Lengthy Clean-Up After Flood Cancels Events At West Michigan Fairgrounds

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LOWELL, Mich. – The flood of West Michigan is still being felt months after the waters have pulled back.  That’s especially true at the Kent County Fairgrounds in Lowell.

FOX 17 first showed you how the rising Grand River caused $75,000 in damages to the fairgrounds back in May.   We have gone back to see how much progress has been made and learned that they still are need of help from volunteers.

The office is operating and so is the main show barn on the grounds but for grounds manager, Karlye Ordway, the progress is too slow for her liking, “It seems like it’s getting done, but it’s not.”

Ordway is one of the few full-time employees at the fairground and is working nearly everyday.

“It’s just totally overwhelming,” she said.  “There are projects that we should be doing but we can’t because we focusing on the flood clean-up and flood damage.”

Each day that passes is taking a toll on the fairgrounds Spring and Summer schedule.

Ordway said, “Normally we would have ten shows at least by now.”

Instead, they have held just one.  A goat show in the one clean show barn.

“We have a beef show coming up so we will make sure the barn is completely bleached and sanitized,” said the grounds manager.

The biggest problem according to workers is the horse arena.  Nearly $40,000 worth of damage was caused to the well manicured arena floor.   It will take time and a few days of sunshine for the ground to dry out enough to lay down a foundation in the arena.

Without the horse arena, people can’t show their horses and get ready for the youth fair in August.

“It’s sad because I know how much work and effort these kids put in and then when they can’t show and practice, it’s hard,” Ordway said of the slow progress.

The fairgrounds will continue to host volunteer clean-up nights each Wednesday.  If you want to volunteer simply show up each Wednesday at 225 S Hudson St  Lowell, MI 49331 or call (616) 897-6050 for more information on what you can do to help.

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