Ground broken in Baraga Project

Published: Dec. 7, 2016 at 5:15 PM EST
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One day after the Obijwa Casino in Marquette broke ground on their new project, the one in Baraga followed suit.

More than 50 people gathered on this frigid Wednesday morning to begin the fourteen month project.

"The purpose of the groundbreaking ceremony is to raise excitement here in the community about what we're doing," said KBIC President Warren Swartz Jr.

This moment has been a long time in the making for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. For well over ten years, previous tribal councils have dreamt of expanding their casinos into this $40 million combined project between Marquette and Baraga. They decided to expand on their current locations once the former Marquette airport destination was rejected.

"Take advantage of the Marquette area and the marketing environment area in Marquette," continued Swartz. "So this has been a combination of a number of councils that wanted to move this dream forward."

The Ojibwa Casino in Baraga will receive a much needed face-lift and some infrastructure upgrades such as a new HyVac system to better purify the air.

"We're going to have brand new games. It'll be a brand new experience," said Ojibwa Casinos GM Don Wren. "It's really going to be a real upgrade, not only for the facility and the employees but for our guests and for the community, so we're really excited about it."

The Ojibwa Casino in Baraga is planning on adding over 100 new slot machines and several other table games. The brand new facility is slated for opening February of 2018.

Other improvements include doubling the size of the casino floor and constructing a new bar and remodeling the Press Box Bar and Grill. The $6.5 million project in Baraga will also boost the local economy by providing additional jobs at the facility which plans on truly making it a groundbreaking project.