HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveNewslettersVolume 21Issue 7Little River Band Submits Application to Bureau of Indian Affairs for Proposed Casino

On Tuesday, February 24, 2015, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians (“LRBOI” or “Tribe”) announced that it has filed an application to the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”) regional office to take land into trust for a proposed casino and economic development project to be located on 60 acres of the former Great Lakes Downs racetrack site in Fruitport Township.

“This marks another step forward for the Band and the Muskegon region,” said Larry Romanelli, Ogema of the LRBOI. “For the past seven years, we have worked with the Muskegon region to bring viable economic development to both of our communities. This project would jumpstart the local economy and help provide support for expanded tribal government services for our tribal members.”

The LRBOI has entered into a Municipal Services Agreement with Muskegon County and Fruitport Township that includes the Tribe making payments for public safety, sanitary sewer and public water construction and services, as well as for the county court and jail system.

The casino and economic development project has received support from Fruitport Township, Muskegon County, multiple townships and local units of government, Fruitport Public Schools, West Michigan Trade Unions, the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce and local businesses including Lakes Mall. In June 2014, both Fruitport Township and Muskegon County reaffirmed their commitment for the Band’s Muskegon casino with resolutions of support.

According to the LRBOI, it would invest $180 million to build a new casino and economic development project. The project is expected to generate more than 1,200 new jobs in Muskegon County.

The Great Lakes Downs racetrack opened in 1999 and closed in 2007. The LRBOI purchased the property in 2008 with plans to build a casino and economic development project. As proposed, the project would include:

· Approximately 69,000 square feet of gaming floor space

· 1,700 slot machines

· 35 table games

· 220-room hotel

· Conference and meeting room space

· Dining and entertainment options

The LRBOI opened the Little River Casino Resort in 1999 in Manistee. For more information about the Tribe, visit http://www.lrboi-nsn.gov/.


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