By Mike Kruzman /

The leader of a local community group is responding to comments made Tuesday by Tyrone Township officials.

The fate of the 19th-century Town House has been in the spotlight over recent months as the non-profit Residents for Community Preservation is seeking to preserve and restore it to a point where the community can again enjoy it. Frustrations between the group and township officials over the process and the speed at which it is taking place have been evident over several Board of Trustees meetings.

This manifested itself last Tuesday when Clerk Marcie Husted read a statement expressing the difficulties she sees in working with the RCP, naming two people she described as members, including founder Sara Dollman-Jersey.

Dollman-Jersey was not present at the meeting and made clear that RCP does not have members, but instead is made up of a board, including herself as president and spokesperson. They also host a Facebook page, but added, "that does not make someone a member." Dollman-Jersey said she was very disappointed by the comments made when she wasn’t there to defend herself. She called Husted’s remarks that were directed at her a “blatant abuse of power. She is an elected official in a formal board meeting with an endless amount of time to make her statement at a meeting in which I was not even present. ” Dollman-Jersey added that “competent leaders don’t pit a community against each other and create conflict. Why this is the path that’s been chosen is puzzling to me. I don’t understand why this has become a conflict instead of a collaborative project.”

She said this was never meant to be conflict-oriented, but rather about the families that live here, and the township does not appear willing to work with them. She told WHMI, “What I’ve witnessed the from the past two months of trying to sit down at the table and work together - the only impression I’m getting is that they really don’t want to move this building for some reason. We’ve been working with the Historical Society to make a plan and proposal that has been ignored, not allowed to be on the agenda, (and we’re) not allowed to get in the building to make a budget or structural assessment. I think it’s being used as leverage to manipulate the residents into believing this is somehow going to cost them money and affect their bottom line.”

Dollman-Jersey said this is being framed as suggesting that taxes, millages, or roads would impact the project, which feels very misleading. She claims that from the start this has been about private funding and grant writing, which would not affect taxes.

Dollman-Jersey also refuted Husted’s questions about the group’s fiscal responsibility by hiring a lawyer during a proposed asphalt plant project. She said folks were scared for their property values and potential pollution and rallied to the extent that they were prepared to enter into a legal battle, if needed, to protect the township. She called it a disappointment that that would be used as “ammunition against the residents that really pulled together in an amazing way to stop something awful.”

Dollman-Jersey said it is shameful the way the community is being treated and she hopes this can be resolved and moved forward in a positive way. Her complete response is posted below.