By late November, early December 2018, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community’s (KBIC) Ojibwa Casino in Chocolay Township should look completely different.

On July 6, the Chocolay Township Planning Commission gave the KBIC the green light to move forward with its $36 million project in Marquette County in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (U.P.) that’s being called the ‘U.P.’s New Must See,’ according to TV station ABC 10/CW 5.

The long awaited project will see the existing facility, located on M-28, completely renovated including doubling the casino floor, and adding two signature restaurants, a 76-room hotel, and a 1,200 square foot arena, which will be host to exciting entertainment, said Ojibwa Casinos General Manager Donald Wren.

Located near the intersection of US-41 and M-38, Ojibwa Casino Baraga is receiving more than $5 million in infrastructure updates. Included in the upgrades are new heating and cooling units and new active smoke eaters. By March 2018, the Baraga renovations should be competed.

The marketing director for both casinos, Jim Orr, said, “The idea was to completely redesign the properties and bring them into the new millennium, so there’s a much more sleeker, modern feel to the properties and at Marquette it’s a complete rebirth,” according to the news agency.

Construction will reportedly begin at Ojibwa Marquette later this summer. This phase will include the relocation of three homes which are currently located adjacent to the casino. After which time the expansion will begin.

Wren reportedly told the news agency that when the building is completed, it will be unique, “completely Ojibwa Casino.”

Orr said, “We really want it to be a shining jewel in Marquette, something that everyone is proud to come to and bring their friends and family to.” He added, “That’s what we plan on delivering.”

A target open date for the Marquette location has been set by Wren for late November, early December next year.

In August 2016, the KBIC approved the two projects by ballot measure in a referendum authorizing a total of $40 million for the projects with $6.5 million slated for Baraga and $33.5 million for their Marquette casino. This reversed funding approved in 2015 that would have seen the bulk of the money go to the Baraga project. The state’s rejection of KBIC plans to build an off-reservation casino prompted the re-apportionment decision approved by community members. In early December 2016, the KBIC held groundbreaking ceremonies on the casino expansion and improvement projects.

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