MANISTEE, MI — With less than four weeks before Governor Whitmer’s deadline to decide the fate of the tribe’s proposed Muskegon Casino Project in Fruitport Township, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians (LRBOI) have expressed their appreciation to the Muskegon community for their support for the casino project over the past 10 years. Muskegon community leaders held a rally at the proposed casino site.
“The community support we have received for this project has been truly heartwarming,” said Larry Romanelli, Tribal Ogema of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians. “As we reach the final weeks, the tribe would like to thank everyone for their support and work on our behalf. We thank Congressman Huizenga for his work to obtain federal approval. We are also appreciative of Representative Terry Sabo for leading our efforts with Governor Whitmer and Senator Jon Bumstead for his work to rally the community in support. We would also like to thank the Muskegon County government leaders and the local community leaders, educational leaders, labor and business groups for standing with us at every turn. But most importantly we would like to thank the people of Muskegon and the surrounding communities who have made thousands of phone calls and sent thousands and thousands of letters to the Governor in support of our efforts. With the overwhelming support of the community, I don’t know how the Governor can say no.”
The Governor has until June 16th to either agree to support the casino project; if she does not act or refuses to support – the project ends.
“With the Governor’s sign-off, we can create 3,000 jobs and the initial work can begin in months,” said Romanelli.
The $180 million proposed casino is on the 86-acre site of the former Great Lake’s Downs Race Track that was purchased by the tribe in 2007. The site and the tribe went through an extensive environmental impact analysis that took almost 10 years before being approved by the Federal Department of Interior last December. The beginning of construction awaits the Governor’s signature.
The proposed casino site is expected to attract more than 1.8 million visitors per year and provide the hotel rooms needed to bring larger conventions to the Muskegon area.
In addition to the jobs and economic development expansion, the casino would generate more than $15 million in revenue to the state, millions more to local governments and an estimated $1.5 million a year to local charities through the establishment of the tribe’s 7th Generation Fund.