Do you appreciate posts like this? We'd welcome your support as a subscriber. Sincerely, publisher Doni Chamberlain
REDDING RANCHERIA — The scent of ceremonial burnt sage wafted through the warm morning air in the Win-River Casino parking lot Wednesday as the Redding Rancheria’s Cultural Resources Manager, James Hayward Sr., blessed the ground-breaking of a hotel, and the casino’s remodel and expansion.
Gary Hayward, the casino’s general manager, spoke to the crowd of a few hundred people who’d gathered around the parking lot’s broken asphalt to commemorate a day of growth and optimism. Hayward described the project as a “feasible, awesome” addition to the community.
The construction project is expected to cost about $40 million, with the cornerstone being the casino’s three-story, 84-room hotel.
The morning’s event was flanked by a pair of towering Axner Excavating earth-movers, as tribal members and north state dignitaries from Anderson, Shasta Lake, Redding and Shasta County were recognized and thanked for their support.
Following Gary Hayward’s speech, various tribal leaders took turns wearing hard hats and turning shovels of dirt. After that came the photos, a permanent record to mark the beginning of a long-awaited, ever-evolving project.
The hotel will include an outdoor swimming pool, arcade, fitness center and a 3,929-foot spa. Each hotel room will have wireless Internet service.
The project includes the casino’s remodel, specifically a one-story steel-framed addition of 6,411 square feet that will house a “grab ‘n go” food and bar service, and new restrooms. The plan is for construction to happen in phases, and the casino is expected to remain open throughout the project.
In a prepared statement, Gary Hayward said the expansion was a measurement of Win-River’s success. He added that the project would create jobs, both during and after construction.
“Because of the vision of our tribal elders we are able to stand tall and proud of the economic diversity we have been able to create over the years for present and future generations,” Hayward said.
Photos by Michael Burke.
The project’s $40-million price tag is more than half of what Win-River Casino first projected during a State of the Tribe address in 2007 when it announced plans for a $90-million, eight-story hotel, a 125-seat gourmet steakhouse, a 250-seat buffet, a 2,000-seat events center, an indoor/outdoor pool, a spa, gift shop and an attached, 1,000-space garage.
By the end of that year the recession officially hit the United States. By 2008, Gary Hayward announced a more scaled-down version of the Win-River Resort vision.
That seemed a distant memory Wednesday at the Win-River Casino ground-breaking, where the mood seemed jovial and even hopeful that perhaps, if Win-River was going ahead with a bold undertaking, perhaps it would bode well for the entire area, too
Redding City Manager Kurt Starman said he was optimistic.
“This is a good indicator,” Starman said of the Win-River construction project. “I think we can see the building of this hotel as just one sign of recovery.”
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.