Source: Sherman Publications

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Twp. to explore new digs for cops, seniors

by CJ Carnacchio

October 16, 2013

Oxford Township officials are looking into expanding their municipal complex at 300 Dunlap Rd. to house government meetings, police officers and senior citizens.

Last week, the township board voted 7-0 to engage the services of Lake Orion architect Stephen Auger for a price not to exceed $8,075. That covers 95 hours of work at an hourly rate of $85.

Auger will be tasked with studying the design possibilities and developing solutions for three potential projects.

"We just want somebody to come in, sit down with us, (listen to) what we're thinking and come up with some sort of ideas," explained township Supervisor Bill Dunn.

The first potential project Auger will study is adding meeting chambers to the existing township hall.

This would allow the township board and other related government bodies to meet there instead of at the Oxford Veterans Memorial Civic Center (28 N. Washington St.), which has become increasingly expensive to maintain.

Trustee Jack Curtis explained the value the township is receiving from the veterans building in terms of actual use doesn't come close to the amount of money that's being poured into it every year.

In 2011, the township spent $57,239 on the veterans building. This year, it's spent $36,404 to date. Officials budgeted $73,170 for the building next year.

Auger must also develop a plan to house the Oakland County Sheriff's substation in the unfinished lower level of the township hall.

The substation is currently located in the Express Mini-Storage facility at 2121 N. Lapeer Rd.

Township officials voted 7-0 to move the sheriff's substation to the township hall.

Finally, Auger will create a design for a stand-alone 3,000-square-foot senior activities center to be located on township property, just north of the municipal hall.

The intent is to create a "campus-like atmosphere."

Oxford senior citizens currently gather at the veterans building downtown to play cards, enjoy bingo and eat lunch.

The parks and recreation department only uses the facility to offer line-dancing classes for seniors.

Trustee Sue Bellairs doesn't want to see this potentially new senior center turn into a "giant" project "that (isn't) going to work."

"They always get so elaborate that people get mad, taxpayers get mad," she said.

Dunn responded that it's not going to become like the Older Persons' Commission's 92,000-square-foot senior center in Rochester Hills. He said it would be more like a "large, single-story home."

Curtis indicated they're looking at the feasibility of building a small senior center, "not a Taj Mahal, not a community center, not a pool."

"Our direction was not some big, giant community center," he said.

The township board approved a $281,503 building site fund budget for next year. This is money set aside for eventually finishing and expanding the township hall.