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Long-planned Lansing casino project remains in limbo

Artist's conception of proposed Lansing casino.
Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
Artist's conception of proposed Lansing casino.

Next month’s presidential election is causing some concern for those backing a proposed casino in downtown Lansing.

More than two years ago, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians asked the U.S. Interior Department to take some land in Lansing into trust for the tribe. 

The tribe wants to build a casino on land next to Lansing’s convention center, but nothing can happen until the Interior Department decided whether or not to take the land into trust.

“The Sault Ste. Marie tribe application is still in the initial stages of review,” says spokeswoman for the U.S. Interior Department Nedra Darling.

The tribe’s attorney John Wernet worries if the decision remains on hold until the next president takes office, it would result in “even more delay.”  

“Of course, we do have concern about the potential impact of a change in administration,” says Wernet. “No matter how the election turns out, it would almost certainly mean even more delay in obtaining a decision while a new administration comes up to speed on it.”

Wernet is hopeful a decision will come soon.

But other Michigan tribes remain opposed to the Lansing casino project and legal challenges are expected.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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