Hope Floats: Hackel Wants Waterfront Casino For Macomb

MACOMB COUNTY (WWJ) – Want to go camping in Macomb County? Sorry, there is no campground.  How about staying in a luxury hotel on the beach of Lake St. Clair?  It doesn’t exist.

Canoeing on the Clinton River? Limited access.  Lots of debris.  Swimming at local beaches? Yuck.

But all of that could change if Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel has his way.

Hackel tells WWJ’s Roberta Jasina in an exclusive interview that it’s time to roll the dice (literally) to jumpstart economic development.  Hackel says he envisions a brand new, privately owned marina-casino on Lake St. Clair.

“Can you imagine the opportunities for something like that? We would blow everything else out of the water.” 

Hackel says he is now asking the locals “Who wants that opportunity?” He says: “Can you imagine the summertime events that could be put on by having a marina casino? It would truly transform that lakefront.”

He says he’d like part of the money generated by a casino to be used for cleaning up Lake St. Clair.
Hackel also says he’s mystified by the fact that there is not one hotel along the entire lakefront in Macomb County.

“Why is that?” he asks.  “That is the busiest freshwater lake in the entire country during the summer months, and we don’t even have one hotel.  It doesn’t make sense.”
Hackel says his administration is also working now to get grant money to remove tons of woody debris from the Clinton River (which he calls Macomb County’s Main Stream/Main Street).

He envisions privately owned canoe liveries popping up, along with riverfront campgrounds.  (Macomb County is the only county in the state of Michigan without a public campground.)
Some local residents don’t like the casino idea.

One man who spoke with WWJ’s Roberta Jasina along North River Road (he wanted to remain anonymous) says he is against any Macomb County casino. Period.

“The only reason they’d open a casino is for the money. I’m not a gambler, so I don’t need one.”

Joe Ramsey of Sterling Heights agrees. “No, we don’t need any casinos. People who go to casinos have a problem losing money.  That‘s a bad idea.”
Other county residents congratulate Hackel.  Enthusiastically.

“If there’s a casino, they’ll come,” says Mike Sopha. “I think it’d be a great idea that would bring a lot of money to Macomb County.”
Another resident, Tracy Peltier says “I’ve lived here for 40 years.  We need something on this waterfront.  Get rid of this rubbish.  It’d be great.”

“A casino would be nice,” adds Lawrence Vaughter.
A group of “20-somethings” were also eager to jump on Hackel’s casino bandwagon.

K.B. Brasure says “I think it would bring a lot of business in, and I think a lot of people would go.  For sure.”

Her (anonymous) friend tells WWJ, “It would make Macomb more fun, more happening.”

Dylan Rhodes says, “I think it’s a great idea. Good for business.”

– Roberta Jasina 

More from Roberta Jasina
  • Josephine Carleton

    I have lived on and around this lake all my life and I love it. I believe
    this is a fabulous idea. This has always been a resort area but now it needs to update and expand. I go to the casinos and have to drive to them. I am a senior citizen and I love the idea of the many advantages this idea would bring to the Mt. Clemens area. It would be advantages to this area from Mt.Clemens
    to Port Huron. It would be great for all the busineses in the area. Make me part of it. I am happy to suppor this endeaver.

  • Dave

    great more trash to casinos. Just like Detroit…it’s soo sad.

  • Rob

    Bringing in a casino to Macomb County would be like casting a fishing pole for trash. Yes, it will bring in revenue, but at what cost? It’s not worth it. Keep the casinos and the trash in Detroit, where it belongs.

    • Greg

      So I guess you will be staying in Detroit after all. Huh Rob? You filthy trash.

      • rob

        Impressive. How long did it take you to come up with that brilliant retort? Did I hit a nerve? Now everyone knows where you live, lol.

  • Tom W.

    I’ve never been a big fan of Hackels, but I think he’s on to something here.
    Especially if it means more public access to our beautiful lake.
    It truly is sad at the lack of access available to the public.
    We could take a lesson from Canada here, where a good portion of the waterfront is open to public use.
    Using a part of the proceeds to fund more access & to keep our lake clean would get my vote !

  • Dr. Wu

    Perhaps all the unemployed police and fire personnel can work on the construction….. Better yet, figure out a way to just put them back to work to where they can make a difference vs. building a gambling facility for the unemployed.

  • elmor

    more crimes for macomb. people will rob to have money to gamble.

  • Kevin

    I would agree with some parks but I think we should get our lakes back in better condition. People still go but not like they use to.
    Casinos we have enough of 30 minutes away either direction. They are not the answer.
    We need to move some biz. back in we have a lot of empty buildings at present we will soon look like The city of Detroit.
    How about a airport, yea right. Anything but Casino’s.

  • Jeff G.

