By Phil Riske, managing editor | Rose Law Group Reporter
Historically, little economic development has occurred in southern Pinal County, but that is about to change.
The San Carlos Apache tribe plans to break ground in about a year to construct a $26 million casino about three miles from Aravaipa. To be known as Apache Sky, the casino will be the center-point of further development over the next five years to include a convention center, 18-hole golf course and housing for tribal members who will work at Apache Sky.
Apache Sky is a sister project to Apache Gold, which is located just outside Globe.
The project is expected to employ 400 people, half of who will be tribal members, Pinal County Supervisor Pete Rios told Rose Law Group Reporter.
“We don’t get that much development in that part of the county,” Rios said. “Most expansion has been north and west.”
A survey has shown Apache Sky is likely to draw people from north Tucson and traffic from State Route 77, he said.
A temporary casino structure will be built next year, followed by a permanent building in 2015, and the convention center and golf course should be completed by 2018.
Pinal County Supervisors endorsed the project earlier this year, and the county’s economic development office has been working with the San Carlos Apache tribe on the project, as well as the Arizona Department of Transportation, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office for security, and Salt River Project to provide adequate power for gambling machines.
Rios said funding for the complex comes from investors and possibly from revenues from Apache Gold’s resort and casino.