|Tribe to pay for widening Wilfred Ave.
It was nine years ago, October 2003, when the City of Rohnert Park signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, concerning a casino and resort hotel they were planning to build just west of RP city limits. Part of the MOU was the Graton tribe’s willingness to share costs of widening Wilfred Avenue from its present two lanes to four lanes plus bike paths. It was a 50-50 project.
Here it is almost October 2012, and the Graton tribe has told the city, “Never mind, we’ll pay the full costs, 100 percent, of widening Wilfred Avenue.”
The reason why the tribe is hurrying this work along is because construction of the casino is progressing rapidly and plans to open November 2013.
Another reason is the tribe is seeking approval from the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors to widen Wilfred on county lands west of RP. This is likely to happen soon. The road is also called Golf Course Drive West.
Whatever it’s called, it will be the main east-west entry road to the casino. Traffic estimates say the majority of cars will use the freeway exit with a smaller percentage entering Wilfred from Stony Point Road. The tribe would like to see this road work finished before Nov. 2013.
Tuesday night, RP’s City Council approved changes to a Joint Powers Agreement covering negotiations between RP, the county and the Graton tribe. There was little discussion and the vote was 4-0-1. Vice-Mayor Pam Stafford was absent.