What Happened to Majestic Kingdom? . June 2000

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What Happened to Majestic Kingdom?

by Howard Berenbon

Don Barden,  the controversial Detroit millionaire and applicant for a casino license (once owner of Barden Cablevision in Detroit), had a good idea.  As a part of his casino license proposal in July 1998, he included an amusement park, with the help of the entertainer, Michael Jackson, called Majestic Kingdom.   The plan included a hotel and casino, with restaurants, nightclubs and also a Michael Jackson Thriller Theme Park. What a great idea!  Our own little Disneyland in Detroit.   And the river front would be a great place for a theme park for kids and adults.

Unfortunately, Barden and Jackson were denied a casino license by Detroit City Council.  Barden then organized a referendum drive to overturn the council's decision, but that failed.  On August 4, 1998, Detroiters voted down the proposal.

Don Barden and Michael Jackson did have a good idea in their casino proposal.  Detroit needs a theme park.  The only park close by, but closed a few years ago, was Boblo Island, with a fun boat ride on the Detroit River to the Canadian isle.  Now, the nearest park to Detroit is Cedar Point, in Sandusky Ohio, which is a 2 hour, 112 mile drive.  We need a theme park in Detroit for the kids, and for adults who act like kids (I admit to that, at times).  For now, nothing is being planned.

Currently, two temporary casinos have opened here in Detroit: The MotorCity Casino and MGM Grand Detroit  The third temporary casino, the Greektown Casino, is built, ready to go, and awaiting approval, but stalled due to a problem with the shareholders, Gatzaros and Papas.  They're now in the process of selling their shares.  And not too far in the near future, the Greektown Casino will open its doors.