Welcome to ICARE II


Note: We are changing our name from I.C.A.R.E. to ICARE II

What's New: - Great Lakes State Fair, which is claiming to be and successor to the Michigan State Fair, is being held for the first time in 2012 on Friday, Aug. 31 at at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. See an article about this event. Full details are available at www.GreatLakesStateFair.org.

Five important documents you might like to have in PDF format.

ICARE II Mission  Statement

Meetings and Events - Find out when we meet and what other events are going on Forth coming  ICARE II meetings and other important events

Research Page - This page will be updated and restructured eventually.

ICARE History - How it all started.

Why We Remain Vigilante

Fairgrounds battle timeline - From how it all got started to the present

Leave your comments HERE




More than 50,000 sign petition calling on the Governor to keep the Michigan State Fairgrounds open.

The Michigan State Fair was closed by former Governor Jennifer Granholm with the promise that it would cut government costs and be used for something that would produce jobs and tax revenue. Three years later, the Fairgrounds is still costing the state money and is another large empty and deteriorated area of Detroit. It's a sad memorial to venality and incompetence of  Michigan's government.

Governor Rick Snyder's  administration has the fairgrounds land to the Land Bank Fast Track Authority, probably for quick sale and the end of any chance to continue and fair in Detroit.

The Fairgrounds was largely a break-even proposition. The State Fair itself sometimes runs a deficit that the State made up, but it was a tiny piece of the State budget.

Some have estimated that it cost the state as much or more to mothball the Fair Grounds as it would have to continue operations.

The Michigan State Fair Grounds is again threatened by deals made by a government with private enterprize with little consideration for the the general public or the taxpayer!

The last time the State made a land deal involving the Fairgrounds it involved property that was not part of the Fairgrounds but adjacent to it on the Northwest side. This land was collect by eminent domain for the propose of  creating an urban camp ground. People were evicted from their homes to achieve this lofty purpose. But no camp grounds appeared, and the State sold the land to developers who, a year or so later, made a deal to sell it to the Detroit school system for a lot more than they paid for it. In fact the deal smelled so bad that public protest and a lawsuit convinced the State to renegotiate the sale.

Why must we suffer unimaginative, inept, and uncaring State Government through Democratic and Republican administrations when there are so many good ideas waiting to be adopted and implemented? Check the right hand column for two of them.

Picture of what the Fairgrounds look like now:

On a recent tour provided by the Land Bank authority now in charge of disposing of Fair Grounds, Frank Hammer took pictures of how the Fair Grounds look now. They remind us of how much has been lost and how much remains that could still be saved. See Frank's pictures on Flicker by clicking here.

ICARE II Watches Developments at the Fairgrounds and Surrounding Area

In 1996, John Hertel, the manager of the Michigan State Fairgrounds, announced a proposal to make the Fairgrounds a paying proposition. A developer would build an auto racetrack. Hertel didn't consult his neighbors, who were appalled by the idea. They formed I.C.A.R.E.(Inter-county Citizens Achieving Regional Excellence), an organization of concerned citizens. They opposed the track idea in the media, before governmental bodies, and threatened legal action. They were concerned about noise, traffic, and parking overflow. The developer backed out in the face of this opposition. ICARE won this battle and a battle against a subsequent race track proposal. (See history page.)

Now we are trying to save the Michigan State Fairgrounds, a  historic treasure, from the dumbest "cost cutting" idea we have ever seen a government put forward. It looks like citizen will lose this battle too, and the historic Michigan State  Fair Grounds that our ancestors thought worth preserving through Would War I and II and through the Great Depressions will have the last of its priceless history stripped by the Michigan State government acting like a gang of Detroit scrapper stealing the plumbing and wiring from a priceless old Victorian style house.  

Some Old Issues:

There are some issues that have been resolved or are not active at present:

Metro Park Proposal

We have proposed to the Huron Clinton Metro Park Authority that they create an urban park using the part of  the Fairgrounds that was slated for the race track. We still strongly support this idea. We feel that a park "close in" to our area would be a welcome addition to the more bucolic settings that make up the Metro Parks. There is not the political will on the part of those who control the Metro Parks to take any creative steps at this time

Intermodal Facility Expansion.

The State Highway Department wants to expand intermodal facilities in the Detroit area and one of their plans envisioned expanding facilities at the rail yards in Ferndale and possibly at the Fairgrounds. Ferndale city officials vowed to sue to stop expansion in their city. The State has now taken the Ferndale yard off the table and has assured us that State Fairgrounds is not currently under consideration for this site. This project is awaiting further studies and funding. ICARE has OPPOSED  this project...especially as it related to Ferndale and the Fairgrounds.

The fate of the Woodward/Eight Mile Rd. Bridge

The city of Ferndale wanted the center bridge that carries two lanes of traffic over both Eight Mile and the interchange lanes between Eight Mile and Woodward torn down at the expense of Michigan taxpayers.

