Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Congress Approves Fountainhead Resort Transfer

Congress has approved Congressman Dan Boren’s bill that transfers Fountainhead Resort near Eufaula into a trust for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

The measure is H.R. 1554, the Fountainhead Property Land Transfer Act, and it was approved by a vote of 421 to 1.

Once passed by the U.S. Senate and signed into law the bill will transfer 18 acres of land within the Fountainhead Resort Property, which is currently owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, into trust for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

“I am honored that the U.S. House of Representatives approved this legislation. It is a very important step toward realizing the full potential of the Fountainhead Resort Property’s renovation and redevelopment. The Creek Nation, as well as state, county, and local officials, are to be commended for their hard work and diligence on this project, and I am proud to have helped move the effort forward. The new facility will create jobs in the region and increase tourism revenue in surrounding communities. Now that the bill has passed the House, I look forward to working with colleagues in the U.S. Senate to complete this legislation.”

The entire Foutainhead property was purchased by the tribe through a foreclosure auction in 2005 and consists of 48 acres of total land. After the tribe purchased the property, a survey determined that 18 acres was in fact owned by the Corps of Engineers, which also included a portion of a recreational building located on the property. Aside from this particular 18 acres, the remaining acreage includes the rest of the recreation building, a 188 room hotel, and some duplex cabins.

Even though the entire resort property falls within the jurisdiction of the Creek Nation, the Corps of Engineers has no authority to sell land outright and Congressional action is necessary for the transfer.

The bill requires another survey to be conducted to determine the exact acreage and legal description of the property. The survey will be paid for by the Creek Nation. The legislation also requires the tribe to pay the Secretary of the Interior fair market value for the property as well as all costs and administrative expenses associated with the transfer into trust.

Resolutions of support for the tribe’s resort project have been passed by the State Representatives of the Lake Eufaula area, Checotah Chamber of Commerce, City of Henryetta, City of Eufaula, and the Lake Eufaula Association.

Fountainhead and its sister lodge, Falconhead, were built as state tourism promotion projects four decades ago.

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