The Then & Now Historical Library near the corner of 18th Street and 142nd Avenue in downtown Dorr again is in a precarious housing position.
The service continues to operate Wednesdays and Saturdays of each week in providing historical documents, obituary information and data on veterans, but its longtime run at the site cannot go on for too long because it is an expense to Dorr Township.
Because Then & Now is a non-profit service, it does not pay rent, nor does it pay for utilities for the building. The township has picked up the expense ever since the library moved to its new quarters more than a half dozen years ago.
Township Treasurer Jim Martin, while acknowledging his support for the historical library, noted that its costs have been challenging for the township.
The site is the former home to the township hall and later to Dorr Township Library, both of which now are located elsewhere downtown. The township hall is virtually across the street at the corner of 142nd and 18th and the new library is further north on 18th Street.
There was a campaign several years ago to have Then & Now occupy a new addition to the library, but Library Board President Rachel Vote told the Township Board Thursday evening it is not feasible for that project continue. Former Library Director Natalie Bazan spearheaded an “Arts Alive” fund-raiser in 2015, with all proceeds to go to the addition for Then & Now.
The Library Board this week decided to turn over the $18,000 in the fund to Then & Now Vice President Linda Stoepker, who said the organization would like to invest it and another fund of about $10,000 into a place that would generate more interest revenue.
Then & Now is open from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. It is staffed by volunteers who help anyone dropping by with information about deaths, local history and genealogy. The historical library is where Townbroadcast picks up information for its weekly “Bygone Days” feature telling what happed in northeast Allegan County 25, 50, 75 and 100 years ago.