The town of Raton, New Mexico is seeking to breathe new life into its economy through a unique collaboration with the Pueblo of Picuris. Situated about 100 miles northeast of Taos, Raton is looking to forge a partnership with the Pueblo of Picuris, one of the smallest Indigenous communities in the state with a population of around 300.
Negotiations regarding the potential establishment of a gaming facility have been ongoing for nearly three years, according to Raton Mayor Neil Segotta. This proposed development is aiming to take advantage of New Mexico’s tribal/state compact, which allows for casino-style gaming exclusively on tribal lands. The potential transfer of land to the Pueblo of Picuris could pave the way for the construction and operation of a casino complex, providing an economic boost to Raton.
Former city manager Scott Berry believes that the casino project has the potential to be a catalyst for economic growth, especially in terms of tourism and job creation in the region. City manager Richard Mestas also expressed optimism about the project, revealing plans for the development to include not only a casino but also additional amenities such as a hotel or restaurant.
Despite the city commission’s approval of the resolution, Mayor Pro-tem Lori Chatterley clarified that it does not constitute a binding agreement. The resolution serves as a statement of intent to proceed with discussions and does not commit the city to the land transfer at this stage. Chatterley emphasized that it represents a declaration of intent to proceed and is not a legally binding contract or property transfer, but rather a gesture of goodwill for future progress.
As the plans move forward, a meeting between leaders of the Pueblo of Picuris and city officials is scheduled for later this month to further explore the potential partnership and its implications for both parties. This potential collaboration between Raton and the Pueblo of Picuris has the potential to bring about a significant economic boost to the town and the region as a whole.