By Jon King /

A community group that was formed to protest a proposed asphalt plant has reconfigured itself to become a local nonprofit with a mission to save a historic property.

Residents for Community Preservation had come together earlier this year in opposition to a plan to rezone land near US-23 and Center Road in Tyrone Township for an asphalt plant. After lobbying local officials and preparing for a long legal battle, the group was pleasantly surprised last month when the proposal to build the plant was withdrawn.

Instead of disbanding, however, they have turned their focus to collaborating with the Tyrone Township’s Historical Society to save the old township hall, originally known as the Town House. Built in 1887 for $640, it served as a gathering place through the decades for township business, elections and 4-H activities. In 1975, as a bicentennial project, it was moved to a new location to be preserved, restored, and rededicated as a State of Michigan Historic Site. However, it currently sits on property formerly owned by the Township that has since been sold. Without action, the group says the building will no longer belong to the Township, and its legacy as a centerpiece of the small community will be lost.

They are proposing a fundraising campaign to hopefully move the structure to become part of a “larger, park-like setting with trails, a pavilion, and in conjunction with the new Township Office Building.” Sara Dollman-Jersey, President of Residents for Community Preservation, says that in its day, the Town House “was the center point of the community” and that Tyrone Township needs a “common thread, a place to gather again.”

She says they plan to detail their proposal at Tuesday’s regular township board meeting, which will be held via Zoom. On the agenda for that meeting is a discussion on the future of the historic structure.