By Casey Hull
Grand Ledge Gazette staff writer
GRAND LEDGE, MI – Grand Ledge City Hall has found a new home less than a mile away at the old Greenwood elementary, to the benefit of the city and the public school system.
200 E. Jefferson St. has been the location of city hall and the local police station since 1970. A historic building, the shortcomings of the facilities were quite noticeable. The city found a sanctuary from these troubles, when on July, 14 the public school system sold the old Greenwood Elementary building to them for just one dollar.
A report by Mayor Kalmin D. Smith states that “deficiencies were described as a lack of accessibility, tight working quarters, and an inordinate multitude of maintenance problems, e.g. roof leaks”. The police station faced mostly structural issues according to the report. Sewer and rainwater floods have plagued the department, gas leaks in the walls have spread into offices, and sewer gas has caused preliminary breath tests to come back false positive.
City Administrator John Bayless added that the building was non-conducive to a work environment and wasted large amounts of energy.
Plans for Renovation
Without raising taxes, the City of Grand Ledge’s fiscal budget for 2012/2013 has incorporated two million dollars’ worth of renovations to the building. The plan is to use the property for municipal purposes, along with turning it into a recreational facility that the public can use.
The gym and auditorium will be open for events and daily use, said Bayless.
Bayless added that the money will go to creating; new offices for city officials. Also in the plan is to make, a locker room, workout room, stolen item storage, offices and a holding cell for the benefit of the police department. The renovations are scheduled to occur over an 18 month period.
“Our current facilities are only 8,000 sq. ft. The new building is will upgrade us to 33,000 sq. ft. the added space will create a better work environment and be much more open to the public.”
“The price tag of one dollar was the biggest draw to the building,” Bayless said, “the school board had decided that they have no current or future use for the building and that was when we reached an agreement.”
The city has been looking for over a decade to find new housing. In 2010, the school board closed Greenwood Elementary to combat budget deficits and because of a decrease in elementary grade enrollment. Though not an official elementary, some classrooms are still being used. The public school system will continue to use a portion of the building for the near future and has the ability to remain there for up to five years without rent.
We don’t see that situation extending that far however, said Bayless.