FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — The North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians is moving forward with their plans to build a new casino along Highway 99 and Avenue 17 in Madera County.
But they’re having to do it against the backdrop of a historic pandemic.
Elaine Beth Fink is the Tribal Chair at North Fork Rancheria. She said this has been a 20-year process and she is excited to finally take the next steps in getting this casino built.
“More of a relief I think it is a little surreal because it’s been a long time coming,” said Fink.
Fink said the long battle to build a casino in Madera County is finally over after the State Supreme Court approved their plan to build one in Madera County.
“A lot of hard work and a lot of controversy but a lot of support. We thank all of those supports and the support we had all these years,” said Fink.
Both Governor Jerry Brown and Governor Newsom approved their plan. However, Fink said their biggest set back was when their plan was challenged by another tribe in court.
Now Fink said they have gotten the green light and said they are moving forward with the next steps.
Robert Poythress is a Madera County Supervisor. He said most small businesses around the building site are excited.
“Retail businesses have actually been excited about it because they believe it will bring more traffic to their gas station, play on the golf course, perhaps people flying in,” said Poythress.
Poythress said there isn’t a firm start date when they will break ground and start building due to the coronavirus pandemic. But, he is hopeful it will start soon.
“So, know what we need to do is prepare for the positive aspects and for the negative outcomes with certain people,” said Poythress.