Fairgrounds will be fairer with Americorps help this summer

Escanaba, MI—The Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds will receive some much-needed maintenance work and building facelifts this summer with the help of a few good volunteers. The management team for the Fairgrounds received word this week that their proposal to bring an Americorps team to the grounds for the summer has been approved. Beginning May 19th and going through June 30th, the fairgrounds will host Team Oak Six, consisting of ten Americorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) volunteers.

The AmeriCorps NCCC crew will assist with revitalization of the fairgrounds, reconnection of a trail spur to the trailhead at the fairgrounds for ORV and snowmobile use and completion of various clean up and beautification projects throughout the county. Vickie Micheau, UP State Fair Management Team, shared, “The 10 year facility improvement plan was submitted to the authority for approval at the last meeting. The Americorps volunteers will help us accomplish many of the tasks included in the plan.” The buildings and facilities at the fairgrounds are in need of routine cleaning, painting and repair, and Fairgrounds staff is hoping to finish several months of work in just a few weeks, and for a fraction of the cost, with the help of the crew.

There is a possibility of receiving a second team on July 18th to work through August, helping with preparation for the fair, designing a wayfinding system to create meaningful, permanent and attractive signage for the grounds and implementing a new refuse collection system during the fair. They hope to hear in the next month whether this second team will be granted.

Steve Masters, from the UP State Fair Management Team, says, “These volunteers are the cream of the crop in Americorps—they’re trained in wildland firefighting and go through an additional application process, on top of all the regular training teams go through. We’re very excited to have them helping us make the UP State Fairgrounds a community asset that will be here and in good shape for visitors and residents to enjoy for years to come.”

Masters, who is also the Director of the Bays de Noc Convention and Visitors Bureau, also said, “While nothing is definite and plans are still in the works, with the skill that this team has, we hope we will be able to implement the plans for trail reconnection between Gladstone and Escanaba that we have been working on with our partners the Chamber of Commerce, Delta County Road Commission, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Delta County Snophlyers, Delta County SORVA, and the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds.”

AmeriCorps NCCC is a full-time, team-based residential program for men and women age 18–24. The mission of AmeriCorps NCCC is to strengthen communities and develop leaders through direct, team-based national and community service. In partnership with non-profits, members complete service projects throughout the region they are assigned. Oak 6 Fire Team, the team arriving in Escanaba in May, is one of 14 teams that make up AmeriCorps NCCC Northern Midwest Region serving 10 of the northern Midwest states. Their home base is located in the town of Vinton , Iowa , 40 miles outside of Cedar Rapids , Iowa .