VALLEJO, CA-A Northern California Indian tribe has proposed a Las Vegas-style casino at Mare Island in Vallejo, ignoring East Bay residents who continue pressuring the state to stop urban Indian gaming. The Guidiville Band of Pomo Indians has proposed building a casino and hotel development along the Interstate 80 corridor on a 120-acre Mare Island site, which was formerly a Naval shipyard.

The Guidiville Band has partnered with Kevin Kean, a Nevada-based casino investor and developer that is also involved in the controversial casino proposal by Lakeport’s Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians for a casino at the Port of Richmond. The developer plans to break ground on both projects in 2004.

According to Vallejo officials, Indian casinos can only be built on Indian lands. Therefore, both tribes have to acquire land through a federal trust for their developments. The Guidiville Band will follow the Interior Department administrative process, conducting impact studies and holding public hearings for their projects.

If the tribe is permitted to redevelop Mare Island, it will bring thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to the city. However, local residents are trying to get the state to stop allowing urban gaming developments, claiming that they do not fulfill their purpose, which is to provide income for tribes. Residents say that only the non-Indian developers, who fund these projects, benefit from the projects. The tribe remains undaunted and will present preliminary plans to the city next month.

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