Debate Continues Over Old Tyrone Town Hall
July 9, 2021
By Jessica Mathews/News@whmi.com
A resident-led group is continuing its push to preserve Tyrone Township’s Old Historic Town House, although officials maintain it’s not going anywhere.
The Town House dates back to the 1800’s and was moved to its current location, the site of the old township offices on Center Road in 1976. When the township sold that building and moved its office to its new location in 2019, the Old Town House remained. Though it needs serious work and repairs and has sat in poor condition for years, community interest in “saving it” has grown over recent months.
In response, the township sent out a survey with summer tax bills to gauge resident interest in various options for the hall.
Residents For Community Preservation is currently working with the Tyrone Township Historical Society to preserve the hall, which is in the process of obtaining 501c3 status. That would provide an additional layer allowing for tax deductible, charitable contributions. The Society is expected to be filing within the next couple of weeks. The RCP is not seeking 501c3 status but is focused on staying at the state nonprofit level.
A press release states the RCP and the Historical Society have asked to privately fundraise and seek grants to fund the project, and that questions in the survey about taxes, millages and spending priorities could be confusing. “While these are issues residents should care about, they really hold no relevance to this project. It’s critical for every resident to understand that raising taxes or establishing a millage increase to support this project was NEVER part of the discussion” said RCP President Sara Dollman-Jersey.
Supporters have been going door to door talking to residents and gathering signatures as evidence for interest in preserving the building. Their stated goal is to move it to the new Township property.
Supervisor Mike Cunningham tells WHMI “The Old Town House is not going away and does not need to be saved”. He says the survey was worded to address the different scenarios which are to keep it where it is, move it, or sell it to the Historical Society and let them work with a group to handle the fundraising and relocation.
Cunningham says they have a small group making some noise about moving the old town house and the township board wanted to find out if the rest of their residents felt the same way or wanted it to stay where it is currently located. He noted that one question in the survey does pertain to a millage because future costs associated with upkeep and maintenance may need a contingency plan and they cannot rely on a fundraising effort that has not occurred.
The RCP press release and the township survey that went out are attached.