Gov. Rick Snyder has opened the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit for commercial development, but questions remain about several of the property's structures. The fairgrounds also house several historic landmarks and Michigan Radio reports their fates have not been announced.
* The Michigan State Fair originated in 1849 and was the second-oldest state fair in the U.S, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources says. In 1905, a 135-acre plot of land south of Eight Mile Road was purchased as the fair's permanent home. The Detroit Equestrian Club shows photos of the fairgrounds and its permanent exhibit structures, including a band shell, agriculture and livestock buildings, and a 5,500-seat coliseum.
* In 1966, the fair hosted 1.2 million visitors, but by 2009, attendance had dropped by about 90 percent. Then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm said the state no longer could afford to host the fair and halted it, the Associated Press reports.
* Several buildings like Grant House, home of former president and Civil War Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, are designated historic sites, Michigan Radio reports. Grant was the only president to live in the Detroit area. The home was moved from its original location near Livernois to the fairgrounds.
* A lawyer for Preservation Detroit told Michigan Radio that historical markers aren't much of a guarantee about what might happen to the buildings when the land is sold. The state is looking to act quickly and there's no real protection for the buildings.
* According to the AP, the property will be transferred to a state land bank, which will decide whether to sell, demolish or rehabilitate the land. Snyder said he's not to going to speculate on what kind of development the land will be put to but added he hopes to see progress quickly. Suggestions include a movie theater and big-box store.
Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben writes about people, places, events and issues in her home state of "Pure Michigan."
- Politics & Government
- Michigan State Fairgrounds
- Michigan Radio