    A wafertfront that is not developed (in some way) to bring in tourism dollars is an unfortunate waste of an opportunity> Water has the natural ability to draw people and it seems that SE Michigan is missing the boat. A casino may not be the answer, but campgrounds, hotels, ect. should be seriously considered.

  • Paul Getejanc

    Bass you Mr. Hackel, great idea, to have Campground, in Macomb County. I am an RVer and would be great Oportunity,

  • Kathy

    A family friendly waterfront waterpark is long overdue

  • Jack Martin

    Good luck getting a casino anywhere that the Detroit politicians don’t want…Port Huron has been trying for years – and its always blocked by those in Detroit. They won’t stand for the competition.

    Maybe camping/RV park and hotels might pass though…

  • Gary

    Hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, unique tourist marketed shops and restaurants, cleaning up the river and lake, canoe livery and campgrounds, maybe one of those on the water putt putt courses, opening up the waterfront for beaches or public access, fine all for it. But a casino, absolutely not. We don’t need more crime and beligerent drunks in the area.

  • Rhett

    I think it’s a real good idea. Then his dad wouldn’t have to travel so far to rape a young woman.

    • Watchman2011

      Rhett is slime ball, for hidding behind a computer, prettttty brave aren’t you :0

      • Watchman2011

        Rhett is a slime ball, correction

        thank you

  • lvs

    I think Mr. Hackel’s family should be left out of this conversation. They are good people.
    A Casino on the water is a great way to bring the boaters and people from surrounding states and areas into Macomb County. If you don’t like to gamble it’s simple, don’t go. If you can not control your gambling, get help. Mr. Hackel you are at least throwing out ideas to make Macomb County a richer community and I think it’s great. If this doesn’t work, something else wil and I’m sure you will find it.

    • Kathy

      Ivs I totally agree with you bravo!!!!!! Mr. Hackel I think it is a wonderful idea!!!!!!

  • dave

    casinos have proved to cause a SURPLUS of CRIME…and get rich richer. THEY DO NOTHING GOOD. It’s all a facade. What have they done for DETROIT…just buy time.

    • Blade

      proved? Cite your sources. No one can cite any proof of this, because it’s untrue.

    • steve

      i thnk its a great idea. just look what its done for the city of detroit. look at all of the increased commercial and residential activity that has happened since the casinos have been in place. the population has exploded and everything is so neat and clean. oh wait…..never mind.

    • Mr. MOVE NOW

      Yes, like Detroit’s success exactly. A facade to show how delusional these people are. Like the Roman empire, they continue to build great structures and give money to the Government, The working class continues to feel the squeeze. This is the Commissioners great plan? Whats next a 5 million dollar Batman light signal?

  • Jim Moran

    It’s ironic that Hackel sees the Clinton River as an asset when for the last 50 years the county has trashed it thoroughly with over-development and the ensuing poisonous run-off and sewage overflows that have rendered the beaches un-useable

  • john leonard


  • Elaine

    Dave, I go to the MGM Casino. That makes me “trash”? Who are you to call people trash?

    We are campers, also, and the county sorely needs campgrounds.

  • Jinx

    It’s a phenomenal idea! I came from Ohio where their north coast is full of places to enjoy Lake Erie from eateries to beaches, hotels, fishing spots, piers, parks. They use the land for the people to enjoy. Here there is no such thing. I moved here 4 years ago and one of the saddest things for me is that I live one mile from a lake that I cannot enjoy. There will not be any degenerates from a high class casino, no more than there are now! Look out your windows people! We need jobs and economic growth in Macomb County. There are people everywhere losing their homes, becoming statistics, in welfare lines, or homeless shelters. Unemployment depleted and cannot find work. The teenagers can’t even work fast food for the older people having to take there coveted jobs! Let’s get behind this idea and make it happen! Our future can no longer rely on the automotive industry! !

    • Michele Gumm

      I agree Jinx…I am all for whatever it takes to put Macomb County on the map..as long as my taxes don’t go up!!

  • Terrence

    @ Rob. So why do you think all trash belongs in Detroit? Trash belongs in the garbage, period. You think that your place of residence is that posh, in Macomb county…lol! Ignorance breeds ignorance and until we all recognize that as Detroit goes, so does the region we will continue to beduped by idiots like you!!! You probably voted for Snyder also!!!

    • Rob

      You are correct, Terrence. Trash belongs in the garbage. Detroit is one gigantic garbage dumpster. I had the joy of visiting there this weekend. Oh, what a lovely stroll it was through the streets of Greektown. All the derelicts were out in their Sunday best, shouting obscenity laced insults at people as they walk by. There were bums scattered here and there blocking the sidewalk, peddling for pocket change. How exciting it was to witness the street performers, a mime dressed in gold and a man blowing air into a saxophone in an attempt to create music (Too bad Simon Cowell was not available). Oh, please do sign me up. We need some culture out here in the ‘burbs. There’s clearly not enough out here in Macomb County, we definitely need to bring it north…………

  • Blade

    Alright, well, I appreciate the non-approval of any comment that tells actual truth about the situation.

