|By Joyce Lobeck, The Sun, Yuma,
Ariz.McClatchy-Tribune Business News
Nov. 14, 2006 - Monday was a glorious day for the Cocopah
Tribe. After years of dreaming and a year of putting plans together,
the tribe held a ceremonial groundbreaking for a resort and conference
center next to its casino.
Surveying is expected to start next week and groundwork could
begin in a couple of weeks, said Kevin Burke, president of Burke &
Associates, the general contractor. He said he expects the resort to
open in about 12 months.
The 69,586-square foot hotel will be located to the northeast
of the casino, parallel to Avenue B, and visible from State Highway 95,
explained Thomas Wucherer, a principal with the architecture firm YWS
The hotel will have 101 rooms, among them seven suites,
Wucherer said. Two suites on the top floor will be the sunrise suite
facing east and the sunset suite facing west. Other features will be a
two-story lobby with a living room-like atmosphere, pool and spa, small
fitness center and a separate entrance from the casino. It will have
three meeting rooms with movable walls to create one large room with
more than 3,000 square feet.
The resort will connect to the casino through the food court,
with a cultural display area to provide a transition from the bustle of
the casino to the "softer" resort atmosphere, he said. Tribal officials
declined to announce the project's cost.
He described the design of the three-story building as "modern
Southwest to compliment the existing design, but stress the resort
component." Soft colors and landscaping will further add to the
atmosphere of a resort, he said. "I've passed this road so many times,"
Sherry Cordova, tribal chairwoman, told about a hundred people who had
gathered for the groundbreaking. She said she is looking forward at
last to having the resort become a reality, and expressed gratitude for
the many people throughout the years who conceived of the vision and
worked to make it happen. But the moment was tinged with sadness, too,
she said. An elder who had looked forward to being able to stay at the
hotel recently died, Cordova said. "She won't be able to enjoy it, but
I'm sure she's looking down on us."
As part of the ceremony, the Southwest Kwapa Bird Singers and
Dancers performed in ceremonial dress. Then tribal officials and elders
grabbed gilded shovels and threw some dirt. Cordova said the resort
will benefit not just the tribe, but the entire area. "It will be
something to be shared and enjoyed by everyone."
Joyce Lobeck can be reached at email@example.com or 39-6853.
Copyright (c) 2006, The Sun, Yuma, Ariz.
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