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Tribe plans "Family Friendly" Development, No Casino on WHF parcel

*Feature Photos: The Eastern Shoshone Business Council (ESBC) met with County10 this morning to discuss their purchase of the 302 acres between Walmart and the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton. From left, Nick Harris, Co-Chairman Clint Wagon, Chairman Darwin St. Clair, Jr., Michael Chingman and Jodie McAdams. (Pitchengine Communities)* (Fort Washakie) - The Eastern Shoshone Business Council this morning told County10 that "No, there are no plans for a Casino" on the 302 acres the Tribe has purchased in Riverton north of Walmart. According to Chairman Darwin St. Clair Jr., "we are planning commercial development and potential residential that will benefit the Tribe, Riverton and the county," he said. St. Clair said the Tribe had been in consultation with Riverton Mayor Lars Baker about the sale and that a "partnership" is planned as the land is developed. "We are meeting with the city to review what their plans were for the site, including infrastructure," he said. St. Clair said the $1.672-million purchase price had been authorized by the Tribe's General Council several years ago. "We set aside 15 percent of the Sand and Gravel Settlement for the purpose of making a land purchase to benefit the tribe," he said. "Our first attempt to purchase some land didn't work out, and then this opportunity presented itself." The chairman noted that ESBC hired Idaho contractor Steve Wilson as their agent to make the purchase when the land was auctioned in April. Wilson has also been retained to assist the Tribe with the closing procedures. St. Clair said the council was waiting for the right opportunity. "We were keeping our eyes out for a good long-term investment and something that could help diversify our economy." Councilmember Nick Harris reiterated that the land "would stay on the tax roles." Co-Chairman Clint Wagon said the Tribe has also been in discussion with the Wyoming Honor Farm. "Not all of this acreage will be developed in the short-term so we are working with them to lease back some of their ag land lost in the sale as they continue to move forward. This is a win-win for everyone." "This move was all business, there were no politics involved at all," Wagon said. So what kind of development is the Tribe looking at? "We want family entertainment, such things like movies, bowling, a put-put golf course, a family fitness center and recreation center," said ccouncilorJodie McAdams. "Something family friendly." "A hotel and a conference center is also a possibility," Wagon said. "We have the capacity here to host bigger events, it seems there's always a hotel availability issue." [image: Inline image 1] *The 302 acre parcel is located between Walmart and Honor Farm Road. (Pitchengine Communities) * "This land purchase is good for the Shoshone Tribe, Riverton and the county," said councilor Mike Chingman. "The community and Tribe can grow together with a positive attitude to create something that all county residents will be grateful for. We're not approaching the city with a casino, this is an economic development opportunity that will have generational opportunities. It will help us for years." The Tribe will also schedule meetings with the Wyoming Modeler's Park as to that site's future. St. Clair also noted that the Tribe is looking for other development partners as they determine what can be developed. "We want to stop the drain to Billings and Casper and keep county money at home, give people a reason to stay here and not leave town for shopping or entertainment." "We are very excited," St. Clair said. He also noted that the Tribe sees this as an opportunity to help train Tribal members in the construction trades. "We'll need carpenters, electricians, and plumbers, all of the trades," he said. Calls seeking comment from Riverton City Administrator Steven Weaver and IDEA Inc. Executive Director Kevin Kershisnik had not yet been returned by posting time. They will be included in a follow-up post. #county10 #news