LaFave secures funding for U.P. veterans museum

Rep. Beau LaFave Wednesday secured state assistance for a facility honoring the Upper Peninsula’s military heroes and celebrating our culture.

LaFave played a key role in securing $500,000 for a building that will house the Upper Peninsula Veterans Museum, along with exhibits detailing outdoor life, the Iron Belle Trail, and Native American heritage past and present. The facility is planned for the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds in Escanaba.

“This is a fantastic project honoring our culture and our history – including the heroes who made incredible sacrifices so we can live in the most prosperous and free country God has ever allowed to exist,” said LaFave, of Iron Mountain. “I can’t wait to see this facility progress. It will be a treasure at the U.P. State Fairgrounds both during the fair week and the other 51 weeks of the year.”

The building will honor the memory of John and Melissa Besse. Their foundation committed a $1 million gift for construction of the building, which also will include the Webster Marble Creating the Outdoors Exhibit, the Welcome Center on the Iron Belle Trail, and the Delta County Commerce Center.

Also in the new state budget, Upper Peninsula schools will receive $240 more per student, the highest increase included in a statewide plan that has the largest average increase in 15 years.

LaFave also supported investments to create more opportunities for jobs and economic growth in the Upper Peninsula.

The budget includes a $100 million statewide workforce development plan to help residents fill high-demand jobs in skilled trades, health care and other industries.

The budget also includes record investments to speed up road repairs, along with more resources to fight PFAS contamination and protect wildlife. The Legislature has approved the budget bills well ahead of the constitutional deadline for eight consecutive years.

The new budget year begins Oct. 1.

House Bill 5579 and Senate Bill 848 advance to Gov. Rick Snyder for his consideration.