Little River Band sees strong support for off-reservation casino

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

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is seeing strong local support for its proposed off-reservation casino in Michigan.

Officials in Fruitport Township and Muskegon County support the $180 million project. They believe it will generate 1,200 permanent jobs and draw more than 1 million people a year to the area.

"This truly will be an economic development catalyst for the region," Fruitport Township Supervisor Brian Werschem told MLive.

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.

Gov. Rick Snyder (R) hasn't stated his position on on the project but local support could help sway him. However, he rejected an off-reservation casino for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in June 2013 even though the tribe was proposing to move one of its facilities to a location closer to its headquarters.

Get the Story:
Strong official support, little opposition to proposed Muskegon County casino (MLive 9/24)

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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