Last week marked a big milestone for the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, as dignitaries and community members came together for the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort topping off ceremony. You can find photos of the event in this week’s edition of The Times, but the ceremony marked the end of framing for the project and the beginning of, well, everything else that has to take place for the new resort to come together.

Construction is kind of funny like that. It took about a year for the garage and resort framework to come together. Now, over the course of one more year, crews are going to turn that framework into an actual building. Those early stages are just as time intensive but, to the casual observer, they always seem to be just creeping along. Once the framing is done, things seem to move so quickly that it’s almost like a massive building just springs up out of the ground.

As you might have noticed, this project was referred to above as “We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort.” The name “Fort McDowell Casino” will be retired with the old structure, signifying a revitalized path forward for the operation.

As part of last week’s ceremony, the resort’s final beam was signed by casino and resort employees, the construction crew, tribal members, tribal elders and the project construction team. That beam will soon be enveloped by a roof and the remainder of the structure, but the names of those individuals will always be there, serving as a reminder of just some of the folks who made the dream of We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort a reality.

The aim is to have the doors open next summer, and we’re looking forward to seeing the new and improved casino and entertainment venue thrive.