Feds OK Spokane Tribe Economic Project with 5,000 jobs - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Feds OK Spokane Tribe Economic Project with 5,000 jobs

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The Department of the Interior announced their approval of STEP The Department of the Interior announced their approval of STEP
SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. -

 The Department of the Interior announced Monday the approval of the Spokane Tribe Economic Project (STEP), a landmark decision in the decades-long effort to bring economic development to the West Plains.

Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Kevin Washburn said in a letter to Gov. Inslee that the Spokane Tribe's project would create jobs and increase tribal public service programs on the Spokane Reservation.

The Interior Department ultimately determined that Spokane's proposal "is in the best interest of the Spokane Tribe and its members and is not detrimental to the surrounding communities." STEP, according to Washburn, passed both tests. Gov. Inslee has to agree with the Interior's analysis before STEP can break ground.

“After all our efforts, it's incredibly gratifying to receive the Interior Department's approval,” said Spokane Tribal Council Chairman Rudy Peone. “We want to create jobs and economic opportunity for our tribe and the entire community. We are excited to present STEP to Gov. Inslee and hope he agrees with Interior's lengthy analysis and conclusion.”

STEP would transform 145 acres of vacant land into a resort casino, mid-rise hotel, parking structure, lifestyle retail center, commercial facilities, Tribal cultural center, and Tribal police and fire station.

A 2013 study by the Bureau of Indian Affairs determined that create more than 5,000 construction-related and permanent jobs in Spokane County, invest $400 million into the county and have no negative effect on existing and future operations of Fairchild Air Force Base.

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