Navajo president signs loan documents for gaming project

Church Rock, New Mexico (AP) 4-08

Navajo Nation President Joe Shirley Jr. has signed loan documents that will allow the tribe to get started on the construction of its first casino.

Shirley signed the documents during a visit to the Church Rock Chapter just east of Gallup. He says the community is making history by being the first chapter to have a casino built on its land.

The documents signed by Shirley and Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise chief Robert Winter include a $35 million loan agreement, a promissory note, an architect agreement and a business site lease.

The signatures clear the way for work to begin on the 27,000-square-foot casino. The tribe says it will have 300 slot machines, table games, entertainment and a small cafe.

Groundbreaking for the casino is expected in May.