Work progresses on welcome center

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Masons Terry Eskofski, left, and Trevor Berger, both of CPM Masonry, work on exterior stonework for the Community Welcome Center & Museum at the U.P. State Fairgrounds Monday. A recent crowdfunding campaign in support of the new building has proven to be successful.

ESCANABA — A recent crowdfunding campaign in support of the Community Welcome Center & Museum at the U.P. State Fairgrounds has proven to be successful, Executive Director of the Delta County Commerce Center Vickie Micheau said. A progress meeting for the project took place Monday afternoon.

The Community Welcome Center & Museum will house offices for the Delta County Chamber of Commerce, Delta County Builders Exchange, Delta County Economic Development Alliance and the U.P. State Fair, a U.P. Welcome Center, and the U.P. Veterans Museum and Webster Marble “Inventing the Outdoors” Museum.

According to Micheau, total cost of construction is $2 million. The project has received a total of $1.5 million in funding from the John and Melissa Besse Foundation and the State of Michigan.

The crowdfunding campaign, which wrapped up on April 30, raised a total of $51,466. It was run through the Michigan-based crowdfunding website “Patronicity”; since it hit its goal in time, the project was awarded a matching grant through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s “Public Spaces, Community Places” program.

Funds from the campaign will go towards covering the remaining $500,000 needed for the project.

“Currently, more than $144,500 has been raised, including the $50,000 match awarded by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation through the Patronicity campaign,” Micheau said.

The original goal of the crowdfunding campaign was $50,000.

“The Patronicity funds of $50,000 and those raised beyond the $50,000 Patronicity campaign limit for the match will go towards the remaining 25 percent needed to cover the construction expenses,” Micheau said.

Micheau said the Patronicity campaign is for the project’s first phase, which will include the completion of the U.P. Welcome Center, the Commerce Center and the Webster Marble “Inventing the Outdoors” Museum.

“During Phase Two, we will continue to explore grant opportunities to enhance the exterior such as landscaping, (a) sign and (a) playg round area,” she said.

At Monday’s meeting, the current status of work on the project was discussed. Project Manager Jon Gartland of Roy Ness Contracting & Sales Inc. spoke about some of the work set to take place in the near future.

“This week, we’re going to be hanging drywall (and) the exterior windows are going to be going in,” he said. These efforts, which will also include work on stone and EIFS on the building’s exterior, are expected to continue into next week.

Once the drywall has been installed, work on painting and interior finishes will begin.

Additionally, the paving of the new building’s parking lot is set for early June. Micheau said the lot will have space for more than 70 vehicles.

According to Gartland, the building should be finished in roughly two months.

“The approximate completion date right now is July 11,” he said.

The project’s completion will be marked during a special event in August.

“We’re looking forward to celebrating with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the opening day of the 2019 U.P. State Fair, which also marks the 10th anniversary of fairgrounds operation under the direction and guidance of the U.P. State Fair Authority,” Micheau said.

Micheau voiced her appreciation to people in the area for their support of the new building.

“The Chamber board of directors and everyone involved in this amazing endeavor are grateful that the community continues to see the greater value in the vision to have a multi-use complex located in a more accessible, visible location on North Lincoln Road,” she said.