Casino still sought for Great Lakes Downs site

Fruitport Township, Michigan (AP) June 2011

Supporters of a proposed casino at the site of the former Great Lakes Downs horse track in West Michigan plan to continue pushing for the project after the governor decided against signing an agreement with an American Indian tribe for off-reservation gambling.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s office said he wasn’t currently willing to sign the agreement. The Republican governor’s administration plans to focus on other economic development initiatives with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said.

State Sen. Goeff Hansen, R-Hart, told The Muskegon Chronicle that he wants to continue to let Snyder know about potential benefits of the project.

“It has been important to first determine his position before determining next steps,” said Hansen, whose district includes Muskegon County.

The Little River Band has been seeking the necessary approval from the state over the last two years for the proposed $100 million casino-centered development in Muskegon County’s Fruitport Township. The tribe said it still wants the project to move forward.

Former Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed an amendment in March 2010 allowing for the off-reservation casino, but it didn’t get needed approval from the state legislature by the end of the 2010 session. Other federal approval also would be needed.

The proposed development by the Little River Band also would include stores and hotels. The tribe already operates a casino in Manistee.