Elk Grove Casino Plans Bring Mixed Reactions From Residents

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ELK GROVE -- Plans for a new half a billion dollar casino, hotel and convention center were announced this week by the Wilton Rancheria Tribe for the abandoned Elk Grove shopping center site off Grant Line Road and Highway 99.

The tribe has already signed an option to buy nearly 36 acres of land from the Howard Hughes Corporation. However, as word quickly spread around town, not everyone is on board with the plan.

"It would be nice to see it take a turn and actually be developed," the Chairman of the Board for Wilton Rancheria, Raymond Hitchcock said.

The site has sat dormant since 2008 when the financial crisis halted progress on the shopping center. The infrastructure has been in place for years, which made the land even more appealing to the tribe.

Included in the price tag, a 12-story hotel with over 300 rooms, more than 110,000 square feet of gaming space, restaurants and a concert theater.

"We're going to hope that it helps revitalizes that mall and get the Outlet Collections at Elk Grove going with the shopping and dining and entertainment aspect that has already been planned for that area," explained Hitchcock.

However, the buzz around Elk Grove since the plan was fist announced Thursday has been mixed.

"But along with the hotel, now you've got over-night guests," said resident Duran Wilson. "It's just not a good idea in my opinion."

Despite the opportunity for the proposed casino to be the catalyst for an area starving for years for revitalization, there are many who feel the casino and hotel are a bad fit for Elk Grove.

"Possible crime, you know just from out of the area because most people who go to the casino's are traveling from elsewhere besides Elk Grove.," added Wilson

But not everyone is against it.

"I do like it," said Tony Grado. "It will bring some jobs here and they'll do something with that area over there, but as far as as either against it or for it, I could go either way."

Even the city has taken a middle of the road stance on the proposed casino. Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis saying in a news release:

"We look forward to working with Wilton Rancheria and engaging the community around this project..together, They could create a powerful engine for economic growth."

The plan to build the casino right now is in the federal environmental review process, with a final environmental impact report expected next month. If all goes as planned, the tribe could likely being construction by January.

 

** In an earlier live version report, we said the tribe purchased the land, but at this moment, the tribe has only signed an option to buy.

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