February 26, 2014 - A leaky roof at the Addison Township hall in Lakeville caused the senior center to be closed for the past two weeks and prompted Supervisor Bruce Pearson to begin discussing the need for a new building.
Addison Twp. Deputy Supervisor Sherry Beens, mops up water in the senior center after roof leaks. Photo by Trevor Keiser. (click for larger version)
"That is something we're going to have to address, because, we're going to have to do something with this building here one way or another," said the supervisor.
Pearson showed up for work on Tuesday, February 11 to find water damage and flooding in the senior room, due to several different leaks, including in the kitchen area where food is prepared for both senior center visitors and the Meals on Wheels program.
"The kitchen is leaking and it's filling up 30 gallon buckets over night, so we had to close it," Pearson said. "They can only bring in the package meals now (for Wheels on Meals) and send them out because we can't have any open food or anything (in the kitchen) there."
"I've had professionals in and they went up on the roof and said the whole roof design is wrong and it's so antiquated that there isn't a whole lot we can do to stop the leaking. The contractors said it's been (so) hodgepodged together that the flow (the way the water runs) is the wrong way," he continued. "That's why I am going to address the issue. It's becoming a health hazard now, if we can't keep the senior room open and stuff."
Pearson noted that they have several other leaks in the building as well, including his office and the Sheriff substation's office.
"We're buying stock in buckets," he said with a laugh. "It is what it is and we've tried to fix it. We've patched, and patched and patched. It's just a very poor (roof) design."
Not only is the is the roof itself a problem, but Pearson said the five heating and cooling systems, which are 40 years old that are on the roof are also failing.
"It's getting harder and harder for them to find parts for these things because they're so old that, they are having to remake stuff for everything because they can't get the parts," he added. "What they're doing is refitting (parts) and trying to make it work for as long as they possibly can."
Cost estimates to fix the roof and a few other minor repairs would cost $600,000, according to Pearson.
"I don't want to put the money into brand new heating and cooling up on the roof there because I think that's just wasting money when the building (which is 64 years-old) doesn't warrant it," he said. "We're better off to put a new building up. We don't need one this extensive or big. It would be of a much more eco-friendly design, too (if we build new)."
Cost estimates for a new building are around $1.2 million, which Pearson said the township could afford. According to Treasurer Lori Fisher, Addison has approximately $1.6 million in reserve funds.
Fisher believes in the next few years that the township would be able to put up a million (dollars) or so for a new building or to do a "major overhaul" on the current one.
"On the conservative side, we would certainly look at financing a portion of the cost, maybe half, as interest rates are low and the township would be able to retain a more comfortable level of reserves. If the economy continues its recovery, we would always be able to pay off the loan early," she added. "This is something the board will have to decide, but I think Addison's residents will be happy to know that this is a project we will be able to undertake without having to ask for a tax increase."
Pearson said he hopes to begin discussion about the township hall at the March 17 board meeting.
"I've announced to the board that we're going to have to do something here and I'm going to put it on the shoulders of the trustees to tell me which way they want me to go," he said. "If they tell me to do it they know it will be done."
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.