The Tohono O’odham Nation plans to build a casino, hotel and convention center near the University of Phoenix Stadium and Jobing.com Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.
The resort will be the tribe’s fourth casino in the state, and also the largest casino in Arizona. Positioned on 134 acres on 91st and Northern avenues in Glendale, Arizona, the West Valley Resort (its working title) will be close to the University of Phoenix Stadium, where the Arizona Cardinals play.
Glendale Councilwoman Joyce Clark and Glendale City Manager Ed Beasley told the Arizona Republic they had concerns about the project, with Clark calling the proposal “absolutely awful.”
Peoria Mayor Bob Barrett told the newspaper he supported the plan, particularly in regards to the economic growth the resort is expected to cause. Economic evaluations state the casino will create 6,000 new jobs and bring 1.2 million visitors to Arizona.
Before the tribe can begin work on the West Valley Resort, it must first gain approval from the federal government. The Tohono O’odhams purchased the land in Glendale from the $30 million federal compensation they received from the United States for flooding that was caused by the construction of the Painted Dam Rock. Tribal land was devastated by the flood, and the tribe can now purchase up to 9,880 acres in the state to compensate for the loss.
The land needs to be put into federal trust and designated as part of the tribe’s reservation prior to the casino’s opening.
Allen Anspach, the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ Western regional director, told the Arizona Republic he supports the plan, telling the newspaper that the bureau is in general “supportive of tribes taking land into trust. It promotes, in this case, economic development.”
Anspach also said because the land was purchased to compensate for land lost in the flooding, it would likely ease through the process of being taken into trust.