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American 1 Credit Union and Jackson County officials at the check presentation and  announcement ceremony.  Photo by Ryan Kerwin, JTV.

American 1 Credit Union this morning announced the donation of $4 million for the construction of a new convention center to be located at the Jackson County Fairgrounds.  The American 1 Convention Center will be a completely new structure that will be complementary to the existing American 1 Event Center.

At an unveiling ceremony  at the planned site on the southeast corner of the fairgrounds, American 1 Credit Union presented a $4 million check to Jackson County Board of Commissioners Chairman Steve Shotwell for the construction of the convention center.

The convention center is part of a larger use plan for the fairground site created by Jackson County officials.  Construction of the American 1 Convention Center will begin following conclusion of the 2017 Jackson County Fair.

“We chose the future location of the American 1 Convention Center in an effort to help renew the former glory of the Grand River, ” said American 1 Credit Union board chair Phil Hoffman.  “With the river running along the eastern border of the fairgrounds, it was the obvious choice for a beautiful new convention center building.”

The new building will feature a large expo space that can be sectioned off for smaller events.  Additional rooms will be able to accommodate conferences with multiple sessions.  The facility will also include a full kitchen for catering services.  It will be the largest, purpose-built convention space available in Jackson County and the first ever convention center in the county.

On American 1’s involvement in the construction of a new convention center, America 1 Credit Union President and CEO David Puckett said, “While many credit unions were established by large industries and corporations, American 1 was started by our community and that is where we continue to be rooted.  When our community is successful, we’re successful,” said Puckett.

“We look for innovative ways we can thank our community by giving back to them, Hoffman added.  “We feel that this new convention center provides the perfect checkvenue for celebration – celebrating life events, local commerce, and most of all, our accomplishments as a community.”

It is likely the total cost of the project will exceed $4 million.  “We anticipate the additional participation of Jackson County dollars toward the overall project,” said Steve Shotwell.

Jackson County Parks Director Jeff Hovater said the new convention center is just one part of planned improvements to the fairgrounds.  “The donation also includes funding for improvements to the current American 1 Event Center, including new bathrooms, entrances and upgrades,” said Hovater.  “Eventually, the track will be removed and the fair midway will be re-located to the former infield of the track.”

Kristi Edgar, Vice President of Marketing for American 1 Credit Union, announced the donation at a ceremony this morning.  “This will be a design-build project and we expect to have an architect and construction company involved soon.”  There are not yet any sketches of the new center.

Based in Jackson since 1950, American 1 Credit Union now serves over 55,000 members through 13 branches in six counties across southern lower Michigan.

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