The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians announced today they have filed applications with the U.S. Department of the Interior “seeking to take land into trust” to build a new $245-million gaming resort in Lansing and another in Huron Township.
The 125,000-square-foot, Lansing facility is expected to create 1,500 permanent jobs and 700 construction jobs. Revenues will also benefit the Lansing Promise Scholarships, a program to fund four-year college scholarships for graduates of the city’s high schools.
The 71-acre package in Huron Township is also expected to serve as a gaming location, although the scope of the project has yet to be determined, tribe officials say. The land already includes a large, unfinished building that could easily be converted to gaming use and tribal offices, says Aaron Payment, chairman of the Sault Tribe.
Payment says the tribe used revenues from its “Self Sufficiency Fund” to purchase the lands, noting that Michigan Land Claims Settlement Act requires the U.S. Secretary of the Interior to approve the trust land applications.
The submission of these applications follows several developments in federal court, including a ruling last month by the U.S. Supreme Court which said the state of Michigan could not block the Bay Mills Tribe from opening a casino on land not part of its gaming compact with the state, Payment says.
Payment says that while legal challenges are likely, the tribe “remains absolutely confident in our legal theory and committed to pursuing the success of these projects.”