“Everything is on schedule to open late spring or early summer 2013,” said Raymond Etcitty, general counsel and acting COO of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise.
Now, he says, it is just a matter of hiring and training the estimated 800 employees it will take to run it.
The number of new jobs is a relief to the Navajo Nation, where unemployment is at 50 percent. It will also be a shot in the arm for job seekers in Coconino County.
“It is not often an enterprise of this size can open this close to Flagstaff and offer 800-plus jobs,” said Julie Pastrick, president and CEO of the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce. “This is an opportunity for people who are unemployed or under employed to secure a job with the Navajo Gaming Enterprise,” she said.
Etcitty said Navajos will be considered first for any job and if none qualify, the job will be put out to the general public. Job fairs are underway for open positions.
Twin Arrows is on Interstate 40 at the Twin Arrows off ramp about 20 miles east of Flagstaff.
The facility will offer a casino with 1,089 slot machines, eight food venues, including a
gourmet steakhouse, seafood bar, sports bar, a 24-hour restaurant, a coffee bar, night club, food court and VIP lounge and a 200 room hotel with a conference center and meeting rooms. The resort will also offer a gift shop, European spa and outdoor courtyards. Future plans include a travel center, convenience store and gas station, upscale RV Park and a golf course.
Etcitty thinks Twin Arrows is another attraction that should bring visitors year around to Northern Arizona in addition to snow skiing and other outdoor activities, as well as people driving up from the Valley to get out of the heat during the summer.
About 350 people attended the ground breaking of the casino in March. More than 1.5 million visitors are expected to visit each year. It is estimated to generate $100 million each year in revenue and is expected to contribute substantially to the tax base of Coconino County.
The closest casino to Flagstaff is in Camp Verde about 40 miles away to the south.
Twin Arrows is the fourth and largest Navajo casino. Three in New Mexico are already up and running and another is in the planning stages near the Petrified Forest in Arizona.
About 1,000 construction jobs were created during the construction of Twin Arrows. FBN