Tonto Apache Tribe Augmenting Casino

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Construction on the Tonto Apache Tribe's big project in the Rim Country -- a huge hotel and casino addition to the Mazatzal Casino -- continued in 2006.

Jerry Holland, controller for the Tonto Apache Tribe, said that although the construction for the project began in May of 2005, the majority of the work was completed in 2006.

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Tonto Apache Tribe focused most of 2006 Council effort and nearly $20 million to build its hotel and a casino expansion on the south side of Payson.

"It's coming along really well," he said.

Holland said that structure of the three-story hotel, which has 40 suites, is nearly completed, but the inside still needs a little work.

"It just needs furnishings and for paintings to be hung," he said.

Hotel rates will vary, he said, adding that he believed they would be between $100 and $150 a night.

The remainder of the project lies in the 50,000 square foot casino addition, which is hidden behind the hotel and cannot be seen from front.

"The wiring to the casino is taking some time," he said. "And they're still deciding if they want to make part of the casino non-smoking."

The current casino is 13,000 square feet. Holland said that the tribe is excited by the huge upgrade.

Holland estimated the cost of the additions to be between $15 and $20 million dollars.

"It's been their big project for the last year and a half," he said.

The overall contract for the project was granted to a tribal member's construction company, who then doled out different tasks to other companies.

Holland said that a manager for the hotel has already been hired and that hiring for the casino addition may take place, once it opens up.

"They'll have to see if they need more employees, based on how busy the new casino gets," he said.

Construction seems to going pretty well and is on schedule, Holland said.

"Overall, I'd say everybody should be happy with the progress," he said.

The opening for the new casino and hotel is slated for July 1, but Holland said that it might be pushed back depending on when the casino will be completed.

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