Houghton County Fair secures county property to assure public revenue

HOUGHTON — Some of the Houghton County Fair’s buildings are on county-owned land.

But to ensure future access to the properties, it is safer to own the properties outright, the Fair Board has decided.

Last week, the County Board approved the sale of two buildings on the property, including the 4-H Exhibit building, along Birch Street to the Fair Board for $28,500.

Rick Freeman, a member of the Fair Board, said the recommendation had come from a Fair Board convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Some fairs have had to move after their property was taken over.

“To us, that would be a devastating thing to happen, because we own a lot of the buildings over there,” he said.

Also, if the fair owns the property, it has a better chance of getting state grants, Freeman said.

Freeman said the fair will work with the city of Hancock on an extended agreement to use the horse arena.

Commissioners were supportive of the sale.

“I think it would help secure the future of the fair being located on those grounds,” said Commissioner Tom Tikkanen.

Commissioner Scott Ala, also a member of the Fair Board, said he has long thought the sale would be a good idea.

While some of the property would have limited use otherwise, as part of the fair, it helps bring in a large amount of money to the country and local stores.

“It’s well worth parting ways for that kind of money,” he said. “…It’s a good piece to get rid of, and it’s goodwill to the community.”