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      Construction continues for new gas station

      Work is underway for the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community gas station in Marquette township. The project broke ground when it was approved by the township last fall.

      After a long winter, construction for the new Ojibwa Express Convenience is well under way.

      Now petroleum tanks are in the ground and workers are finishing up the installation.

      "Aanikoosing board of directors are very excited to be working on this project. We hope the folks in Marquette County are anxious for us to get here. We can't wait to have the doors open," said Anthony Rabitaille, Chairman of Aanikoosing, Inc..

      The gas station will be located on the south side of U.S 41. It's being owned and operated by Aanikoosing Incorporated, which is part of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

      They feel it will benefit their members and people in the community.

      "The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, has many tribal members residing in Marquette. Along with that this is a fantastic corridor many businesses are in here. This particular side of the road doesn't have any gas stations on from Negaunee all the way to south Marquette. So, it's a prime location," Rabitaille said.

      Ojibwa Express Convenience will be operating just like every other gas station.

      They will be subject to the same state taxes, rules and regulations. So, it won't be offering gas and other products at a deeply discounted rate like the Pines in Baraga.

      "The tribal government would need to request through the Bureau of Indian Affairs that the land be placed in trust with the United States government for the benefit of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. And, they have not made that request," said Gregg Nominelli, project developer.

      A new gas station in a rapidly developing township continues to promote more development.

      The property used to be vacant and under-performing, so for the township this is a win.

      "You have a 1.2 million dollar development. The county, the schools, the township all get a portion of those taxes. So, any time you can add taxable value in a sustainable way to the community, that's a good thing," said Jason McCarthy, Marquette Township planner.

      Now, even though the land is not in trust, they could potentially try to acquire it in trust in the future.

      They are planning to have the gas station completed and operational by late summer early fall.