While one member of the Cherokee Tribal Council lobbied to table the vote to add $15 million to the $23.5 million-project, the majority were in favor of moving forward. “We’ve got a project right here that’s going to make money right in Cherokee,” says Wolfetown Rep. Bill Taylor. “We’ll invest millions elsewhere, but we’re going to question this project. I don’t understand it.”
The Cherokee Tribal Council voted to increase the $23.5 million budget for a new hotel on the Sequoyah National Golf Club in Whittier, N.C. to $39 million, despite a request from Secretary of Treasury Cory Blankenship that they table the vote for next month, the Smoky Mountain News reported.
“We need to look at timing, we need to look at all the other capital commitments — land purchases, things that we’ve contributed to — and to determine the best way to move forward with the project,” Blankenship said. “It’s not to necessarily hold up the project, but to say, ‘Where does it fall in line with the other capital commitments?’”
The tribe has committed large amounts of money to a range of projects over the last year or two, Blankenship said, and his office is having discussions with banking partners about the tribe’s remaining investment capacity, the Smoky Mountain News reported. However, the majority of Tribal Council was adamant that the project had been delayed long enough and that it was vital to give the Sequoyah National Golf Club Board the green light now.
“We can spend in Indiana; Danville, Va.; Kentucky; Tennessee, but we don’t want to invest in our own town, our own community,” said Wolfetown Rep. Bill Taylor. “We’ve got a project right here that’s going to make money right in Cherokee. We’ll invest millions elsewhere, but we’re going to question this project. I don’t understand it.”
“Council says where the money goes, not a Chief, not a Vice Chief, not a Director of Finance,” agreed Big Cove Rep. Teresa McCoy. “The 12 of us at this table need to get control of that.”
C+RB reported in September 2021 that the Tribal Council balked at the hotel plan when DreamCatcher Hotels, which was selected to develop a 125-room hotel at the club, lowered the room count to 103 when an additional $3.5 million was requested to pay for site work.