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6-month extension on Muskegon County casino project approved

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Posted at 7:02 PM, Dec 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-17 13:09:05-05

FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The Department of the Interior has approved Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s request for a half-year extension on a Fruitport Township casino project, the DOI confirmed with FOX 17 on Thursday.

Dec. 16 was the deadline for the extension to be approved, or else the project would have ended.

The office of state Rep. Terry Sabo (D–Muskegon) says the project, proposed by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, includes a 70,000-square-foot game floor and a hotel with 220 rooms.

The project is expected to create as many as 3,000 jobs and draw two million visitors each year.

READ MORE: Supporters rally for Whitmer to approve casino project in Fruitport Twp.

“Ever since day one, we knew that an extension was a possibility,” writes Sabo. “I have had numerous conversations with Gov. Whitmer about the casino in which she and her team have expressed the enormous legal complexity of the issue.

“While the Republican-controlled Michigan House of Representatives has already formally passed a resolution of opposition, Gov. Whitmer has not,” Sabo adds. “She is instead looking over the issue in its entirety, and I remain optimistic that this project […] will soon come to fruition.”

Friday, Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Tribal Ogema Larry Romanelli issued a statement on the approval of the six-month extension.

“I received a phone call yesterday afternoon from the Department of Interior notifying us that the six-month extension has been granted. Governor Whitmer now has until June 16, 2022 to approve our proposed Casino in Fruitport Township. While the Tribe and the community are disappointed that she did not approve our casino, we understand she has been focused on navigating the pandemic and other critical issues. Over the next six months, we will continue to work with the community to show the positive impact and importance this project will have on jobs, tourism, convention business, and the local economy. And we are confident in her final approval."

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