By Michael R. Blood

WHEATLAND (CBS13) — Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain is expanding with a new gas station and an event venue.

Traffic through Wheatland is expected to grow as the casino grows.

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“More people, more accidents, you know,” said Emma Garcia, a barista in the area.

But it brings with it hundreds of jobs.

Construction on two projects totaling $65 million is already underway,  including a state-of-the-art gas station called Rocktane Gas and Smoke, and a 2,500-seat event venue called Hard Rock Live.

“The gas station will offer 16 pumps [of] regular octane as well as diesel. It will offer a drive-thru 24-hour smoke shop as well as a 4,000 square-foot convenience store,” said Mark Birtha, the president of the casino.

The gas station will have generator power and so will the venue. The live venue will have the ability to serve as an emergency shelter.

“We would set up the Hard Rock Live by bringing in all the cots and necessities for sleeping and for food, and any needs the community could have,” said Glenda Nelson

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Nelson serves as chairwoman for the Enterprise Rancheria, the tribal nation which owns the casino.

“We would set up the Hard Rock Live as a convention center,” she said.

The tribe already has experience housing people in Butte County during the 2017 evacuations as a result of the Oroville dam crisis, and it has housed fire and police personnel in their hotel for training during the pandemic.

“It’s just part of us fulfilling the promises that we already made to the community,” she said.

Another promise: Making it happen quickly.

The venue expected to be completed by May of next year and the gas station by the end of this year. It can’t happen fast enough for locals.

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“I think anything we can do to prepare an event, especially like the fires we had … I think it would all be helpful,” said Michael Pernell.