Win-River Resort & Casino plans up in the air
The Redding City Council is set to review the relocation and expansion of the Win-River Resort and Casino to another property close to the Sacramento River along Interstate 5 in Shasta County. The decision comes three years after the proposal was wholly rejected by the council.
The Redding Rancheria Native American tribe initially proposed the idea of relocating and expanding the casino in 2016. In the meeting scheduled for Tuesday, the council will consider reversing its initial objection and informing the federal government of its support for the proposal. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Indian Affairs has the final say concerning the approval of the gambling complex proposal.
If the Redding City Council were to approve the tribe’s casino proposal, it would be along the same lines as the Shasta County Board of Supervisors’ actions earlier this year. In 2019, the board rejected the project; however, they recently backtracked on their decision.
The proposed project will feature a 69,541-square-foot-casino, an event center, a 9-story 250-room luxury hotel, a conference center, restaurants, as well as retail and parking. The current casino is around 60,000 square feet, while the Win-River hotel consists of 84 rooms.
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Mike Hollowell, the tribal attorney of Redding Rancheria, revealed that the federal government had notified officials in Shasta County and Redding due to the fee-to-trust consideration process currently taking place. He admitted that he was not aware of the decision the council would reach during their Tuesday meeting.
“Nothing new has happened. I’m not sure what the city (council) is going to do at this meeting on Tuesday. This is just the BIA dotting i’s and crossing t’s, which is a part of the process for any fee-to-trust application,” Hollowell said.
A notice was sent to Redding by the Interior Department’s office in November. There, the tribe was quizzed concerning the zoning, taxation, and government services it supplied to its Strawberry Fields property located in the Churn Creek Bottom area. The location is the proposed site for Redding Rancheria’s casino.
“The tribe’s happy, though, that we’re starting to hit these final steps in this process. So this is good news from our perspective. Each time they dot an ‘i’ or cross a ‘t,’ we’re getting closer to the finish line,” Hollowell revealed.
The Redding tribe will have to move its 232 acres on Strawberry Fields into the federal government trust in order for it to be able to operate the gambling venue. The move will allow gambling to be legally carried out on the property and excludes the underdeveloped from local development regulations and local taxes.
Win-River Casino’s relocation and expansion, according to tribal officials, will enable it to be more visible and attract customers. The gambling venue will also provide hundreds of new employment opportunities as well as profound development to the economic sector of the region. Win-River Casino has had some other developments around it, such as the new Costco Wholesale store, which began operating last month.
Those against the casino, however, have noted that opening a gambling venue will only contribute to traffic and heightened crime in the current rural area. It could also result in reduced tax dollars and create unfair competition among the businesses within the region.
Sierra Pacific Industries billionaire founder Archie Aldis “Red” Emmerson was also a part of the opposition and sent a letter of objection. The businessman’s lumber company is adjacent to the Redding Rancheria’s property.
Since the five-person Redding City Council objected to the project unanimously in 2019, a number of new council members have been appointed. Mark Mezzanno was elected to be part of the council in 2020, and in November this year, Jack Munns and Tenessa Audette were installed. During his campaign, Mezzanno was heavily supported financially by the Redding Rancheria tribe.
Several examinations were conducted in 2019 to review the environmental impact and other ways the project could affect the region. A part of the examination process includes the federal government organizing public hearings where hundreds of people turned in their opinions in writing, and dozens spoke on the matter.
Per Redding’s staff report, the city council has until January 4, next year, to respond to the issue.