Pokagon Band to distribute more than $180,000 from casino earnings

Published 2:40 pm Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Provided Photo

Provided Photo

In the first three months it was open, the Four Winds Casino in Dowagiac, now five months old, generated more than $9 million in revenue. A significant chunk of this money is being distributed to the Dowagiac community by the Pokagon Band.

As part of an agreement between the Pokagon Band and the State of Michigan, 2 percent of the revenue from electronic gaming at the casino is to be distributed annually. During the first fiscal period, April 30 through July 31, 2013, the 2 percent portion of the revenue totaled $183,014.07.

The ceremonial check was presented to the Pokagon Band-Dowagiac Area Local Revenue Sharing Board (LRSB) at a meeting Tuesday morning.

The LRSB is comprised of constituents in the Dowagiac community who will determine how much money will be distributed to each entity.

The five members include representatives from Pokagon Township, the City of Dowagiac, Cass County, the Pokagon Band and a revolving member.

This year’s board is made up of Linda Preston, Pokagon Township Supervisor, Donald Lyons, Mayor of Dowagiac, Bernie Williamson of the Cass County Board of Commissioners, Matthew Wesaw, the Tribal Council Chairman and Robert Colby, Superintendent of Lewis Cass Intermediate School District.

According to Paige Risser, Director of Communications for the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, the organizations receiving funding from the lump sum include Pokagon Township, Cass County, Dowagiac Union Schools, the Cass District Library, Lewis-Cass Intermediate School District, Southwestern Michigan College and the City of Dowagiac.

Lewis-Cass School District received two checks totaling $6,300 from the LRSB.

“We’re really happy to get it, without a doubt,” said Superintendent Robert Colby. “We’ll be using (the money) in our special education fund that we pay for special programing for our most severely handicapped students.”

Colby said the number of autistic students in the school district is rapidly growing, and the money is a big help.

“This was just a wonderful thing and we’re so grateful and appreciative,” said Brandi Roberts, Tech Processing and Business Manager at the Cass District Library.

Roberts said the library applied to receive part of the grant money because the library serves Pokagon Township.

Roberts received two checks totaling $2,800 on behalf of the library at the meeting Tuesday. She said she is unsure of what the library board will vote to spend it on, but one of library’s biggest needs is a new heating and air conditioning unit.