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Thunder Valley Casino’s hotel opens

By: Stephanie Dumm, News Messenger Reporter
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Placer County community leaders expressed gratitude toward Thunder Valley Casino during Monday morning’s ribbon-cutting for its new expansion, including a hotel. The new hotel has 297 rooms, and there are now 14 restaurants and bars within the casino. It is now the second hotel in Lincoln. More than 500 members of the public were at the opening festivities of the Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s hotel, spa, and expanded casino. Casino’s manager C.J. Graham and David Keyser, chairman of the United Auburn Indian Community Tribal Council spoke2 at the grand-opening as well as Rocklin Mayor Scott Yuill, Assemblyman Ted Gaines and Lincoln Mayor Tom Cosgrove. The dignitaries expressed gratitude for Thunder Valley’s contribution to Placer County for providing jobs, donations to various nonprofit organizations and providing a destination for those within and outside of the community. “I’m happy to represent Thunder Valley. They have done a fantastic job within the community,” Gaines said, also commenting on the economic impact the casino has had in supplying jobs for residents. Cosgrove called Thunder Valley “a wonderful and great partner to work with,” and thanked the United Auburn Indian Community for their generosity toward non-profit organizations. “Along with the start-up of the casino came jobs, one of the most important economic aspects,” Cosgrove said. “People who live in the community of Lincoln can work close to where they live.” He also spoke about how the expansion “created a destination” for those outside of the community, enabling them to “learn more about the region as a whole, providing economic growth for the region.” According to Cosgrove, visitors staying at the resort may venture out into surrounding cities, like Rocklin and Lincoln, to shop and eat. “This has been a real benefit to the community,” Cosgrove said after the ceremony. “The opportunity for Lincoln to get a larger share of people’s expendable income will be greater because they’ll stay (at the resort) for a longer time there because of the hotel, and will look for things to do,” Steve Art, Lincoln’s economic and redevelopment manager, told The News Messenger at noon on Wednesday. Art said he didn’t “have a specific dollar amount” for how much revenue the casino’s new addition would net the city from hotel guests shopping and eating in Lincoln. Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce president and director of the Lincoln Volunteer Center Bob Romness thanked Thunder Valley for their support of both organizations. Romness was referencing Thunder Valley’s role as lead sponsor for the Tour de Lincoln for the last eight years. The ceremony ended with a tribal dance and ribbon cutting by Keyser. City Manager Jim Estep was at the event, and called the new resort a “huge positive” for the community. “Hopefully it will bring a number of people to shop and to the downtown area,” Estep said. “It would bring money in indirectly, because we don’t actually get any of the sales tax (from the casino and resort.)” Those in attendance were invited to tour the new amenities, including the spa and hotel. “It’ll be a great addition to the community, with more jobs, more activities and things like concerts,” said Bud Allen, of Lincoln. Allen called himself a “frequent visitor” to Thunder Valley Casino. Donna Harrison, an ambassador for the Lincoln Area Chamber of Commerce, called the resort “beautiful.” “I don’t gamble, but I’m excited about the spa,” Harrison said. “It’s great for the community that they (Thunder Valley) are so involved.” Construction on the expansion began in June 2008, and was stopped in November of the same year “because they wanted to reassess the scope of the project given the economy,” according to Thunder Valley’s public information officer Doug Elmets in May. Construction started again last March, with the size of the proposed hotel decreasing from 26 stories to 17.