Hastings Michigan News
Special meeting will focus on Yankee Springs hall renovations
Sunday, 12 Jan 2020 18:00 pm
Hastings Michigan News

Hastings Michigan News

Greg Chandler

Staff Writer

The Yankee Springs Township board will hold a public hearing Saturday, Jan. 11, to hear from residents about the proposed renovation of and addition to the township hall.

The hearing will take place at 11 a.m. at the township hall, 284 N. Briggs Road.

The board, on a 3-2 vote in October 2019, authorized the engineering firm Fleis and VandenBrink to provide design development services, construction documents and bid documents for the hall project, at a cost of $95,500.

The project calls for renovating the existing 4,000-square-foot hall, which was built in 1971, and constructing a 1,727-square-foot addition to the north side of the building. Preliminary estimates put the project cost at $898,500.

The decision sparked anger among some township residents, with objections focusing on a perceived lack of public input into the decision as well as a lack of detail over how the project will be funded.

The renovation portion of the project includes restoration of the exterior masonry of the building, addition of a new exit on the south side of the building, adding a new heating and cooling system, creation of a conference room, construction of a wider ramp that would meet requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a new closet to house the township's information technology server and ceiling-mounted monitors that would allow board members and the public to see information presented from the podium at board meetings.

The office addition would include a separate entrance from the meeting room entrance, service windows for the clerk and treasurer, along with private offices for the supervisor, clerk, assessor and future zoning administrator.

While some have been critical of the process, Township Trustee Larry Knowles said at a special meeting Oct. 30, 2019, renovation and addition to the township hall had been discussed in one form or another since 2002. Knowles pointed out that the board in 2012 approved a 1,120-square-foot addition, but the project was never started. Three years later, the board agreed to get estimates for the 2012 plans, but no work ever proceeded.

A renovation committee was formed in July 2019 to resume discussions on the hall project. The committee brought forth the recommendation that was adopted at the Oct. 10 meeting.

At a Nov. 20, 2019, meeting, a municipal financial advisor told board members the township should be able to adequately finance the project, based on the its general fund reserves, without having to raise taxes. Andy Campbell of the East Lansing-based firm Baker Tilly Municipal Advisors said the township could spend $300,000 out of its reserves and finance the remaining costs. The board has made no decisions on financing the project.