CHICO, Calif. -- Back in April, Action News Now reported a Washington D.C. circuit approved a Mechoopda tribe's acquisition of land in south Chico. The tribe wants to build a casino on this property. And now, months later, the Butte County Board of Supervisors has written a letter, formally approving the project.
The property is located south of Chico, east of highways 99 and 149. Getting approval to build the casino wasn't easy, in fact, it's been more than 15 years of appeals and legal battles.
"It's exciting news for the tribe, we did have a hard battle, cost money on both sides," said Dennis Ramirez, Tribal Chairman of the Mechoopda tribe.
The Butte County Board of Supervisors has been against the project of more than 15 years, for several reasons.
"You had one who represented a whole bunch of tribes in his district, was concerned about that. Some are environmental issues, agriculturally-wise, you know it kind of impacts ag and watershed stuff," said Supervisor Steve Lambert.
Several months before in April, a Washington D.C. circuit approved the tribe's acquisition of this land. And last Wednesday, Governor Jerry Brown signed a legal compact allowing the casino.
"We bought it about five years ago and it took a while for it to be in the trust plans, so it's federally owned," said Ramirez.
The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to write a letter supporting the project.
"They've gone through the case, they've proven tribal status, the governor said hey let's sign the compact, let's move forward," said Ramirez.
"I don't have any animosity towards the tribe, for me I always thought location was not good for the county," said Lambert.
"It's going to be a win-win for the both of us, I know it was probably a hate-hate relationship these last few years, but it's important to know that we're all doing the best we can for the community," said Ramirez.
Currently, the Mechoopda tribe doesn't know when they will start to build the casino. Tribal Chairman Dennis Ramirez said the tribe is still looking for backers to help fund the casino.
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