After spending nearly half a million tax dollars to come to a decision, the State rejected Ferndale's idea and has now renovated the existing bridge..

The configuration of the bridge remains as it has been; ICARE supports this as the safest design.    

The Last Michigan State Fair after 160 years? In a largely spontaneous out-pouring, Fair goers and others signed over FIFTY THOUSAND petitions urging Governor Granholm  to keep the State Fair alive and to preserve the Fairgrounds for future generations. See the video below to hear what some Fair attendees had to say.


This is a letter sent to Governor Snyder by ICAREII members:

Dear Governor Snyder:

We are writing to retain the multi-use Fairgrounds and to keep the State Fair at 8 mile and Woodward.

The property was specifically bequeathed for this purpose. Now our state Representative, Jimmy Womack, and Senator Virgil Smith are looking for help to save this treasure. The State legislators want to move it into a Land Bank. We are asking you to retain the land for its intended use.

The area borders on three counties, adjacent to a major rail line, and has its own siding (Barnum and Bailey Circus train).  Very accessible, with secure parking (no safety problems), it is an ideal setting  for building a sense of community.  It brought people and families together-- rural, suburb, and city, rich, middle class and poor, young, middle aged and elderly. Through shared experiences we learned to understand and respect one another.  City children need farm and livestock experiences, and rural children need cosmopolitan exposure.


In the past, the grounds provided a race track for cars, motor cycles, daredevil shows, and demolition derbies.  Kids swam in the small lake in the infield, and the frozen pond offered ideal ice for hockey. A tunnel under the track allows access to the infield while an event is in progress-a novel idea for its day!

Who could forget Evil Knievel roaring into the Coliseum, or, later, his son Robbie jumping 16 cars in front of the Band Shell (which housed the Detroit Concert Band under Leonard Smith). Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Theresa Brewer, Willie Nelson, etc. crooned there.  Even JFK debated there!  General Grant stayed in the little white house on State Fair Ave at the corner of Ralston.  It is a historically designated house.

Besides the Fair, the complex (Fairplex) brought people together for a myriad of activities: horse back riding, farm expositions, 4H events, boy scout jamborees, rodeos, Shrine Circus, Wayne State Womensí Hockey, ad infinitum.

The beautiful Community Arts Building and Auditorium: what is to happen to it?  The property   has become expensive to maintain.  Will the Fair move North?  It would cost a fortune to duplicate these incomparable amenities (even the animal pens).  Such a move would add to the polarization that threatens the health of the entire region. Father Cunningham of Focus Hope, said ďas goes Detroit Ėso goes the country ď.

The Fairgrounds could be an excellent tool for economic development by bringing in tourists and events (conventions, expositions) for people to see our wonderful city.  An Urban Campground was once promised years ago, for which the adjacent 80 acres of housing was demolished!   ICARE even proposed an Agricultural School, taking 2 high school students from each school in all three counties, with a demonstration farm, preparing youth who want to farm.

We are missing a rare opportunity to utilize this strategically developed, unique acreage.  The  Pamona , Californiaís ďFairplexĒ gives you an idea of what the three counties of Los Angles did with their fair.  Itís impressive! See www Fairlpex.com/fp/

Many citizens, civic/community groups and businesses favor keeping it operational,  which was made clear at the last public hearing before the property closed.

As Governor, you would have many allies in restoring the Fairgrounds and the State Fair at its present location.

We value your input in this matter.


                                                Byna Camden  313-368-3333

                                                Karen Hammer 313-863-3219 fkhammer@ameritech.net

                                                Bob Lang 313-368-0901  boblang4@hotmail.com

  cc: Representative Jimmy Womak

        Senator Virgil Smith

        Steve Jenkins, State Fair Manager                                           

       4 November 2011

Here's a link to a PDF version of this letter

Here's a link to a PDF version of a petition to the Govenor

ICARE has crafted a unique and creative proposal to Help fund the Fairgrounds and improve South Eastern Michigan's quality of life. Here it is outlined below:


We propose Ė for the benefit of tri-county youth, the Fairgrounds and the State of Michigan Ė opening an off-campus agriculture based public education facility, to be called, Agriculture Industriesí Science Institute, hereafter, AISI at the Michigan State Fairgrounds. The land and much of the infrastructure for AISI is in place now. Its implementation cost at the Fairgrounds will be a fraction of what it would be, if AISI was placed elsewhere.

Joseph L. Hudsonís donation of his farm for a home in perpetuity for Michiganís State Fair has always been agriculture related, as is AISIís use.

AISI will open doors of opportunity in various settings for motivated, selected, tri-county public high school juniors and seniors as they explore agriculture and associated industries in its course of study in Agriculture Industriesí Science.

The location is all but at the intersection of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties. It is within reasonable driving distances of those countiesí rural, suburban and urban public high schools, and in the center of one the countriesí major industrial production and shipping centers.

