Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James R. Floyd, Second Chief Louis Hicks, and the Realty Services staff pictured after Fountainhead property was placed in trust.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2018
OKMULGEE, Okla. – It was an emotional yet long awaited day as Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief James R. Floyd met with Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior John Tahsuda for the signing of the 45.58 acres of Fountainhead land into trust.
“This project has been ongoing since the first month I took office and we’re very pleased to report today that at this time, on April 30th, the U.S. Department of Interior came out to Tulsa to the ceremony where we signed the documents to transfer the property,” Floyd said.
The 45.58-acre parcel of land is an addition to the 18.38-acre parcel of land that was put into trust in December 2016 through an amendment to legislation.
This is only the second parcel of land under President Donald Trump’s Administration that has been placed into trust.
With the Nation now having the land into trust by the U.S., the property will be taken off the tax rolls and will be tribally owned federally, as well as allowing the MCN Lighthorse to have full control of law enforcement in the area.
The total 62 acres located on Lake Eufaula in McIntosh County was purchased in 2005 by the Nation from the Army Corps of Engineers and the nation has worked ever since to get the land into trust.
However, MCN Realty Manager Sonya McIntosh, gives credit to Floyd for his focus and efforts to get the process completed, as well as the continued work of her staff.
“I’d like to thank Chief Floyd for allowing us to do our job very diligently,” McIntosh said. “We had a big struggle that we overcame and Chief Floyd allowed us to do that within our own means and we had a lot of work that we did putting that land into trust.”
The process of getting the land into trust required several surveys and several submissions of the application to the U.S. Department of Interior throughout the years with additions and revisions each time.
The property in the area of the historic Fountainhead Lodge can now be developed into a tourist destination in addition to the Fountainhead Golf Course, which is located across the highway and adjacent from the land into trust.
The MCN currently leases the Fountainhead Golf Course land from the Army Corps of Engineers.
The Nation will have set plans to develop the destination resort area by the end of the year, which will include gaming, entertainment and restaurants.
Floyd said the timing of signing the deed could not be better and expects the development to bring economic benefits to the area.
“When we look at McIntosh County, it has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state,” Floyd said. “Governor Fallin recently signed legislation creating Opportunity Zones and McIntosh County is an Opportunity Zone and so the Fountainhead property falls right in. The benefit of this is that developers take tax benefits from it and can get incentives to develop their properties so it works in our favor.”
Floyd said there is also an opportunity to take over the nearly 5,000 acres of the Fountainhead State Park from the State of Oklahoma, which would allow the Nation to manage the park property.
“We have the state park property that could allow us to put on display our culture and make it an attraction for people,” Floyd said. “Biking, walking and jogging trails, camping; those types of outdoor activities. We want to attract them to that area as a destination to increase tourism in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation in that area.”