Two big money projects upgrading Jackson County

JACKSON, MI (WLNS) – Plans are underway to develop and redesign Jackson County landmarks.  More trails are being added for recreational purposes while the Jackson County Fairgrounds will be undergoing major overhaul.

Jackson County Fairgrounds have been in one location since 1910.  According to County Administrator Mike Overton, it’s time for changes.

“The infrastructure that’s there today, frankly needs updating.  The grandstands is 95 years old, and while we’ve done a good job over the years of maintaining it, it could use some additional face-lifts,” said Overton.

A near $26 million plan, the renovations are estimated to take between 20-25 years.  The money needs to come from somewhere according to county officials.

Jackson County District 1 Commissioner Sarah Lightner said, “county taxpayers are going to pay for some renovations to it.  Anytime you own facilities you have to maintain them and upkeep them, and there’s obviously going to be some taxpayer stakeholders as well.”

Overton elaborated, “this is a 25 year plan.  It’s not that we have the money to invest all that currently.  We have relationships with the private sector.  I mean, currently we have a relationship with American 1 Credit Union.  You’re looking for those kinds of relationships as well.  And, then of course any grants or donations that might come from non-profits.”

The Jackson County Fairgrounds isn’t the only part of the country to see money come in.  State Representative Earl Poleski (R-Spring Arbor) supported House Bill 5377 giving the County four plans that would improve the inter-city trail with two separate projects creating a network of trails.

All told, close to $28 million will come from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. According to Rep. Poleski there would need to be a 25 percent match locally for the trail system.

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