|By Peter Hecht, The Sacramento
BeeMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Dec. 04, 2012--A Butte County tribe, long frustrated in efforts to build a casino resort in rural Yuba County, has won approval to acquire 40 acres as tribal lands to develop the project.
The Enterprise Rancheria of Maidu Indians had signed agreements in 2002 with the YubaCountyBoard of Supervisors and the city of Marysville to build a casino, hotel and convention center on property near the Sleep Train Amphitheatre in Wheatland.
The decision by the U.S. Department of Interior to allow the Enterprise Rancheria to take that land into trust for the project marks another milestone for the tribe, which for years faced criticism for seeking a casino 36 miles from its land in Oroville.
"This is our final step with the federal government," tribal chair Glenda Nelson said Monday, hailing the Department of Interior decision.
Last year the tribe won federal approval to build a gambling facility at the site. The follow-up ruling to take land into trust comes after Gov. Jerry Brown and the tribe signed a state gambling compact,a required agreement for moving forward.
The compact still needs to be ratified by the state Legislature, which is expected to review it next year.
The tribe, which asserted that its land in Oroville was ill-suited for a casino, now hopes to build a gambling resort in an area where the concert pavilion has struggled and the landowner, Gerald Forsythe, failed in his dream of building an auto raceway.
The tribe also faces the challenge of competing with the hugely successful Thunder Valley Casino near Lincoln.
But Nelson said the development site, between Highway 65 and Forty Mile Road, is "as good a location as any" within a broad region it defines as its aboriginal area.
On its website, the Enterprise Rancheria says its development stands to generate "more than $200 million in local economic activity" througha casino, 170-room hotel, restaurants, bar, gift shops and a conference center.
Call The Bee's Peter Hecht, (916) 326-5539.
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