Source: Sherman Publications

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Library community room usage questioned

by David Fleet

April 17, 2013

Atlas Twp.- On Monday night the township board discussed the future use of the community meeting room on the second floor of the Goodrich Library.

"We don't really have an area that lends itself to a meeting room in the township," said Shirley Kautman-Jones, township supervisor. The building had undergone some renovations and several groups have asked to use the room.

In 2009 the Goodrich Village Council voted 4-0 to approve the transfer of the Goodrich Library to Atlas Township. The transfer was prompted by an ongoing dispute over repairs and maintenance for the century-old, Lyceum Library, 10237 Hegel Road. The transfer was possible due to an agreement signed in 1959 when ownership of the building was obtained by the village from the township. A funding schedule began in 2009 at $6,000, decreasing to $4,000 in 2010; $2,000 in 2011; ending with no payments in 2012.

Jones said at one time the village rented the room on a regular basis and it was well utilized. However, ice and water damaged the upstairs and it was unused for an extended period of time, she added.

"The chamber and the library, along with a few other groups, have been using the room," she said. "I guess the question is, should a township owned facility be limited to some groups and not others? The area can't be used for political gatherings and most of the inquiries have been to use the room on Sundays for parties. We need some guidelines for the facility that make it fair to all groups."

Tere Onica, township clerk, had some concerns.

"We really can't rent the room out to some heavy metal band," she said. "But how can we discriminate between one group or another, or private parties for that matter. We have churches in the area that open their doors to groups," she said. "We are not depriving the community of anything. But we do need to set policy and procedure for the building."