Rohnert Park


Rohnert Park is a small community of 42,000. It is California's first master-planned city, created as a "family-friendly" city, and known for it's parks, trees, and pleasant neighborhoods. It is also home to Sonoma State University.

On August 21, 2003, The Press Democrat announced the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria's plan to build what would be the largest development in the history of the county - a 678,000 square foot Las Vegas-style casino with a 300 room hotel, spa, multiple restaurants and fast food franchises, a 2,000 seat entertainment venue and a 2,000 slot machine casino on 360 acres immediately outside Rohnert Park City Limits.

Subsequent news reports proved that the tribe and Rohnert Park City officials had met in secret for two and a half months prior to the announcement. The announcement was met with an immediate uproar from the community.

A petition was started up by a Rohnert Park resident, and over 5,000 signatures opposing a casino in Rohnert Park were collected in just under two weeks. City meetings regularly drew in excess of five hundred people, 90% of whom were opposed the casino as being detrimental to the community. Documents obtained from City Hall and the National Indian Gaming Commission show letters running twenty to one against the casino.

Despite this widespread public opposition, Rohnert Park City officials entered into an agreement with the tribe in mid-October. That agreement was site specific, and important detail, because on August 10, 2005, the tribe purchased not only 170 acres of the orignal site, but also a new 90 acre parcel squarely within Rohnert Park's boundaries. The casino is now indisputably, an urban casino.

White Herons thrive in Vernal Wetlands

Both the new acreage and the old are squarely in Sonoma County's Vernal Wetlands, and are habitat to four Federally- protected species.

These vernal wetlands are an important resource for migrating water fowl. The entire site includes one of only two wildlife corridors in the County, flood plains, and along with the new acreage, acts as drainage system for hundreds of square miles of the County. These Wetlands are an important flood control asset.

Flooded Salamander Traps at Casino Site
Certain Death for Tiger Salamanders

ABOVE: Flooded Tiger Salamander traps at the casino site during test period.  Any breeding Tiger Salamander trying to make its way to several vernal pools on the casino site would most likely drown in this trap before it would be found.

The newly purchased 90 acre site is only a block away from the Wal-Mart Shopping Center, and less than 1/4 mile from the homes on Golf Course Drive. The casino traffic would bring traffic to a standstill! According to one Sonoma County official, the FIGR has made the traffic situation worse with this move.

The 170+ acres of the original site that the Station Casinos purchased in August, 2005, still includes the Laguna de Santa Rosa, and is in the back yard of the Rancho Verde Mobile Home Park.


Stop the Casino 101 Coalition, Rohnert Park, CA

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