Leighton officials getting more serious about new twp. hall

Leighton TownshipLeighton Twp. Library Board members Thursday evening decided to get a little more serious about plans to have a new township hall built on the same land as the township library.

Trustee John Hooker said, “I think it’s time something is done soon. We’ve outgrown this (current) facility.”

The township hall and fire station now is located on Kalamazoo Avenue, just north of 144th Avenue and just south of Green Lake. The board for more a couple of years has been examining possibilities in having a larger building built to better accommodate meetings and township business.

The current building was built in 1984, but township officials insist the local population since then has almost doubled and commercial and industrial growth has been significant.

The Township Board Thursday night agreed to proceed with engineer Dan Bode of The Architectural Group (TAG) with site preparation plans at a cost of up to $40,000.

The 12-acre site, township officials believe, would be much more centrally located in the township, it already is on land the township owns and it would be a good fit with the library adjacent.

Treasurer Char Troost told her colleagues the township has $530,000 in its capital improvements fund and its has more than $700,000 in its general fund balance. However, she added it is not wise to drain all of the fund balance for obvious reasons.

It has been estimated that the new facility township officials are considering would cost about $1.5 million.

The big question as soon as perhaps next month would be to decide how much to borrow from either United Bank or Chemical Bank to get the job done. She said officials already have cut about $50,000 in cost estimates and they hope to do even more reductions.

Supervisor Steve Deer said, “We would like to let bids by late summer for a building that might cost just under a million dollars. The idea is to have a facility with good construction so it lasts at least 50 years.”

Deer said this might be the best time to have construction done.

“This is a prime construction economy (right now) and we expect interest rates to climb.”

Meanwhile, township officials say they plan to have the fire department use the entire township hall on Kalamazoo Avenue for its operations. There is another fire station located near 10th Street and 144th Avenue.

Troost said the township will meet with representatives from United Bank and Chemical Bank to see who might offer the best deal in terms of an interest rate.

PHOTO: The Leighton Township Library may have a new neighbor if township offices are moved adjacent to the facility.

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