According to a news release today, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians approved a resolution to fund the purchase of approximately 800 acres in the Marble area of Cherokee County. The Tribe will spend $6.4 million for a total of 7 parcels of land including frontage on Hwy 19/74 just west of Murphy, North Carolina. A new Class II gaming facility could be up and running in the Western North Carolina mountains as early as next year.
"There is still a great deal of work to do, but I anticipate we will move ahead in 2010," said Michell Hicks, principal chief of the Eastern Band in a front page story in today's Cherokee Scout. The overall scope of the project is not yet finalized, but Hicks was quoted as saying that "it will definitely result in a few hundred jobs."
The land to be purchased includes several parcels with commercial frontage on the highway, as well as a 144 acre parcel that is a bank foreclosure.
In addition to the casino, a number of other projects are being evaluated for the site, including:
- cultural heritage center and museum
- outdoor gardens and nature trail
- trout fishing, hiking
- Great Smokey Mountain Railway gaming excursions
- future residental golf course development
County Manager David Badger, who serves as director of the Economic Development Commission, felt that this will have a positive impact on the area.
"Hopefully, it will spur further growth and induce confidence in investing in our community," he told Cherokee Scout reporter Dwight Otwell in today's headline story.