Little River Casino Resort is Making a Big Impact

Little River Band of Ottawa Indians invests in Muskegon County.

By
Livability
On Thursday, May 13, 2021 - 12:55
muskegon lakeshore

A resort with style and built to withstand a global pandemic. That’s the goal for the new Little River Casino Resort in Muskegon. 

According to Larry Romanelli, the Ogema/Chief and CEO of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, the new casino resort is set to become the crown jewel of Muskegon County. 

While it will mirror its Manistee predecessor in style, amenities and service, the new resort – which is located on an 86-acre former horse racing track – promises to be close to twice its size. 

muskegon lakeshore
Courtesy of Little River Casino Resort

Designed With Purpose 

“When it’s built, we can widen the aisles a little more and space the machines differently,” Romanelli says of the gambling area. “We already have our air filtration and social distancing in better shape. It will be one of the first pandemic-friendly casino resorts in the country.”

Comfortable and inviting spaces inside the Manistee resort and new Muskegon resort are a hallmark of the casinos’ design. When guests aren’t gambling, they can enjoy attractive lounging areas such as the winter garden in the Little River Casino Resort, complete with a 30-foot-tall fireplace. Other amenities include spacious event centers, spa treatments and multiple and diverse dining options. 

“The community has given us their support – from the schools, the unions, the labor market, businesses and just the community as a whole.” 

Larry Romanelli, Ogema/Chief and CEO of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and Little River Casino Resorts 

And while the new Muskegon resort will be larger than its counterpart in Manistee, it isn’t monopolizing the hospitality marketplace. 

“We’re only building 220 hotel rooms when the casino could bring in enough business for 600 rooms,” Romanelli says. “We want to be a good partner and give the rest to the community so that they can thrive. We could also bring in more dining, but we want to share that as well.” 

muskegon lakeshore
Courtesy of Little River Casino Resort

A Welcoming Community 

Romanelli says this generous spirit has made for a warm welcome from Muskegon County. The new casino resort is projected to generate up to 3,000 jobs and $15 million in tax revenue. 

“The community has given us their support – from the schools, the unions, the labor market, businesses and just the community as a whole,” Romanelli adds. 

And he expects the enthusiasm to continue as the resort is projected to begin construction in 2021 and open some 24 months later in 2023. 

muskegon lakeshore
Courtesy of Little River Casino Resort

The Little River Band is also behind a $200 million housing community development called Odeno, which means “a place of many hearts.” This project is now in phase two of a five-phase plan to build 300 to 400 homes a short distance from the proposed casino. These legacy projects sustain the ancestry of this area from one generation to the next. 

“It’s really exciting to help with these projects going forward,” Romanelli says. “As chief of the tribe, I can trace my ancestry back to the original treaties that became Michigan. We’ve always been here, and we are investing back in this area.” 

Learn more at Little River Casino Resort