By Graham Sturgeon, staff writer
The Burns Township Board held their regular monthly meeting on Monday, July 6, and the board again discussed their impending purchase of the Streeter Funeral Home property. The board voted to purchase the property last August and Trustee Cheryl Cole presented the board during their July meeting with a purchase agreement and rough architectural drawings for the proposed township office and library.
The purchase agreement calls for the township to purchase the property for the listing price of $71,000, with Ernie Streeter and the township splitting the closing costs evenly. The drawings, which were created from Cole’s vision for the new property, were designed by her father, Robert Scheitler, who was an engineer with Simplicity of Durand. The drawings, though rough and incomplete, were intended to give the board a starting point in their planning process.
Cole’s plan calls for the Township Hall offices and the new library to share the existing structure that sits on the property currently, but the plan could change
depending on the opinions of the four other board members. The initial design calls for some modifications to the building to create a two-level structure that would include two or three offices, a banquet/event room and the library. The proposed floor plan is similar to the design of the Vernon District Public Library, which sits on Main Street in downtown Vernon. That building utilizes their first floor for the library and community services, and has used the space on the second level of the building for an activities room. That building sits on an alley where the land at the rear of the building is raised to provide ground-level access to the second floor. The Streeter property would seemingly require the work of an excavator to create the split-level capabilities that these initial layout plans entail. Though this process is still in its early stages, Cole is excited for the possibilities that could come with a new township hall and library.
“The community would really benefit from this building,” Cole said. “The new library will raise property values and will draw families into the community. And it would be really nice for this community to have a banquet hall. If you have 200 to 300 people coming into our community for a wedding, that is a great showcase for your community.”
Cole expressed the need for the township to have an expanded township building for many reasons. Currently, all of the township officials besides the fire chief operate out of the one office that the township hall contains, so added storage and work areas are high on the priority list for the board.
The meeting room of the building is outdated and small, which does not leave it as much of an option for event hosting; the new building should provide that to the community. Cole also pointed out that the Shiawassee County Community District Library wants to update the technology in the Burns Township Library, which is not possible with the library currently being located inside Byron High School.
Cole brought a motion to sign the purchase agreement during the “Board Reports” section of Monday’s meeting – which Supervisor Dave Mitchell seconded – but Trustee Gary Adams spoke out against the idea. The item was not on the agenda and Adams felt that decisions of that magnitude should be put on the agenda before being voted upon.
“This should have been on the agenda,” Adams said. “That’s what we make them up for. The public has a right to know what is going on.”
Mitchell agreed with Adams’ opinion and immediately withdrew his support for the motion. The board then decided to put the item on the agenda for their 7:30 p.m. Aug. 3 meeting for a vote and signing of the purchase agreement.