CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - Some residents aren't happy about the latest news about a casino plans to develop land near East Palm Canyon Drive and Date Palm Drive in downtown Cathedral City.
"I definitely don't like the idea of a casino. We're way more family-oriented. We're not like Palm Springs where it is more resortish," Raquel Chio said.
Nikki Reed said the area should be left untouched by developers.
"There's so much culture here in the Coachella Valley that people that are moving into the area don't know anything about. I would rather have them learn about the history of how this whole Coachella Valley was developed instead of having new developments because that's how history is lost," Reed said.
The 12.5 acres is mostly vacant. City officials say the new development is great news for the city.
"This will have great impact to the area. It'll bring entertainment. Hopefully, it will bring dining and other facilities. This is one of those things that we've had planned for years and we want in our downtown," Cathedral City Mayor Stan Henry said.
Development in downtown Cathedral City has been difficult for the last 20 years. On Tuesday, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians ended that with the purchase and intent to redevelop downtown land. The development includes plans to build a casino, as well as a mixed-use area for dining and retail. In a statement the tribe said, "The future development will create jobs, revitalize an undeveloped downtown property and support Cathedral City’s economic development efforts."
As part of the sale the tribe will pay $5.5 million toward a new fire station to replace the old 411 station that was built in the 1970s.
"If you look around there's just wear and tear that occurs. The concrete is breaking, we've had several leaks through the years in the foundation that's caused a lot of need for repairs," Cathedral City Fire Department Battalion Chief John Muhr said.
Some residents told us off-camera that growth and new development is a positive outcome for the city, but others are worried the downtown area will lose its sense of being family-friendly.
The tribe is drawing up master plans for the development site. The new fire station will be built in the next two years. No word on what will happen to the Carl's Jr. restaurant currently on the land.