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February 20, 2007
Diamond Mountain Casino plans hotel expansion
SUSANVILLE, California (STPNS) -- Ever since Diamond Mountain Casino first opened as a garage in 1996, it has kept expanding. From the garage to the Susanville Casino, to the current incarnation as Diamond Mountain, it has been in a constant state of renewal and upgrading.
That process will continue this summer, when the Susanville Indian Rancheria plans to break ground on a new 70-room hotel expansion.
General Manager Campbell Jamieson said the casino is utilizing the help of Pacific Inns, a company based out of Oregon that has helped in the creation of several boutique hotels around the country.
?We?re in an effort to grow our business just like everyone else in Susanville,? Jamieson said. ?The next logical step for us is the expansion to a hotel.
Susanville Indian Rancheria Tribal Chairman Stacy Dixon said the tribal council voted for the expansion with a 71 percent majority, which has put the casino into the design phase of the project.
Jamieson said it?s extremely important for the expansion to be attached to the current casino, and be visually pleasing to the eye. Jamieson also explained the expansion won?t keep the casino closed at any time, as it will be expanding from the existing corner on north side of the casino near the restaurant entrance parallel to Skyline drive. He pointed out that it would be built on top of about 40 parking spaces, dropping parking capacity from roughly 350 to 310. He said there wouldn?t be any real impact on their capacity, as they haven?t filled the lot even on their busiest nights such as New Year?s.
That might change however, since the expansion will effectively put the casino in competition with places like Reno, Campbell said. Some of the amenities that are in the works for the expansion include an indoor swimming pool and spa, an arcade for guests? children and roughly five suites with a Jacuzzi built-in.
One negative aspect Dixon and property manager Doyle Lowry said they were anticipating is the potential for increased traffic along Skyline Drive, where the expansion will face. They said while the traffic might be more crowded during the construction phase, the eventual design of the building would still accommodate for residents in the area.
?The feedback that I?ve gotten from the community has been all positive,? said Jill Ault, a controller with the casino. ?They?re a lot more excited than I though they would be. It?s been really interesting.?
Dixon said that the feedback he?s received from the employees at the mini-mart located next to the casino has also been positive. He also explained how people from surrounding communities, such as Chester and Lake Almanor, have also given their support, because now they can stay over when they come to use the casino.
?The surrounding community is looking forward to this,? Dixon said. ?Because of the events that we have here, the UFC fights, the comedy shows, this will allow people to come, and then stay over.?
Jamieson also explained this could be very beneficial to the local economy as well, with 20 more jobs being created from the expansion, as well as the contracted labor for the actual construction phase.
While Jamieson also said the final numbers are not in yet, he said the casino is anticipating the project will cost roughly $5.5 million.
According to a casino press release, the casino plans to hold a public hearing open to everyone interested at 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 15, located in the Diamond Willow Room at the casino. Tribal leaders, management, and environmental specialists will be available at the meeting. The casino will also have environmental studies available on review, a process they are currently going through.
The casino is also accepting written statements concerning the expansion, which can be sent to:
Susanville Indian Rancheria, Attn: Casino Hotel Project, 745 Joaquin St., Susanville, CA, 96130. Written comments made before the March meeting will be included in the hearing record.
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