Legislation including funding to boost tourism in Northern Michigan and Upper Peninsula heads for Governor

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LANSING, Michigan— Senator Ed McBroom joined Senator Wayne Schmidt and Rep. Sara Cambensy supporting a funding measure that includes resources to support tourism in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

“Western UP has suffered many economic blows over the years, the most recent of which was the premature and unnecessary closure of the Ojibway Jail,” said McBroom, of the Township of R-Waucedah. “The state has made many promises of economic investment and today, thanks to the tremendous legislative team at UP and partners in UP and downstate, we are seeing significant investment in a transformational project for our region.

Senate Bill 565, which contains funds for much-needed repairs to road and water infrastructure, also included funds for local park projects across the state. SB 565 includes $20 million for the restoration and development of the Copper Peak ski jump facility in Gogebic County. The world-class facility will attract international ski competitions and provide sport tourism to the region. Ski jumping is expected to generate $50 million for the region in visitor revenue in its first four years of competitive events.

“Legislators from Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula have worked together and across the aisle to include funding to transform Copper Peak into a world-class destination for ski jumping competitions and the training Olympic-level athletes from the United States and around the world,” said Schmidt, R. -Cross Town. “We already have an international commitment to host ski competitions once the upgrades are completed.”

State Representative Sara Cambensy, who represents part of the Upper Peninsula in the state House of Representatives, agreed with the two senators and called the investment essential for the region and Michigan in its together.

“This monumental funding to rebuild the historic Copper Peak ski jump is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the entire state of Michigan. The economic growth that will come from this unprecedented investment is unlike anything UP lawmakers have been able to capture since the construction of the Mackinac Bridge,” said Cambensy, D-Marquette. “Bob Jacquart dreamed of bringing international ski flying back to the United States and his hometown of Ironwood, and his constant request to the delegation of UP lawmakers finally paid off. What a gift this appropriation is for every Michigander, but especially for our Yoopers who share our ski jumping and flying heritage.

The fundraising measure has also gained support from local organizations, including Bob Jacquart, who is chairman of the Copper Peak organizing committee.

“We are thrilled that a portion of the local and national parks and trails funding will help UP become a global destination for competitive ski jumping,” Jacquart said. “Recently, the International Ski Federation selected Copper Peak to become the exclusive year-round competition and training site for Olympic-level skiers. Funding from the bill will help defray the cost of extensive renovations that the Copper Peak ski jump must undergo to meet the demands of the competition.

SB 565 will now go to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for review.

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Editor’s note: The above photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting the Senators’ or Representatives’ websites and clicking on “Photos” under the “In the News” tab.

Photo caption: State Sen. Wayne Schmidt, R-Traverse City, Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Waucedah Township and Rep. Sara Cambensy, D-Marquette discuss details of Senate Bill 565 and the investment of Copper Peak as lawmakers walk through the Capitol to their respective chambers.

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