The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians held a grand opening ceremony on Monday but it wasn’t for its new $400 million Four Winds South Bend casino. Both the grand opening and flag-raising ceremonies were held to commemorate the Dowagiac-based tribe’s new tribal police substation which will service the 166-acre site and on it the new 175,000 square foot casino and a tribal village.
Responsible for maintaining law and order on its property, the tribe’s 4,600 square foot police substation on Prairie Avenue will be staffed by a lieutenant, a detective, two sergeants and eight police officers, according to the South Bend Tribune. The strong law enforcement presence will serve the 166-acre site located on South Bend’s southwest side that was placed in trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) on November 18, 2016.
During the gathering, attended by members of local police agencies and elected officials, Pokagon Band Chairman John Warren said, “This goes to show that tribes and other governments can get along and do great things together,” according to the South Bend newspaper.
After announcing detailed plans regarding its proposed Four Winds South Bend casino on December 7, 2016, the Tribe held a topping out ceremony in July this year which saw the final steel beam placed on what will be upon completion the first tribal casino in the state of Indiana.
Slated to be operational as early as January, the 55,000 square foot casino will feature 1,800 video and slot machines, a player’s lounge, six restaurants, three bars, a retail store and an enclosed parking structure.
The South Bend casino will be bigger than the Four Winds casinos in Dowagiac and Hartford but not as big as the New Buffalo casino, which boasts a 140,000 square foot casino floor.
Depending on the success of the casino, future plans could include a hotel, nightclub and event center. Meanwhile, the development’s adjoining tribal village will reportedly include housing for tribal members.
The ceremony also recognized a new collaboration between St. Joseph County Police and tribal police that will reportedly facilitate housing both tribal and non-tribal members who are arrested on the tribal land in the county jail.
The South Bend Tribune reports that under the 10-year agreement, for each inmate housed in the jail, the tribe will pay $60 per day to cover medical expenses. The agreement between the law enforcement agencies was approved by the County Board of Commissioners earlier this month. The office of Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill will reportedly consider it for final approval in the near future.