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Fruitport Township casino not dead yet, as DOI asks Little River Band to re-submit application

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Gov. Whitmer rejected application in June, citing a need for more time to consider.

A proposed casino in Fruitport Township may have found new life this week, despite Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s refusal to sign off on the project earlier this year.

According to the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has asked the tribe to re-submit their application to build a new casino in Fruitport Township.

Back in June, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer shocked a number of officials in Muskegon County when she denied the Little River Band’s application for the new casino after the tribe had spent $30 million on development over a 12-year-planning process.

The Governor said in June, that she needed more time consider the Grand River Band of Ottawa Indians, who were seeking Federal Recognition, and who claimed rightful ownership to the land that the casino would be built on.

Earlier this month however, the DOI rejected the federal recognition request for at least another year, and then telling the Little River Band to give the Casino another shot.

Larry Romanelli is Tribal Omega.

“It’s exciting in the fact that the DOI recognizes the economic development that can happen in West Michigan, the benefit of jobs; when we talk about 1500-5000 jobs, that is huge,” Romanelli said. “And the business community kind of revived us because they would not let us go and said, ‘we know the importance, so we are going to back you 100 percent.’ And that is what has happened here, they are losing their patience.”

Approval for the new casino however, will still require the Governor’s signature.

Romanelli says the tribe has reached out to Whitmer’s office regarding the DOI’s request to resubmit its application. He says so far, Whitmer has not offered her support.