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Council still undecided as to old twp. hallís fate

by CJ Carnacchio

March 02, 2011

Oxford Village officials are still debating whether to tear down the old township hall at 18 W. Burdick St. or fix it up and rent it out. Stay tuned. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio.
Still no decisions have been made regarding the fate of the old Oxford Township Hall, now owned by the village, and very little input was received from the public to help guide officials in making one.

Only two citizens spoke on the issue at last week's village council meeting.

"I see no reason at all to demolish it," said resident Robert Scott, noting that if the village invests some money into bringing the 18 W. Burdick St. building up to code, he's "sure" somebody will want to use it. "This is something that this village should maintain."

Chris Bishop, a resident and former village president, expressed his concern about the possibility of the building becoming a drain on the village's coffers as opposed to a new source of revenue.

Bishop doesn't want to see the village spend $5,000 to $6,000 a year (an estimate he threw out there) to maintain the building if it proves to be too "small" or "unsuitable" or "undesirable" to be rented out.

Occupying the eastern end of the Burdick St. municipal complex, the old township hall is one-story with a basement. The first floor consists of approximately 2,500 square feet of space with two restrooms and seven-plus office areas.

Village Manager Joe Young presented council with some cost estimates regarding potential options, which include repairing the building and bringing it up to code or demolishing it and creating more parking spaces.

According to Young's memo, the repair cost estimates include less than $10,000 to replace the roof, $1,000 for door replacement, $3,000 to make the restrooms compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, $1,000 to paint and less than $1,000 to reinforce the floor joists.

A cost estimate of $25,000 was obtained for the building's demolition, but this price doesn't include relocating a DTE electric line ($10,000) and creating seven to nine paved parking spaces ($10,000).

Councilman Tom Benner indicated he wanted some actual bids regarding both the repair and demolition options in order to be fair to the taxpayers.

"Unless we have a firm price, we're just guessing," he said. "I'm not a contractor that knows those prices. I'm not an engineer."

Having such prices will help council weigh its options and set its priorities as the village begins work on its 2011-12 budget, in Benner's opinion. "We don't really need the space unless the space can be utilized or rented out," he said. "Do we really want to spend even $20,000 to repair it?

"We have streets that need to be resurfaced," Benner noted.

Councilwoman Maureen Helmuth agreed with Benner about the need for firm costs.

"I would hate to see it torn down, but I do think it's important to get real good dollar amounts before we go any farther," she said.

"I don't see how it could hurt," noted village President Teri Stiles.

Young was directed to obtain bids for both repair and demolition of the old township hall, along with soliciting for parties who may be interested in utilizing the building.

Young suggested the possibility that a tenant could be given the responsibility to fix up the building as part of an agreement.