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Boyd Gaming & Wilton Rancheria Tribe Announce Sky River Casino, Coming To Elk Grove

Boyd Gaming & Wilton Rancheria Tribe Announce Sky River Casino, Coming To Elk Grove

A groundbreaking ceremony held at the “ghost mall” in Elk Grove rings in the arrival of the Sky Casino. It is a massive project created by a partnership with Boyd Gaming and Wilton Rancheria. Fortunately, Sky Casino is projected to be finished in 2022. 

Surreal And Exciting 

For years the “ghost mall” of Elk Grove had been empty except for some desolate structures jutting from the ground. Indeed, a chain-link fence surrounds the entire property, and the occasional security car patrols around it. However, on March 9, 2021, the fence was open. And only a select group of people attended a groundbreaking ceremony. 

Photo Credit: Nathaniel Ian Clariza

A massive stage was propped in front of a vast empty space. Later that space would be occupied by cars. The pandemic has made public gatherings difficult and different. Attendees could watch the event from their car. They could also tune in via radio to listen to what was happening. Three giant screens allowed attendees to see what was happening. 

Photo Credit: Nathaniel Ian Clariza

Ian, our videographer, and I were one of the three dozen people allowed at the front. Set against the stage was a line of shovels that would later be used for the groundbreaking. But before all of that happened, a set of speakers would come forth and speak about the history of the Wilton Rancheria tribe. They would talk about what the casino means for the tribe and the rest of the Elk Grove community. 

Photo Credit: Nathaniel Ian Clariza

About Wilton Rancheria 

Wilton Rancheria is a name for the descendants of the Penutian linguistic family. They speak the Miwok dialect. In 1958, the federal government stripped the tribe of their federal recognition. What followed was a great despair as tribal members fought to gain recognition, and to support their families. It wasn’t until June 2009 did the tribe regain its federal recognition. The tribe was awarded 38.77 acres of land in the Wilton area. The tribe’s office is located in Elk Grove. 

The idea of the casino was to give the Wilton Rancheria tribe self-sufficiency. It would generate income not just for the tribe, but for the surrounding communities. 

Photo Credit: Nathaniel Ian Clariza

Sky River Casino 

The name Sky Casino was unveiled during the groundbreaking ceremony. The casino is a $500 million project and is expected to be completed by 2022. The casino will bring in 1700 construction jobs and when finished it will employ at least 1500 people. Visitors can expect to find slot machines, restaurants, and other forms of entertainment at Sky Casino. 

Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen’s Speech

“Good morning everyone. I would like to thank Tarango, and the Wilton Rancheria tribal officials, and their partners for inviting me to be part of today’s celebration. Today is a great day for our city and a very meaningful step forward for the Wilton Rancheria tribe. Their dedication to this project their people as well as their ancestors have led to this momentous day. I am extremely honored to share in their joy. Over the past several months I’ve had a chance to listen to Elk Grove residents and I’ve heard the things they wanted for our community. I’ve heard how we need more entertainment and dining options for our city. And how we need more jobs. As we begin to put the pandemic behind us projects like the Wilton Resort will provide us with both of these benefits. “

Mayor of Elk Grove Bobbie Singh-Allen
Photo Credit: Nathaniel Ian Clariza

After the groundbreaking, this site will become the workplace for more than 1500 skilled construction workers for the next several months. Their hard work will build a world-class facility that will eventually employ nearly 2000 people from our region. This marks a significant increase in the number of jobs available in the city and provides a path of self-sufficiency for the members of this tribe. What’s more, it will offer Elk Grove residents and visitors a large number of new dining and entertainment options.

But The Benefits Of This Project Won’t End There.

Our agreement with the tribe will provide Elk Grove with more than $130 million over the next 20 years. Funding for the city, school districts, Cosumnes CSD, and nonprofit organizations will allow us to hire more officers, maintain roadways, and provide programs and services that support our community. I know about the strong history the tribe has in the greater Elk Grove area. May this tremendous achievement bring opportunities to lift your community with greater resources, including access to higher education, improve high school graduation, jobs, healthcare and so much more. I have always been a strong proponent for Indian self-reliance. Turn to your ancestors and elders to recognize their sacrifices for this day to occur.

The City Council and I would like to thank the Wilton Rancheria Tribe and Boyd Gaming for their investment in Elk Grove and extend our congratulations as you break ground on this amazing project. We wish you continued success and look forward to joining you at the grand opening celebration in 2022. I am proud for our city but I am mostly proud of all of you: the elders, the tribal members. Congratulations on this momentous occasion. 

About The Author

Jennifer Ip

Jennifer Ip is our Staff Writer. Jennifer is a writer and small business owner in Elk Grove. She and her husband run a dog walking business together, and she also holds a Bachelor's degree in English. She has four years of publishing experience in different areas of writing: education, marketing, and blogging. Jennifer loves a good book, homemade food, and cuddling up with her dogs.

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