On a tour of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Wednesday, everyone had that slightly edgy sort of smile you see on people when big things are about to happen – you wear that sort of smile when you’ve done a lot of work, taken on a lot of responsibility, are starting something brand new, when you hope you’ve thought of everything, but you’re sure there will be something...

The $440 million complex, featuring several dining options, hotel rooms, full casino, and the flashy branding of Hard Rock ... was set to open to the public at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. And they say that once the doors open, they never close.

A full complement of dignitaries was on hand for a media event following the tours. The speakers reiterated what we’ve been reporting and repeating for a while now. 

What it boils down to is this: It’s the biggest game changer we can think of for quite a while. We don’t know all the business arrangements between Enterprise Rancheria, the owners of the casino, and Hard Rock (owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida), but we’re guessing that all the details have been ushered along and the area tribal members will be enabled to change the future of their community, their families, their heirs.

We know that the casino and hotel will be a game changer for Yuba County and surrounding counties. They’re buying local goods, promoting local businesses, very likely setting a trend for development in Yuba County’s sports and entertainment zone – an amphitheater, a casino and hotel, and next?

But the massive thing: 1,300 people, give or take, and the vast majority of them local, are now employed there. For most all of them, it’s a step up in pay and benefits. It can mean the world to those families and the neighborhoods they live in. People who couldn’t afford health care, may now be able to. People who couldn’t afford college, may now be able to. People who lived in substandard housing out of necessity may now be able to move into better accommodations. People who were unemployed, underemployed, barely making it and, so, concentrated on survival to the extent that they could not afford to be involved or speak up ... now may be able to take part in their communities. They may find a voice. What will that mean?

Something really big just happened here. Congratulations are in order.

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