Chico, Calif.-- Another casino will soon be coming to the North State.
After many years of appeals and legal battles, the Mechoopda Tribe got the green light to start building south of Chico.
This will happen in that big, open space east of highways 99 & 149.
Though a Washington D.C. circuit approved the tribe's acquisition of that land, Butte County supervisors still have several concerns about seeing a casino there.
“There were five different reasons with five different board members on why they didn't want it out there,” said Butte County Supervisor Steve Lambert.
He says this project has been in the works for many years, and the board members' concerns still haven't gone away.
“As far as the county side, I don't see any upside to it.”
Lambert says it will definitely be growth inducing for the region, but it will take away from the natural beauty and openness of Butte County, and all of the surrounding land will likely get developed as well.
There's also the concern about police and fire safety, especially with some surrounding cities already being short staffed.
“It's such a remote area. There's no sheriff's department close by, there's no fire department close by, so it's kind of a challenge on that side of it.”
He thinks businesses should go in incorporated areas, because there's no infrastructure out here to support anything.
He said many of the board members aren't against the casino, they just don't like the placement of it.
The Mechoopda Tribe says the casino could help boost local economy and bring more than 100 jobs to the area, but Lambert says it's not always about the bottom line.
“I think there's a real problem with trying to balance budgets; saying ‘hey, it's good’ because it will bring money to the economy when it's a vice. There are a lot of folks here that don't make a lot of money, they go to the casinos thinking they'll be able to make money, and then they're not going to have money to pay rent. That's my concern.”
He says the tribe members are great people and they've been great to work with, and now it's time to start working together to make sure we get the best project possible.