Lansing
10:17 pm
Wed March 7, 2012

Could the Lansing city council delay a vote on a controversial casino project? Maybe

Some Lansing city council members seem inclined to delay a vote on a proposed casino project.

The Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians wants to build a casino next to Lansing’s downtown convention center.

The city council is scheduled to vote on the proposal this month.  But the tribe is scheduling a referendum among its members in 60 days.    That has some council members questioning why they have to vote now. 

Tribal Chairman Joe Eitrem says he’s not worried about a possible delay in the city council’s vote. 

"It may put the project back a little bit," says Eitrem, "But no…it’s not going to kill it.’  

The city council vote is intended to help meet an August 1st deadline for the tribe to file paperwork with the federal government.   But an attorney for the tribe says that August 1st deadline was something the city pushed for  "to put the tribe's feet to the fire" to get the project moving forward. 

A public meeting last night drew a large crowd, mostly opposed to the casino project.

A parade of casino critics warned the project would bring increased crime, prostitution and addiction to the capitol city. 

Mayor Virg Bernero spoke at the beginning of last night's meeting.  He says the casino will bring hundreds of jobs and fund a scholarship program for Lansing school children.