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Burt Lake Band plan $125 million casino in Sturgis

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February 12, 2009

STURGIS, MI - The Burt Lake Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians met with Sturgis commissioners Wednesday to present their proposal for a casino. About 650 people attended the meeting to hear the plan and express their opinions.

The project includes a casino, a 400-room hotel, restaurants, a truck stop, and a retail center. The proposed site is 200 vacant acres at the southeast quadrant of Bogen Road and M-66, south of Sturgis' city limits. Total cost would be $125 million to $150 million.

The audience applauded the tribal chairman of the Burt Lake Band when he finished the presentation, and hopes for employment opportunities become the primary topic of conversation afterwards. It was estimated that 2,000 permanent jobs would be created.

The timeline for starting construction is years away. The Burt Lake Band are a state-recognized tribe, but they must gain federal recognition as the first step. Then they can submit an application to the U.S. Department of Interior to take the land into federal trust for the purpose of building the casino. If granted, the land will have the sovereignty rights needed to proceed. The final step is to negotiate a gaming compact with the state and have it ratified by the state senate.

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