    (regarding a comment I left earlier that was not approved)

    Casinos do not inherently cause problems. Detroit was on it’s way to ruin well before any casinos ever appeared there. New Jersey wasn’t ruined by casinos, Las Vegas was created by casinos, and none of the other places where casinos have been have been destroyed by their casinos.

    People who are opposed to the creation of thousands of jobs and new 7 digit tax incomes in their areas need to look and see what’s really important to the rest of the people around them — i’ll give them a hint. It’s not blindly following whatever you believe peopel shouldn’t do.

    • Mr. MOVE NOW

      MARK HACKEL’S FATHER RAPED A WOMAN AT A CASINO / HOTEL IN MICHIGAN. YES THAT IS A FACT!…………….Casinos DO attract crime, especially in poor economic areas.

  • RotaryDialMan

    I think it’s a wonderful idea. Macomb County can certainly use the development and income it would generate. I would welcome another casino/entertainment option locally that doesn’t involve having to go to downtown Detroit. If managed properly it potentially could enclude not only the hotel, casino and marina, but a beach and camping area for everyone to enjoy. Don’t criticize would could be the best thing to possibly come along for Macomb County in a very long time. Go for it Mr. Hackel !!

    • Blade

      A true Vegas style casino, that isn’t entirely about 100% games and slots, would be very welcome anywhere in Michigan, I’d think. FireKeepers is almost there, I’ve heard, but it’s not quite an attraction really for much other than the gaming yet. MotorCity casino has some concerts, but other than that, it’s no draw at all for anything but gaming. Yes, gaming probably makes the casinos far more money than anything else, however they really should try to put things in that draw people who aren’t coming in for the games. It worked in Vegas, it’ll work elsewhere. But the casinos seem to have forgotten how it is that they made Vegas the #1 tourist destination in the world.

  • steve

    what happens in vegas stays in vegas. it will not happen here. it just wont. stop already with your wishing it so.

  • Shores Mike

    Watch out! Looks like Ted Wahby has already got into Hackel. BEWARE!

  • Christine A. Grice

    I go along with cleaning the lake and building a campgound or a public boating area, a hotel, bed and breakfast…all that Mark Hackel suggested except NO CASINO. I’ll drive the 1/2 hour to go to MGM Casino. Even a Water Works Park wuld be great if space allows!

    • Blade

      Fair enough. But, would a hotel alone bring in any business from people?

  • Mr. MOVE NOW


    • Blade

      Well, we’re fed up with inbred rednecks who can’t figure out how to turn off their caps lock button, spell, or form a single grammatically correct sentence larger than two words. Get out of our state, and let the big boys deal with cleaning up the mess you people have left.

      • MR. MOVE NOW

        WELL BLADE, You have no idea who I am or what I do. I have not contributed to ANY mess in this state. I type in caps lock for visibility, Duh! Yes he raped a woman while his wife was sleeping in the hotel section of a Casino. Oh Blade you are such a big man. Are you a business owner in Michigan? I’m speaking facts and I’m not a redneck. Besides people in southern states have whole lot nicer environment then we do. Now go tie your boat up at Jobbienooner and contribute to water pollution, gay BLADE!

  • http://botd.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/top-posts-1787/ Top Posts — WordPress.com

    […] Hope Floats: Hackel Wants Waterfront Casino For Macomb MACOMB COUNTY (WWJ) – Want to go camping in Macomb County? Sorry, there is no campground.  How about staying in a […] […]

  • kevin k

    i dont understand why bell isl istn a party spot like put in bay! hotels marinas bars cusinos..pools..and tons of people amd money flyin everywhere..golf golf carts camping…museum..thi list goes on!!

  • Jean Guddeck-Gibson

    This is a wonderful idea!! I would love to see a casino, hotels, restaurants along the waterfronts in Harrison Township and Mt. Clemens. It’s about time someone thought of beautifying the area. Water property is always prime. Go Mr. Hackel.

  • http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2011/06/21/hackel-still-pushing-for-macomb-county-waterfront-casino/ Hackel Still Pushing For Macomb County Waterfront Casino « CBS Detroit

    […] Read more here. Share this article No comments // […]

  • Hryhoriy

    Agreed! Keep the trash in Detroit – right where it belongs. Otherwise, property values will certainly implode.

    • Eric Blade

      Apparently Hryhoriy can remain with all the trash outside of Detroit.

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