AISI will open and operate a high tech farm where its students will study as they experience crop and livestock cycles and the perils of profit or loss.

Services of:

  • Michiganís Departments of Agriculture and Education,    

  • Michigan State Universityís Colleges of Agriculture and Education,  

  • Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Countiesí intermediate school districts and

  • The said countiesí 140 plus public high schools and their respective school districts                  

will intertwine with AISI Ďs program as it links its diverse mix of tri-county youth with the study of agriculture and associated industries. The two year program will help the students understand how individuals in a free market system achieve economic benefit through their individual and joint efforts as they study a matrix of existing and evolving opportunities and systems.

During the Fall through Spring Term of AISIís twelve month half day program, its students will study part of the day at the Fairgrounds and the other part of the day at their home high schools, while completing their respective graduation requirements. During the Summer Term, its students will study only at AISI.

Each high school will have two seats, per grade, per year. AISI will strive to achieve a balance between sexes in the student body.

AISI shall model/mimic/survey the inter-workings of Michiganís heavy agricultural and supplier base of associated industries. These industries help maintain and stabilize Michiganís high standard of living,

Teachers, with relevant agriculture backgrounds and demonstrated management expertise, will guide/place AISI students in hands-on real world environments using field, classroom, lab, discussion, study, research and seminar situations.

Funding AISI

Operating Expenses: Existing per student State Aid follows the student and will fund AISI. Two 11th grade students, enrolled half time at AISI in the first year, shall cost each high school State Aid for one student. Thereafter, two 11th and two 12th grade students or four students shall cost State Aid for two students per high school. AISI funding will be provided by shifting existing local funding. This will not require any new funding.

Transportation Expenses: An 80/20 split between the intermediate school districts and their respective school districts will fund bus transportation. This will require new funding.

AISI Benefits

With a two student State Aid shift for four students and a 20% school district transportation charge, the cost per high school should not be a severe burden for even the smallest school district.

Skills associated with Michiganís agriculture and associated industries include at least:

            agri-fuels, biology, chemistry, computers, construction, education, engineering,

                  equipment repair, medicine, meteorology, pharmacology, public safety, robotics,

                  transportation veterinary, welding, world crops, zoology, etc.

These job-skills are commensurate with education/training and vary from highly technical, which pay substantially above minimum wage, to those with less training and lower salaries. Early on, our youth must learn the skills necessary to financially survive and remain competitive as adults in the world economy that now confronts us. We must communicate to our youth that knowledge 7-is power and acquired through real education and life experiences.

Formal, structured, targeted education should be the most serious factor in the equation of appropriate uses for the Fairgrounds. Michigan, its citizens and economy will benefit from having an on-site year-round agriculture-based educational use at the Fairgrounds. AISI will both re-invigorate the State Fair and help fund the Fairgrounds. Its hundreds of students will double after the first year and further stimulate attendance, particularly from the tri-county area for future State Fairs as parents, relatives, friends, neighbors and residents visit the Fair and AISI farm to see what their hometownsí teens have been doing at the Fairgrounds.

AISI will be a win for everyone! As the students graduate, the skills they have acquired at AISI will make them more employable and stronger academically as they pursue post high school studies. In AISIís second year of operations, 560 11th and 12th grade students will attend AISI. It will double the first yearís $994,000 of Gross Income to $1,988,000 or nearly two million dollars for the second year. A percentage of its income stream will help pay the Fairgroundsí costs of maintaining its unique facilities.

This infusion of revenue through AISI annually, in addition to what the Fairgrounds and State Fair generate, will allow them to stay open and avert future deficits. This specialized education use will be an asset to Michigan and its youth in AISIís course of study in

Agriculture Industriesí Science!

ICARE II offers this proposal as part of its membersí commitment to fulfill Hudsonís mandate for the land he donated to the people of the State of Michigan for a State Fair. He continues to both challenge and inspire us, as we strive to make his gift work for all of us!


Proposed Plan for Part of Michigan State Fairgrounds

Picture: Proposed Huron Cliniton Metro Park Authority plan for Michigan State Fairgrounds.

This proposed plan for the Michigan State Fairgrounds would create a new park in the Huron Clinton Metro Park system. It would not prevent the Michigan State Fair from taking place but would use the land slated for the race track and formerly used by Softball City. If you have a fast connection or a lot of time, click on image above or here to see enlarged picture. If you want to help make this a reality,  download our petition in PDF format or as a Word file or see it as a Webpage.

Picketers endure a cold December day to let CVS know its plans to demolish the Days Hotel are wrong for Hazel Park. CVS backed off the deal for a while, then went ahead with it's plans.



Last Updated Wednesday, September 05, 2012

This site is published by ICARE II (formerly known as I.C.A.R.E.) All material produced by I.C.A.R.E./ ICARE II  maybe freely reproduced with attribution. ICARE II is not responsible for material at sites that we link to, however, and those sites have their own copyright rules. ICARE is hosted at Fatcow.