Randy Maiers: Supreme Court casino ruling can neither make or break us

In the near future, the U.S. Supreme Court will issue a ruling that will significantly affect the likelihood of a casino at Port Huron’s Desmond Landing. I’m no legal expert, so let’s just agree the ruling either will be a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down for our casino.

I’m not going to argue for or against the casino. My opinion doesn’t matter.

What matters is the day after the ruling, all of our stakeholders, partners, friends, businesses and involved citizens need to continue pressing forward and continue our efforts at growing our regional prosperity.

Some people think a decision against the casino is the worst thing that could happen to us. Well, it isn’t. This fight has been going on for more than a decade now, and somehow we’ve survived and are seeing a new sense of optimism.

No, the worst result from the Supreme Court ruling, either way, is that we all just stop and fall into our old habits of doing nothing.

If the court rules in our favor, our struggles are not over. A casino by itself will not save or resurrect some vision of Port Huron that you might have.

A casino would be a nice addition to a growing list of real investments taking place right now. But there actually has been too much speculation about the casino, speculation that only stunted our growth in the early part of the past decade.

Too many outside investors snapped up buildings with no plans or ambition to develop them because they thought they could get rich when the casino came. That era and its results were not good for us.

The new Hilton hotel, Baker College of Port Huron’s new Culinary Institute and the Blue Water Area Convention Center didn’t happen because of a potential casino. They happened because our region has turned a corner ,and there is hope of new prosperity.

If we get the green light on a new casino we still need to be thrilled that people such as Dennis and Janne Doyle are investing in a new brewery at the former Quay Street restaurant. They could have chosen Traverse City or Mackinac Island or Grand Rapids, but they didn’t.

We need to continue to support the efforts of the Young Professionals group as it strives to enhance the experience of walking along the Black River. We need to recognize the significance of the growing number of lofts and apartments in our downtown. We need to continue our focus on quality of place, which is attracting investors from the west side of Michigan.

A favorable court ruling won’t magically transform our region. A casino rejection won’t doom us, either.

Sometime soon, we’ll get an answer. The day after that ruling, I’m not going to spend any of my time crying or celebrating. There are too many other exciting projects in varying phases of development.

The Community Foundation of St. Clair County is directly involved in several. For others, we are cheerleaders. With or without a casino, we will collectively determine the prosperity of our region for the next decade.

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