting stages are now either under construction or nearing that point. They also note that construction costs for these projects, including a roundabout on the state highway, are being “fully funded by the Tribe without outside financial assistance, including state, federal or local grants or other funding.”
The tribe provided this update on the projects:
- ·Access Road: The most obvious current project is the construction of a new access road that will provide direct access from Highway 108 to the Tribe’s lands. Work on this road is currently underway and visible from the highway. This is a safety project the Tribe has been working toward for over three years and is intended to reduce commercial traffic through the residential areas on Chicken Ranch Road by providing a direct access point to Tribal lands. The new access road will be named “People of the Mountain Road” which is a tribute to the Tribe’s history, culture, and heritage.
- ·Roundabout: A new roundabout will start construction in the summer of this year at the intersection of Mackey Ranch Road, Highway 108, and People of the Mountain Road. The Tribe has been working with Caltrans for several years on this project in an effort to provide a much safer access point for casino patrons and visitors to Tribal lands. The existing intersection of Chicken Ranch Road and Highway 108 has been the location of numerous accidents over the years. This new intersection is intended to address those issues. While there may be concerns about the installation of a roundabout, this intersection type is the only design the State would approve as their studies, and several independent studies, have shown this to be a dramatically safer alternative to a signaled intersection. This project was presented to the Tuolumne County Transportation Council on October 10, 2018, to the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors on August 18, 2020, and the initial study was circulated in September of 2020.
- Infrastructure: Improvements to existing infrastructure facilities, as well as construction of new critical infrastructure needed to address the growing needs of the Tribe, are nearing implementation. These include the building of a new wastewater treatment facility to replace the existing facility on the Reservation. This new facility will be designed to meet the needs of the Tribe for several years and the reclaimed water from the facility will be recycled to meet water needs on Tribal lands, specifically, agricultural irrigation needs as the Tribe’s agricultural plans come to fruition.
- ·Government Offices: A new Tribal Administration building is scheduled to start construction in the summer of 2021 adjacent to the existing Tribal Office. This building is intended to provide much needed space for additional Tribal departments and services. This building will provide space for new and expanded programs and departments including Public Safety, Social Services, Tribal Court, Human Resources, Community Development, and Code Compliance and Enforcement, as well as provide a larger conference room, providing adequate space for Tribal Council meetings and other government functions.
- Public Safety: Public safety facilities on Tribal lands are in the planning stages and being developed to meet the emergency needs of the Tribe on their lands. Understanding that Tuolumne County resources are stretched, the Tribe is working toward providing necessary emergency services that will be critical as the Tribe grows.
- ·Water Supply & Treatment: The Tribe is in the planning and permitting phase for a new water supply project that will meet the growing water needs of the Tribe, Tribal Members, and the Reservation. This project will include a pipeline that will deliver water purchased by the Tribe from water rights holders in the Stanislaus River Basin and is intended to be a long-term solution to water concerns for the Tribe. In conjunction with this project, water storage tanks and a water treatment facility will be constructed on the Reservation which will provide safe drinking water, adequate fire flow for all facilities on Tribal land, and irrigation water for agricultural development.
The tribe also noted that in addition to these projects, it is partnering with the Tuolumne County Public Works Department to provide a maintenance overlay on the nearly 1.5-mile Chicken Ranch Road. The county roads department will be doing the work while the tribe will pay for all materials needed.