Michigan tribe hopes for governor’s approval to build casino
Governor Gretchen Whitmer has until December 16 to approve or dismiss the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians’ $180m casino project.
US.- The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians‘ Muskegon County casino is one step away from becoming a reality. The Michigan tribe already has US federal approval for the $180m project and is now waiting for Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s decision. She has until December 16 to approve or dismiss the project.
Since 2008, the tribe has been working towards constructing a 149,000-square-foot casino and 220-room hotel at the former Great Lakes Downs Racetrack site in Fruitport Township.
Tribal Ogema Larry Romanelli said at a rally last week: “We are one signature away from making this dream a reality.”
Whitmer’s approval would be the final step in a two-part approval process. The tribe said in May it had received the necessary federal approvals and was awaiting state’s approval. The Little River Band’s eligible tribal land is based in Manistee County, but the tribe says it’s close to its original Muskegon reservation.
The US Department of Interior signed off on the project on December 16, 2020, saying the casino would be in the “best interest of the tribe” and “would not be detrimental” to the community.
The proposal was then handed to Whitmer who had 12 months to decide. She can also seek a six-month extension from the federal government ahead of the deadline. Three tribes that operate casinos near Fruitport Township oppose the project.