CHANGES IN THE expansion plans at the Ojibwa Casino in Harvey.
Construction is moving ahead to build an all-new casino and and concert venue, but plans for a 76 room hotel and a convention space have been pushed back for at least a year, maybe more.
The rebuilt casino, in fact, will now be larger than at first planned, with two restaurants and a lounge for live entertainment. The concert venue will hold 1200 people. Not big enough for Beyonce or Blake Shelton maybe, but enough to draw some second and third tier talent.
Likely opening for the new casino and concert venue is January 2020, which is a few months earlier than originally planned. The hotel and convention hall would follow a year or more later.
So why the delay for the hotel and convention space? General Manager Don Wren says Ojibwa wants to focus on the local market first–expand their appeal to the people in Marquette and Alger Counties, before focusing on the downstate and out-of-state tourists.
But Wren concedes that the casino industry is changing. “It’s not just about gaming anymore,” he says. “People these days are looking for a resort experience with more attractions.”
In other words, concerts, spas, restaurants, lounge entertainment, convention space, outdoor recreation. Ojibwa currently has an arrangement for its guests to play at the nearby NMU golf course but Wren says they haven’t fully capitalized on it yet.
Bottom line, he expects the Ojibwa Casino, which to this point has been a modest little attraction with limited appeal, to become a much bigger player in the UP tourist industry in the years ahead.
AN ABRUPT ANNOUNCEMENT AT Spectrum Reach, the Marquette subsidiary for Spectrum that sells local cable and digital advertising throughout the UP.
A Green Bay official walked into the office on Washington Street Wednesday morning and told employees that the office was shutting down as of today (Friday). Downsizing. Five employees were suddenly jobless. No prior notice.
Welcome to the corporate world.
The employees are hoping and expecting to get some severance pay.
As for their advertising clients, many were calling in over the last two days wondering what the shutdown meant for their accounts. “Business as usual,” according to a Spectrum manager.
Well, not quite, but that’s the way big businesses operate. The manager did say that the local sales manager, Kedron Thomas, still has a job in Marquette and he’ll be the point man for any concerns from clients. He just won’t have much help here.
The Negaunee office for Spectrum (aka Charter) remains open for Spectrum subscribers. No change expected there.
THE LATEST ON Room at the Inn, the folks who are taking care of the homeless in Marquette.
They’re getting together at Peter White Public Library Tuesday, 7 pm to give an update on progress to find a new, permanent facility for the homeless.
Also, to address concerns of the police and the merchants. There are plenty of misconceptions, according to Doug Russell, the executive director of Room at the Inn.
It’s been a hot topic for the last year or two–some folks believing Marquette is encouraging the homeless to settle here, others believing we’re not doing nearly enough to help people in need.
Russell is hoping the skeptics, the critics, and all concerned citizens will show up on Tuesday to gather information and clear the air.
You got news? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org