Driving business to the tribes

By KATHY KORENGEL

Herald Writer

TULALIP — The Tulalip Tribes celebrated the opening of a new road Tuesday that will serve as a route through the tribes’ new business park, Quil Ceda Village.

The paved two-lane road is an extension of 27th Avenue NE, also known as Quil Ceda Road, and lies about a half-mile west of and parallel to I-5 on the Tulalip Indian Reservation. The new 9,400-foot stretch of road extends from Quil Ceda Way north to 116th Street NE. The road eventually will be upgraded to four lanes, said John McCoy, executive director of governmental affairs for the Tribes.

Tribal officials said the road will lead to the business park, which is slated to include a Wal-Mart, a Home Depot and a new Tulalip Tribes casino. It also will improve access for emergency services to the northeast corner of the reservation.

Planning for the road started six years ago, and construction began last summer, Tulalip Tribal Chairman Stan Jones Sr. said in a press release. Funding for the $1.3 million road project came from federal grant and tribal funds.

"This road is a demonstration of the Tulalip Tribes working to improve the community as a whole," McCoy said in the release.

Wal-Mart recently broke ground in the business park on a 148,000-square-foot store on a 19.2-acre site at the intersection of I-5 and Quil Ceda Way. The store is being built by the contracting company S.D. Deacon and, according to tribal regulations, a certain percentage of skilled labor jobs will be filled by tribal members, McCoy said.

The new Wal-Mart is scheduled to open in March 2001 and to provide about 250 jobs to the area.

Tribal officials are still negotiating a lease with Home Depot for a 130,000-square-foot store on 11 acres just north of Wal-Mart, McCoy said.

Plans also are in the works to relocate the Tulalip Tribes Casino from its present site on Marine Drive to the business park by spring 2002. The new, larger casino is expected to employ more than 1,000 people.

Plans for Quil Ceda Village also include a small village for businesses operated by tribal members and a tribal government and services center. In all, the center will cover about 2,000 acres, McCoy said.

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