HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveNewslettersVolume 21Issue 15Little River Band Announces Re-Election of Tribal Ogema

On  Friday, April 24, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians (“LRBOI” or “Tribe”) announced that Larry “Little Thunder” Romanelli was re-elected as its Ogema leader for a third term.  He is the Tribe’s only elected executive leader to be re-elected twice.

On February 24, 2015, the LRBOI 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.

During a recent interview conducted by MLive.com, Mr. Romanelli stated, “Fruitport is by far our largest investment and it plays a very significant role in Little River Band of Ottawa Indian’s future. The impact to the tribe and local community is tremendous. The need for the business is there and it is a very worthwhile effort as well as frustrating, but well worth the time and energy. I will do everything in my power to make it happen and during the term in office.”

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.

Thus far, 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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