METTLER, Calif. (KERO) — Earlier this week, 23ABC updated you on the Tejon Indian Tribe's efforts to build the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino near Metler, CA.
On Wednesday, Tribal Spokesperson Sandra Hernandez shared more about their recent announcement.
The Department of the Interior just approved an agreement to place a 320-acre parcel in trust for the tribe. Land that is taken into trust by the federal government is governed by the tribe, allowing them to benefit from federal programs that protect tribal sovereignty while creating economic opportunities for both its membership and Kern County.
The DOI also gave the green light to an agreement between the state and the tribe that will allow certain types of gaming on that parcel.
The move clears the way for the tribe to start development of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino - their first commercial venture.
Hernandez says she hopes the popular chain will put the area back on the map when it comes to entertainment destinations.
“Historically, Kern County was noted for famed notoriety for its music, you know, it's legendary music capacities. And those don’t exist here (now),” Hernandez said. “And I think having that venue will bring some of that excitement, I think, back to the area that's often overlooked, here in the middle of California.”
The Hard Rock would be built on 52 of the 320 acres, while other buildings including a healthcare facility, administrative offices and housing for tribal members would occupy the rest of the area.
Hernandez tells 23ABC the Tejon Tribe hopes to break ground on construction next spring or mid 2023.
She added the tribe is grateful for the continued support from the state and Kern County.
“I think that it's something to see a community rally behind a cause that everybody's going to benefit from,” Hernandez said. “And I think that that's been a very uplifting feeling for us as a tribal community to see the support around us.”
Chief Communications Officer for Kern County Ally Soper says officials estimate the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino will generate $60 million in paying jobs; that includes 1,000 temporary construction positions and nearly 4,000 permanent jobs.