Common ground has been found between the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians and the City of Temecula in California to pave the way for the tribe's $285 million, 800,000-square-feet resort expansion, including city- and tribal-financed road and safety improvements, reported myvalleynews.com.
The city and the tribe signed a 19-page Intergovernmental Agreement, signifying their strong bond. “We’ve had a great relationship with the Pechanga tribe,” Mayor Jeff Comerchero said at the council review and discussion.
The tribe will set aside about $5.2 million for future road-widening work and projects to reduce traffic conjestion east of I-15, as well as pay the city $289,000 or more annually for the next 15 years to help offset the climbing cost of public safety.
“It’s a monumental agreement,” said Butch Murphy, a longtime Pechanga leader and Tribal Council member, reported myvalleynews.com. “We’re happy. The city’s happy. It’s a good place to start.”
Now the tribe awaits Riverside County to follow suit with a similar agreement to green light the project.
Pechanga Resort & Casino has proved an economic boon to the area since its debut in June 2002. The tribe has pumped more than $40 million into youth, veteran and other charitable programs and projects.
It was twenty years ago when the tribe first opened its modest, original bingo facility in a location now adjacent to the existing resort/casino property. The once small gaming enterprise flourished, and the tribe added a convenience store and recreational vehicle park. In 2002 with the casino, it opened a 517-room hotel and 1,200-seat concert hall. Eventually came a golf course, parking garages and administrative buildings.
In June, USA Today named Pechanga Resort & Casino America’s favorite casino based on a nationwide poll from 10Best.com. The resort edged out several well-respected gaming resorts like the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and the Borgata and L'Auberge in Atlantic City, New Jersey to receive the honor.
The $285 million resort upgrade will include a luxury spa, new ballroom and meeting space, a resort-style pool complex, two restaurants and several other upgrades. Pechanga has earned a Four Diamond property rating by AAA since 2002. The casino employs more than 4,000 people.