The area has something to celebrate. Two construction projects here have brought a wave of good economic news.
Tuesday, the Island Resort and Casino announced a $2 million project to expand and renovate its current convention center.
Several weeks ago, Escanaba School District voters approved a $21.6 million bond proposal for renovation of the 50-year-old high school, along with improvements to Webster, Lemmer and Soo Hill Elementary Schools.
Together, these two projects will brings jobs, tourists and an economic boost to our area during a time when it is badly needed.
The convention center is a response to the demand to hold more meetings, trade shows, conferences and social functions at the Island Resort and Casino. When it is finished, the development will extend the center's current square footage from 9,500 to more than 17,400. The present seating capacity of 350 will increase to 836. The project will also allow for concurrent events. Preliminary construction is expected to start in mid-July with completion expected by April 2011.
The impact the convention center expansion will have locally is tremendous. Initially, there will be construction jobs, along with supplies and services purchased from local businesses.
Once completed, the expanded center may offer more employment opportunities for local residents. It will also draw more people and events than ever before to the area - another boost to the local economy.
Work is beginning this month on renovations at Escanaba High School and other schools covered under the Escanaba School District's $21.6 million bond. In recent weeks, school officials have been busy, preparing for work to start. Plans are to complete as much work as possible before the start of the 2010-11 school year. The total project is expected to take about two and a half years to complete.
As with the convention center, this project will bring much needed employment to the area through renovation and construction jobs. Supplies will be purchased, and money will begin to flow through the local economy.
A bonus is the school project will benefit students in the Escanaba School District with much needed building improvements.
These developments are good news for the community. Let's hope there is much more to follow.