On Tuesday and again on Wednesday the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC) held ceremonies and broke ground on casino expansion and improvement projects in the upper Peninsula region of Michigan.
Renovations for the Ojibwa Casino in Baraga and the Ojibwa II in Marquette were announced in a November press release and groundbreaking went off on the dates planned. In August the KBIC approved the projects by ballot measure in a referendum authorizing $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 most 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.
This will be the first renovation for the Marquette facility since it opened and will include a hotel with 80 rooms, three restaurants, a 1,200 seat entertainment facility, new 400 seat conference center, and a gaming expansion bringing the total number of slots to 500.
Local media outlet The Mining Journal spoke with Marquette facility General Manager Don Wren who told them “Every leader that I’ve talked to within the community here spoke about the lack of convention space. So now we’re giving them a place to come and stay, we’re giving them a place for conventions, we’re giving them a place for entertainment, and we’re giving them a spectacular casino,” Wren said.
The Ojibwa Casino in Baraga will also see improvements with $6.5 million invested. Both projects are scheduled for completion by early September 2018.