Column: Fairgrounds not just busy during Fair Week

ESCANABA — Life in the off-season at the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds is a busy one. From cleaning, plowing snow, maintenance on equipment, and preparation for the upcoming season, we are confident this summer will a great one.

Part of preparing for this year’s festivities, we applied for an Americorps NCCC team and are blessed to have been granted a team of 10 workers that will help complete phase 1 of a two-phase campground project. As part of a service project, the team will complete the relocation and expansion of 41 campsites on our newly created section of the campground. The team will work for two weeks in May on planting trees and shrubs along with other landscaping projects. Phase two includes the development of 36 additional sites and the completion of a dump station in the new camping section. This will be completed by the 2020 camping season.

We are working closely with the Department of Environmental Quality, the Delta/Menominee Public Health Department, and our Building and Grounds Committee to rework our current campground map. Our goal is to add more campsites in such a manner that will ensure the safety of all campers while maintaining compliance with Michigan Campground Rules and Regulations.

We are anxiously awaiting news from a $300,000 grant that we applied for from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Funds from this grant would bring two new shower and restroom facilities to the Fairgrounds in 2020. One would be in Pocket Park and the other in the newly created camping area.

Finally, construction on our new multi-purpose building got underway. Concrete was poured, walls went up, and this beautiful masterpiece had taken shape. We’ve had several construction update meetings to discuss the progress of the project. We are grateful for the opportunity to bring the Webster Marble’s Museum back to Delta County along with the addition of the U.P. Veteran’s Museum. These museums will be a wonderful addition to our community and an attraction for tourists.

So yes, we have been busy! These are just a few of the projects we have tackled during the off-season with many more to come throughout the year. It is exciting to think about how much these improvements will impact not only our fairground patrons, but the entire Upper Peninsula.

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Jeff Wood is facilities manager at the U.P. State Fairgrounds

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