Tribal leaders and the Big Pine Tribal Development Corporation have plans to stimulate the local economy and create at least 40 new jobs.
Mark Tillemans, director of the Tribal Development Corp., said he is working with the tribe to construct a truck stop at the intersection of U.S. 395 and Butcher Lane in Big Pine.
The truck stop would feature a 2,500 square-foot casino, four commercial fueling islands, six passenger vehicle fueling islands, a 6,000 square-foot convenience store, a 1,750 square-foot dining area and a lounge, laundry facilities and showers for long-haul truckers.
Dubbed the Big Pine Travel Plaza, the facility will be owned and operated by the tribe, and managed by the Tribal Development Corp.
Tillemans told county leaders and members of the Inyo Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that the Plaza will create 40 full-time jobs and help to stimulate the tribal and county economy.
“A healthier tribal economy is a benefit to the county economy,” Tillemans said.
The Tribal Development Corp. is still working on financing and schematics for the project, and Tillemans said the tribe has not yet set a date to break ground.
Throughout the development of the project, the tribe has worked closely with county Public Works to ensure traffic flows to the Travel Plaza do not disrupt traffic on U.S. 395.
“We are very proud that we have worked collaborative on this with the county,” Tillemans said. “A lot of the input we got on the project came from Caltrans and the county.”
Before the project is shovel ready, the tribe must complete an Environmental Impact Report. Tillemans said that will begin and the county may be asked to lend a hand with a California Environmental Quality Act analysis once financing and design of the facility is complete.
Once those hurdles are jumped, construction plans will begin.
Fourth District Supervisor Marty Fortney, whose district includes Big Pine, said he discussed the project with members of the Big Pine Civic Club earlier in the week, “and everybody seemed really excited about it.”
Fortney asked if Tillemans would do a presentation for the Civic Club, possibly in January, to update community members on the progress of the Plaza.
Tillemans said the tribe is hoping to keep all community members in the loop on the project.
County Administrative Officer Kevin Carunchio commended the tribe and Tribal Development Corp. for its “early and frequent communication” with the county on the project.