It’s been five years since the State of Michigan awarded development of the State Fairgrounds to Lansing-based Magic Plus, LLC. Now two community groups are pushing for answers to questions about the progress at the site.
The Greenacres Woodward Civic Association and the State Fairgrounds Development Coalition want to know why the state and the City of Detroit are allowing the developer an indefinite amount of time to launch the project and why taxpayers are still responsible for maintenance 160-acre site.
That’s just two of over a dozen questions the groups’ representatives say they are addressing through Freedom of Information Act requests to the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority. Frank Hammer, a spokesperson for the groups, says it appears that the state has not held the developer to previously imposed requirements and deadlines.
“How come it doesn’t matter anymore about how long this whole process is taking? Because in the beginning (there was) such a rush. The community had no say in what the requirements would be because they told us ‘Oh no, no, no we’ve got to really hurry and we got to be really fast about this because we want to get development there overnight’. And here we are five years later, and there’s no development in sight” -Frank Hammer
Hammer says state officials and others pushed the deal with Magic Plus through the legislative process, claiming that quickly repurposing the fairgrounds property would bring jobs and fight neighborhood blight. He says it has been five years with no visible progress.
According to officials with the State of Michigan, maintenance of the property is costing taxpayers a million dollars a year. They say the Land Bank Authority is following state statutes and will respond to the requests in a timely manner.
Click here to read and listen to a CuriosiD about the fairgrounds.