HomePublicationsNewsletter ArchiveNewslettersVolume 21Issue 32Department of Indian Affairs Schedules Muskegon Development Hearing

On Monday, September 21, 2015, the US Department of Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs (“Bureau”) published a hearing notice regarding a proposed casino project in Muskegon County. The hearing will be held to consider public comments on a proposed land-into-trust and casino project for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians (“Tribe”).

The Tribe has proposed to convert approximately 60 acres of land it currently holds in fee to trust land for the purpose of constructing a gaming facility. Converting the land from fee to trust status is one method of meeting federal land requirements to construct a full-scale tribal casino. The land is located five miles south of Muskegon, adjacent to Interstate 96 in Fruitport Township.

In 2008, the Tribe purchased the former Great Lakes Downs racetrack, and later, adjacent parcels, in an effort to establish a site for a tribal casino. The Tribe sought to amend the current Tribal-State Gaming Compact in 2010 to include a Fruitport-based casino, but the proposal stalled in the legislature. The plan was revived in October of 2013, when the Tribe and Governor Snyder agreed to waive certain rights held by the state which, in turn, allowed the Tribe to move forward with the federal approval process. Since the initial land purchase, the Tribe has negotiated local operating agreements with Fruitport Township and Muskegon County which cover the provision of municipal and public safety services for the future development.

The public scoping hearing will be held on Thursday, October 15, 2015 at 6:00 pm at the Fruitport Middle School Auditorium. Topics to be discussed include a range of environmental issues, including the project’s potential effect on air quality, noise, public health, water resources, and public aesthetics. In addition to the public meeting, written comments may be submitted to the Bureau by October 21, 2015.

For more information on the project and the public hearing, please visit the Environmental Impact Statement website for the project, located at: http://www.littlerivereis.com/

 

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