than 50,000 sign petition calling on the Governor to keep the
Michigan State Fairgrounds open.
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.
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.
have estimated that it cost the state as much or more to
mothball the Fair Grounds as it would have to continue operations.
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!
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
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
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.
II Watches Developments at the Fairgrounds and Surrounding
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
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.
are some issues that have been resolved or are not active at
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
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
fate of the Woodward/Eight Mile Rd. Bridge
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Many citizens, civic/community groups
and businesses favor keeping it operational, which was made
clear at the last public hearing
before the property closed.
you would have many allies in restoring the Fairgrounds and
the State Fair at its present location.
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:
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
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.
L. Hudsonís donation of his farm for a home in perpetuity
for Michiganís State Fair has always been agriculture
related, as is AISIís use.
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.
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.
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.
Departments of Agriculture and Education,
State Universityís Colleges of Agriculture and
Oakland and Wayne Countiesí intermediate school
said countiesí 140 plus public high schools and their
respective school districts
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.
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.
high school will have two seats, per grade, per year. AISI
will strive to achieve a balance between sexes in the student
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,
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.
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.
Expenses: An 80/20 split between the intermediate school
districts and their respective school districts will fund bus
will require new funding.
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
associated with Michiganís agriculture and associated
industries include at least:
equipment repair, medicine, meteorology, pharmacology,
public safety, robotics,
transportation veterinary, welding, world crops,
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
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
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.
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
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!
Plan for Part of 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.
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.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
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