Government, Lakeshore, and Real Estate

Tribe plans 300-home development

July 28, 2016
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Little River Casino Resort sign
The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians owns and operates the Little River Casino Resort in Manistee. Photo via

A tribe has plans to develop a 300-home development in the region.

The development would be located on a 128-acre parcel on Sheridan Drive, just north of Mount Garfield Road, in Fruitport Charter Township, said Larry Romanelli, spokesperson for the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.

Romanelli said the development would be built in three phases.

The tribe is in the process of getting plans for the development approved by Fruitport Charter Township, with hopes of breaking ground next spring, he said.

The development would be called Odeno, which means “a place of many hearts” in the tribe’s native language, he said.

“Our goal was to work with the local community to develop a unique village that offers homes of different sizes and amenities in the area,” he said. “We believe that people will enjoy living in energy-efficient homes in a community with ponds, parks, natural areas and walkways.”

The first phase would include 115 homes on the north side of the property, Romanelli said, with the second and third phases to follow with about 100 homes each. The homes will range in size from 900 to 2,600 square feet, he said.

The housing development would be open to both the general public and tribal members, he said.

Some of the development’s features include:

  • Twenty-six percent of the land (31.4 acres) would remain open and include natural areas, parks with gazebos, wildlife corridors, water and walking trials
  • Stevens Creek runs alongside the site and would be incorporated into the development design
  • The homes would be built using the most modern energy efficiencies in their design and operation
  • Building and construction plans would include homes for those with special needs
  • Street names and common areas would honor local people and the culture of the Little River Band

“We hope to have nature trails, little ponds. We’ll try to make (the homes) energy efficient. I think that sets us apart from the other developers,” Romanelli said. “We want to use the natural settings as much as possible and make them energy efficient, building green as much as we can.”

The property is bounded by Sheridan Drive on the west, Stevens Creek to the east and between East Mount Garfield Road and East Pontaluna Road. The Manistee-based Little River tribe purchased the property from Fruitport Community Schools for $500,000 in 2015, Romanelli said.

“They really didn’t’ have use for (the property), and they also could use some money. The tribe was looking for some economic development. The schools came to the tribe and offered to sell it,” he said.

Romanelli called it a good opportunity that will benefit everyone.

“Little River is known for being able to work cooperatively. In this case, we were looking for other economic development opportunities besides the casino,” he said.

“And we think this is bringing positive economic development for the tribe, and it helps the community by putting this property back on the tax rolls.”

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