NPR: Economy booming on Salt River Community
"On a small reservation in the Phoenix area, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community has felt the pinch of the recession.

But despite the economic downturn, the reservation is booming.

Even during a recession, patrons are still pumping quarters into the slots at Casino Arizona on the Salt River reservation.

And next month, the Salt River community will break ground on a $100 million spring training baseball stadium for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks.

It'll be the first professional sports facility ever built on tribal land, according to Arizona Diamondbacks CEO Derrick Hall. And it will be part of new upscale entertainment district with a posh 500-room resort and casino scheduled to open in April.

In a strange way, the recession has helped make this happen. The project is being financed in part with a $20 million tax-exempt bond authorized by the federal stimulus bill.

"Everybody's really excited about this development — not only for the 2011 opening season, but for the future," says Martin Harvier, the community's vice president, as he walks through an old golf course where the stadium will be built."

Get the Story:
An Indian reservation as economic engine? (National Public Radio 10/22)