Early morning risers at Saturday's Economic Summit buzzed about the latest bit of good news: Elk Valley Rancheria's plans to break ground on its resort late this summer.
The planned resort is an example of all the things the chamber touts: development, tourism, collaboration and partnerships.
It took the tribe seven years to make the resort and casino a reality. Today, Tribal Council Chairman Dale Miller and Bureau of Indian Affairs Regional Director Amy Dutschke are scheduled to sign the final papers in Sacramento putting the Martin Ranch land into a trust. The resort and casino could be complete in two to three years.
"Our business is moving forward¬óvery few people have that experience," Miller said about the long-hoped-for resort. "But we need help from the outside community."
People who visit the resort for a few days need things to do while in Del Norte County. That's where the community comes in.
"Our resort is happening. We need the harbor to come alive," said Gerry Nailon, CEO for the Elk Valley Rancheria.
A team effort
There will be a lot of business spillover, Nailon said, and the city needs to prepare for it.
"We can get them once or twice," he said about out-of-town customers. "If the service or food isn't good, they won't stay."
Speaking to business owners, he emphasized that they are all in this together.
"You can provide goods and services while they stay," Nailon added, calling on potential entrepreneurs.
He showed artist renderings of the resort, which includes a 156-room hotel, 40,000-square-foot-casino and 20,000-square-foot conference center, three restaurants, bars and retail shops. The resort will also be themed and tell the tribe's story throughout the facilities.
The lodge-style design is being built with the next 20 years in mind, Nailon said. The tribe wants to make sure that local people and those up to 200 miles away feel comfortable coming to the resort.
Nailon estimated that for every $1 spent at the resort and casino, $3 goes back into the community. In addition, there will be 460 construction jobs and 200 long-term jobs. The Transient Occupancy Tax for the first year of business will be about $300,000 and will generate $50,000 in fees to the county, he said.
"What are you going to do?" Nailon asked the business crowd. "This is the start of the economic renaissance in Crescent City and Del Norte."