California town worries Indian casino will dwarf it

Some residents are criticizing the Cloverdale Rancheria Indian Tribe’s proposal to build a hotel-casino on a 79-acre tract of tribal land near Cloverdale in California’s Sonoma County.

Project details indicate it will have several buildings totaling 596,000 square feet with parking for 3,400 cars. The casino area will include 2,000 slot machines and 45 gaming tables. Other features include a 244-room hotel, a 984-seat convention center, a 1,300-seat entertainment center and almost 1,000 restaurant seats.

 “The size is unbelievable,” Cloverdale City Councilman Gus Wolter told the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat. “It’s almost bigger than the whole town of Cloverdale, and that would change the demographic of our town forever. It would devastate us. We’d lose our values as a small town.”

The Cloverdale Rancheria has declined comment on these concerns but indicated that the casino proposed would help lift the tribe’s 414 members from poverty. The tribe has partnered with the Sealaska tribe of Alaska to finance and manage the casino. But they note that before the casino can be built, the project must get several state and federal approvals and pass an environmental review.