An indian tribe based out of Sault Ste. Marie filed applications Tuesday with the U.S. Department of the Interior with hopes to acquire land in Huron Township and Lansing.
According to a statement, The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa hopes to turn the land near I-275 and Sibley Roads into a gaming location.
Sault Tribe Chairperson Aaron Payment said that the 71-acre Huron Township land is a “perfect casino location.”
“The land already includes a large, unfinished building that could easily be converted to gaming use and tribal offices,” Payment said.
The scope of the gaming project in Huron Township will be determined by an economic impact study currently underway, according to Payment.
The Michigan Land Claims Settlement Act, which was passed by Congress in 1997, requires that the U.S. Secretary of the Interior approve trust land applications.
The act states that “any lands acquired using amounts from interest or other income of the self-sufficiency funds shall be held in trust by the Secretary for the benefit of the Tribe.”
The Sault Tribe plans to use revenues from its “self-sufficiency fund,” to purchase the lands.
“The law is clear: the secretary is required to accept these parcels in trust,” said Payment.
“Our Tribe is within federal law and our legal rights to pursue these opportunities to create thousands of new jobs and generate millions of dollars in new revenues that will benefit our members, the people of Lansing, public school students in Lansing, the people of Huron Township, and the entire state.”
A separate, 125,000 square foot site in Lansing would be the location of a new $245 million gaming resort. That site includes land near Michigan Avenue and North Cedar Street, adjacent to the Lansing Center – the city’s convention and events facility.
The Lansing center should create 1,500 permanent jobs and 700 constriction jobs.
The tribe did not state any specific job information for the Huron Township site.
While legal challenges have been somewhat of a nuisance to the projects, recent court developments have cleared the way for the tribe to file the necessary applications.