The City of Porterville has just signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tule River Indian Tribe to move the Eagle Mountain Casino, along with a 135 room hotel and possibly a golf course right here to the Valley floor. Both parties say the development will improve the local economy and make it more convenient for visitors.
This 40-acres property near the Porterville airport is owned by the Tule River Economic Development Corporation, an organization created by the Tule Indian Reservation Tribe. Tribal leaders want to move Eagle Mountain Casino to this location closer to Downtown Porterville.
Cameron Hamilton, Mayor Of Porterville: "There'd be a lot more people being able to access the casino or any other recreation venues that they would be able to bring to that area. It's not a great road that takes them up there now.
The tribe has already drawn up temporary renderings of what the casino would look like. Both the tribe and the city envision a resort-type tourist attraction that would bring up to two-thousand jobs to Porterville.
Rodney Martin, Tule River Indian Tribe: This is actually an historic venture between a Tribal Government and the City Government coming together to address long term economic development.
Right now the property is not considered sovereign land. The Bureau of Indian Affairs must change how the property can be used.
Hamilton: "We would be part of the process as far as going to the Bureau of Indian Affairs and say we do not oppose this project."
Several years ago, the Tule River Indian Tribe tried to move the casino to Springville but the county denied it due to traffic and pollution concerns. These new plans are in Porterville and where the city is already trying to increase development. The city may face opposition from farmers who own land to the west of the property.
If the bureau of Indian affairs approves this area as sovereign land, developers could break ground on the new casino in two years.