Little River Band remains committed to off-reservation casino

Little River Band Ogema Larry Romanelli with some young tribal members. Photo from Little River Currents / April 2015

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians proposed an off-reservation casino in Michigan seven years ago and the tribe's leader remain committed to the project.

The tribe submitted the land-into-trust application for the project in February. Plans call for a $180 million casino on a 60-acre site in Fruitport Township.

"I've known from day one this was going to happen," Larry Romanelli, the tribe's ogema, told MLive. "Through the seven years there have been ups and downs, where you don't hear anything about it and then more news comes out. But overall, we've never stepped back."

Artist's rendering of proposed off-reservation casino in Fruitport Township, Michigan. Image from Little River Band

The Bureau of Indian Affairs announced the preparation of an environmental impact statement in a notice published in the Federal Register on Monday. The first public hearing takes place October 15 at the Fruitport Middle School auditorium.

The tribe is pursuing the casino under the two-part determination provisions of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. If the BIA approves, the state governor will have veto authority over the project.

Get the Story:
Proposed Muskegon County casino faces 'one of the largest hurdles' in 7 years (MLive 9/23)

Federal Register Notice:
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Fruitport Casino Project, Fruitport Township, Muskegon County, Michigan (September 21, 2015)

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