Indian Casino Move May Make History

Published on: March 12, 2008 

In what could be a historic move, the Eagle Mountain Casino outside of Porterville, California may get permission to move the establishment from its current location on Reservation Road to the South Valley floor.  The casino is currently thirteen miles off of a major thoroughfare, Highway 190, and by moving it closer to Highway 65 and the Porterville Municipal Airport, they will be able to increase their revenue and offer their games to more people.

The Tule River Indian Tribe, which owns the Eagle Mountain Casino, recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the City of Porterville.  The move would include not only the casino, but also the 135 room hotel and maybe even a golf course.  The development will boost the local economy and allow visitors to the area easier access to the establishment.  Currently, the road that leads up to the casino is considered less than optimal.   

Forty acres near the Porterville airport is standing ready for development.  It is owned by the Tule River Economic Development Corporation which is in turn owned by the Tule Indian Reservation Tribe.  Porterville’s mayor is very excited about the opportunities moving the casino presents.  There have already been preliminary drawings of the new casino prepared and both city and Indian representatives are envisioning a resort type of business.  If the plans go through the new casino and its amenities will bring close to 2,000 jobs to the area.

The historic precedence of the move is not missed by either party.  This would be one of the few mutual agreements between an Indian tribe and a city government.  Plans are on hold pending the decision on how the property the tribe owns is used.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs will need to give the go ahead if they feel the property is deemed sovereign land.  The mayor of Porterville has already agreed to tell the Bureau that they do not oppose the project, but welcome it.  If the plan is approved, the new casino’s developers will break ground in two years time.

The tribe attempted to move the casino to nearby Springville a few years ago, but they were turned down by the county citing traffic and pollution concerns.  Some of the opposition the Porterville plan may come against will be from farmers whose land lies west of the proposed casino site even though the establishment will be good for the overall economy of the area.

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