Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Fire Fighters and Local Residents have concerns about Bay Mills Casino Plans in Flint Township

Bay Mills to Flint Township: 'Let's work out a deal'

By Kristen Abraham - bio | email

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FLINT TOWNSHIP (WJRT) - (10/03/11) - Plans to bring more economic development to Genesee County could include a casino. The Bay Mills Indian Community owns 28 acres north of Genesee Valley Center near Lennon and Dutcher Roads and have yet to determine what they plan to do with the property.

Tribe President Jeff Parker said it could be anything from a casino to a charter school. "The tribe has the opportunity to engage in all kinds of economic development and those jobs would be open to anybody."

Bay Mills has two casino resorts in Brimley, which is the Upper Peninsula, 25 miles west of Sault Saint Marie. Through a land settlement act, the tribe bought property in Flint Township and up north in Vanderbilt. [See Map]

But Bay Mills is trying to settle a lawsuit challenging whether an off-reservation casino can be built there. "The status of the land today is it's Indian lands, the question is it legible for gaming, we will see. But that doesn't mean tribes don't bring specific opportunities to local areas," Parker said.

Ken Berg of Flint Township lives in a subdivision across the street from the tribal property. "What happens to our property values, what happens to the crime rate, they're not concerned about that. They want the money," he said. "I'm concerned that they can say something, and they don't have to follow it because they arn't governed by the same laws we are."

Bay Mills wants to work out an arrangement with the township for Police and Fire protection. Firefighter Kevin Clary isn't sold on the idea. "Everything that came out of their mouth basically was, 'it's our land, we're going to do what we want do.' We are just here saying 'hey this is what we would like you to do.'"

But not everyone opposes a gaming facility. Ed Linn thinks a casino would be a good investment for the community. "I won't have to go Vegas or Atlantic City, I can hop on my bike and go gamble."

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