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Column: Visit Escanaba: growth and development

ESCANABA — One of the missions of the organization, Visit Escanaba, is to help people recognize Delta County as a destination for vacationers. As we interact directly with thousands of visitors online, there is no question that people are interested in our area and want to spend time and money here.

Our county may not offer the commonly popular attractions that come to mind when you think of the Upper Peninsula. But this area has its strengths, and we believe in supporting opportunities that complement those strengths. From our waterfront parks to our incredible restaurants, small businesses, museums, facilities, trails, and central location, Delta County has a lot to offer for everyone.

One of our greatest strengths in this area is the communities themselves. Several people, businesses, and organizations have rallied together to see improvements be made to our waterfront communities. The City of Gladstone is one example, with their renovations to their downtown and enhancements made to their beach and park. This past December, The Rapid River Business Association received a massive turnout as they hosted their first-ever “Light Up the Park” Christmas light display from donated Christmas lights. The Delta County Non-Motorized Trails has made giant leaps in their plans and added a 1,000 ft. boardwalk to the Escanaba Non-Motorized Pathway and 3 miles of single-track mountain biking trails to the Days River Pathway, with more to come. The Escanaba Parks and Recreation Department has had plans in the work for improvements to be made to several parks in Escanaba in addition to their community events that they host yearly. Another example is the tremendous outpouring of support, starting with the generous contribution from the John and Melissa Besse Foundation, that resulted in the construction of the multipurpose Welcome Center on the fairgrounds. The beautiful facility houses the Webster Marble Inventing the Outdoors, U.P. Veterans and U.P. Honor Flight Legacy museums. Lastly, we can’t forget about the new waterfront hotel development taking place near Ludington Park that will drive traffic through downtown Escanaba.

We are so grateful to live in an area that is willing to make our towns better places to live, work, and play. Visit Escanaba dedicates much of our time marketing to tourists to support and grow our local businesses. This previous year has been a testament to the impact that tourism can have on our small businesses, and we are working hard to let everyone know that Delta County should be on their travel list. In addition to our marketing, we also support community improvement projects some of which we are currently working on. Our team has supported plans to connect the snowmobile trails between Gladstone and Escanaba and improvements to wayfinding throughout the county. Visit Escanaba is looking forward to helping drive growth and development not just for visitors but to build-up our local community as well. We are so excited to see organizations and people in support of this mission reflected through the development that has taken place this last year. Despite these challenging times, the people of Delta County have proven to be nothing but Yooper Strong. We want to thank you all for your hard work, and we can’t wait to see what is in store for our amazing communities’ future.

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Baylie Bullington is part of Visit Escanaba

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