A fence along the United States border, as seen from Mexico. Photo: Omar Bárcena

Manzanita Band off-reservation gaming project officially declared dead

An off-reservation casino that was to be located near the U.S. border with Mexico has been declared dead in southern California.

The Manzanita Band of the Kumeyaay Nation began pursuing the casino in Calexico more than a decade ago. But nothing ever happened after the Bureau of Indian Affairs published the "final" environmental impact statement for the project almost seven years ago.

“I don’t think it’s going to happen, I wish it would because you are talking about 2,000 jobs and it would have been a great deal for Calexico,” Imperial County Supervisor John Renison told The Calexico Chronicle.

The tribe has not officially commented on the status of the project. But Renison told the paper that investors dropped out. He also said the tribe never responded to the BIA's request for additional information.

The inaction could explain why the BIA never published a record of decision on the tribe's casino application at the 60-acre site. That property was put on the market almost two years ago, according to a media report from the time.

The tribe was pursuing the casino under the two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. If the BIA had approved it, the state governor would have had to agree.

The project site was less than 5 miles from the U.S. border. It was about 53 miles from tribal headquarters in Boulevard.

Read More on the Story
Calexico Casino Project is Put To Rest (The Calexico Chronicle September 1, 2018)

Federal Register Notice
Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Manzanita Band of Kumeyaay Indians Fee-to-Trust Transfer and Casino Project, Calexico, CA (October 7, 2011)

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