HomePublicationsCurrent NewsletterNewslettersVolume 18Issue 27Pokagon Band Announces Development Plan for South Bend, Indiana

On Friday, August 24, 2012, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (“BIA”) published a Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement in regards to a proposed plan by the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians (“Tribe”) to develop land in South Bend, Indiana for economic development projects. The proposed development includes plans for 44 housing units, multi-purpose and health facilities, and a Class III gaming facility with ancillary structures.

The Tribe currently holds approximately 165 acres in South Bend that it is seeking to place into trust in order to establish a tribal land base in Indiana. By placing the land into trust, the Tribe would be eligible to receive certain Federal benefits on the land, and would also be eligible to pursue a Class III gaming facility if specific criteria are met.

In order to establish a Class III gaming facility, the Tribe must meet certain federal eligibility requirements as well as negotiate a tribal-state gaming compact with the State of Indiana. There are currently no tribal casinos located in Indiana, though there are thirteen commercial casinos in the state.

The Environmental Impact Study will be prepared to assess the possible adverse effects that the proposed development may have on the geology, air and water quality, traffic, public health, visual aesthetics of the area, and other socioeconomic considerations. The study will include analysis of several different development scenarios and will take into account any public commentary received by the BIA.

The Tribe has 2,883 acres of land in Michigan that is held in trust by the United States. If approved, the South Bend land would be the Tribe’s only trust land in the state of Indiana. In addition to other economic development projects in Michigan, the Tribe operates the Four Winds casino resorts in Hartford Township and New Buffalo. The Tribe also proposed establishing a third gaming facility near its tribal headquarters in Dowagiac earlier this year, which is expected to be completed in 2013.

The BIA will hold a public scoping meeting on September 27, 2012 in South Bend to discuss potential land use issues and to receive commentary from the public. The BIA also will accept written comments on the plan until October 9, 2012. 

 

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