GREAT LAKES SPORTS COMMISSION
Fundraising efforts to upgrade the I-500, track to create a year-round facility for events and tourism attraction will receive its first major contribution. The Great Lakes Sports Commission (GLSC) will present a major grant of $150,000 to the Sault Ste. Marie Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) for the I-500 renovation project Friday.
The CVB will present an overview of the renovation project for the track and facility, which is located on 51 acres and lies within the City of Sault Ste. Marie, to the GLSC on Friday, April 28 at 11:15 a.m. at the track followed by a grant award presentation at 12:15 p.m. at the Kewadin Casino’s Woodlands conference rooms. Local and state stakeholders will be on hand including Senator John Damoose.
The Sault CVB received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration's (EDA) American Rescue Plan. The CVB must raise 20 per cent of the grant to fulfill its commitment to the EDA. The GLSC grant marks the first major contribution to the Sault CVB’s fundraising efforts.
“We appreciate the commitment and partnership from the Great Lakes Sports Commission to help us kick start our fundraising campaign for the I-500 track renovation project,” said Linda Hoath, Executive Director of the Sault CVB. “This project will not only enhance an already significant event but also help us expand to year-round use for events and tourism attraction to the U.P.”
Building on the natural energy of sports and recreation to strengthen economic vitality, health, and quality of life in northern Michigan is a mission goal for the GLSC. This goal makes the commission the perfect partner for the Sault CVB’s fundraising efforts.
"The I-500 race and track epitomizes the unique culture of our region and we are thrilled to partner with the Sault Ste. Marie CVB to support important, high-impact facility enhancements that will pave the way for year-round event opportunities at a truly one-of-a-kind venue," said Eric Marvin, Executive Director, GLSC.
Planned upgrades of the I-500 renovation project:
- Track accessibility with paving and new road construction
- Electrical infrastructure for snowmobile pit crews, concerts etc.
- A pedestrian bridge to connect the north bluff to the south bluff expanding spectator access to viewing and vendor areas. This bridge will also give access to a nearby trail system
- Construction of permanent vendor building, addition of safety fencing, bluff terracing for spectators
- Phase Two: LED lighting, NEW scoreboard, PA System, Billboard upgrades & Flag Poles.
The project will be the largest single renovation made to the track yet and will start this year and finish before the 2025 race. Officials said this project is just the first of many planned upgrades.