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Decision on proposed casino in Fruitport expected anytime

Poker casino game
Ab5602 via Wikimedia | Public Domain
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Gov. Whitmer has until Thursday to make a decision.

A decision on a proposed casino in Fruitport Township will be made this week, as Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has until Thursday to either approve the project---or stop it dead in its tracks.

The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians proposed $180 million casino would be constructed on the site of the former Great Lakes Downs Racetrack in Fruitport Township.

Little River Band Ogema Larry Romanelli says after 12 years of planning, there is nothing left to do now, but wait.

“We’ve dotted our I’s and we have crossed our T’s,” he said. “And for that reason, I am somewhat confident, because we have done everything right.”

So why the delay in Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decision?

The Governor’s office says, approval became not so automatic after the Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians, who have been seeking Federal Recognition for over 20 years, claimed rightful ownership to the land on which the casino would be built.

Chairman Ron Yob is the leader of the tribe. He calls the proposed casino “shameful.”

“It’s another tribe that is invading our territory you know,” Yob said.

Gov. Whitmer then, asked the Department of Interior for an extension on the June 16th deadline, however, the Department of Interior rejected that request.

Supporters say, the new casino would bring 3000 new jobs to Muskegon County, and would be an economic boon to both Fruitport and to its adjacent neighbors, like Muskegon Heights.

While the Grand River Band has received support in opposition from other tribes like Gun Lake.

Meanwhile, Democrat Terry Sabo, who represents Muskegon County in Lansing, has called on Whitmer to approve the project, as has Republican and State Senator John Bumstead.

“Shame on the Governor if she does not sign this,” Bumstead said.

WGVU reached out to Governor Whitmer’s office for comment. Emails were not returned.

Gov. Whitmer now has until Thursday to decide.

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