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UPDATED: Mescalero Apache Tribe, Sunland Park Racetrack Object To Proposed Jemez Casino

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jemez Pueblo, which is in northern New Mexico, wants to build a casino and hotel near Anthony in southern New Mexico

The Mescalero Apache Tribe and the Sunland Park racetrack said Wednesday that they’re opposing Jemez Pueblo’s proposal to build a casino and hotel near Anthony, N.M., which is nearly 300 miles from the northern New Mexico pueblo.

The Mescaleros and the Sunland Park track issued a statement saying the Jemez casino could hurt their businesses in southern New Mexico. The Mescaleros also object that the casino is proposed within their ancestral homelands.

Jemez Pueblo Gov. Joshua Madalena said in a statement that the Mescaleros and the Sunland Park track are interfering with his tribe’s economic development plans.

“As one of the poorest tribes in the state, we have never tried to tell other businesses or tribes what they can or cannot do, and we have supported other tribes that work to improve their standard of living,” Madalena said.

Jemez is partnering with Santa Fe art dealer Gerald Peters on the casino project.

The casino was rejected in 2008 by President George W. Bush’s administration because the proposed site was too far from Jemez, which is near Albuquerque. The Interior Department under President Barack Obama is reconsidering the plan.

Madalena said even if Jemez’s plan is approved, the Sunland Park track will still have a monopoly on horse racing in the area and will remain an excellent investment for its owners.

He added that the Mescalero reservation is more than 100 miles from Jemez’s proposed development, and that the area plays a major role in Jemez’s culture, as it was on the pueblo people’s migratory route in ancient times.

“Instead of fighting us, we ask the Mescaleros and Sunland Park Race Track and Casino join us in establishing a working relationship that will benefit us all,” Madalena said.

 


 

Monday, 26 July 2010 15:06

 

A proposal by the Jemez Pueblo tribe to build a $60 million, off-reservation casino and hotel some 300 miles from tribal land has resurfaced.

Pueblo officials and representatives of Santa Fe art dealer Gerald Peters, the developer who’s partnering with the tribe, met last week with trustees of the newly seated government in Anthony, a New Mexico town on the Texas-New Mexico border just north of El Paso.

Former Las Cruces Mayor Ruben Smith, a spokesman for Peters and the tribe, said tribal officials told Anthony officials that after being stalled for more than two years, their request for a casino is being reconsidered by the federal government.

“The application is moving forward because there’s a new administration and new people in the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Interior Department,” Smith said.

Plans for an off-reservation casino started in August 2004.

The federal government in 2008, under the Bush administration, rejected the tribe’s casino request because the proposed site in southern New Mexico was too far from the community. Jemez Pueblo is 45 miles northwest of Albuquerque.

Smith said the Obama administration in May revisited the decision and reinstated Jemez Pueblo’s application.

An Interior Department spokeswoman confirmed the pueblo’s packet is under review.

Anthony Trustee James Scott said a central message of his campaign was supporting the casino because of jobs it would create. The fact that many will be entry-level service positions doesn’t matter, he said, as long as the project puts people to work.

“This is how you change poverty. You give people jobs they can do,” he said.

Jemez Pueblo hopes to build a 48,000-square-foot casino with slot machines and table games on a 70-acre site southwest of Interstate 10 and New Mexico 404. A hotel would be constructed on an adjacent 30 acres.

If the tribe gets approval, a 24,000-square-foot temporary casino would be built first.

Smith said the casino would employ about 950 people with fully paid medical insurance premiums.

 


 

Monday, July 26, 2010

 

A proposal by Jemez Pueblo to build a $60 million, off-reservation casino and hotel some 300 miles from tribal land has resurfaced.

Pueblo officials and representatives of Santa Fe art dealer Gerald Peters, the developer who’s partnering with the tribe, met last week with trustees of the newly seated governing body in Anthony, N.M., a town on the Texas-New Mexico border just north of El Paso.

Former Las Cruces Mayor Ruben Smith, a spokesman for Peters and the tribe, said tribal officials told Anthony officials that after being stalled for more than two years, their request for a casino is being reconsidered by the federal government.

Plans for an off-reservation casino started in August 2004.

 

 

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