South Bend, Pokagon Band Detail 'Historic' Agreements

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John Warren is chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. John Warren is chairman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.

Two new agreements between the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and the City of South Bend represent another step in a planned $400 million development. The band is proposing a tribal village and Four Winds Casino on a 166-acre site in the city. The agreements, called historic by Mayor Pete Buttigieg, involve sewer and water connections and payments in lieu of property taxes.

The band says the latter, which still needs approval of the South Bend Common Council, could net the city between $1 million and more than $2 million annually, depending on the number of games at the proposed casino. The funds would come from two percent of net wins at the casino. Half would go toward non-sewer and water services from the city and half will support the South Bend Redevelopment Commission.

The Pokagon Band Tribal Council and the Pokagon Gaming Authority Board of Directors have both approved the agreements.

Pokagon Band Chairman John Warren says "we believe that the local agreement and the water and sewer agreement establish important understandings between our governments that will serve as a bridge to greater cooperation and economic opportunity for Pokagon Citizens, the City of South Bend and area residents."

Buttigieg says "it is extraordinary to reach an agreement that will not only support the economy, but also provide much needed funding for community projects, local organizations and our schools. I would like to thank Chairman Warren, the Pokagon Tribal Council, and the Pokagon Gaming Authority Board of Directors for this generous agreement."

A Draft Environmental Impact Statement of the band's federal land trust application is currently under review by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Construction cannot move forward without BIA approval.

The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians covers six counties in northern Indiana, four in southwest Michigan and provides housing, education, family services, medical care and cultural preservation services for approximately 5,000 citizens. It owns three Four Winds Casinos in Michigan.

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