TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) – Progress on the highly contested “First Light Resort and Casino” has come to an unexpected halt.
Members of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe suddenly withdrew its request to the federal government over an ongoing land dispute.
According to the Cape Cod Times, the inquiry was filed with the Department of the Interior which continued to question whether the area was sovereign tribal land, which would allow the tribe to build the complex. The Times also reported that the tribal leaders say they plan to move forward with an appeal to an earlier court decision regarding land eligibility.
Construction on the billion-dollar casino was slated to begin this summer, with the complex opening to the public sometime next year.
Local residents have been fighting the plans for the billion-dollar casino, questioning whether the tribe has the right to build, and filing several lawsuits against it.
According to a statement on the First Light website, the proposed complex would bring millions of dollars in urban renewal and over 7,000 jobs to the Taunton area.
The full statement from the tribe is included below.