Tyrone Officials Debate Old Town Hall Solutions
June 21, 2021
By Mike Kruzman & Jon King / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tyrone Township Board of Trustees continues to discuss the potential fate of the old town hall building, while members of a grassroots community group feel they’re being ignored.
When the township moved offices last year and sold their old one, the sale included the original Town Hall building that dates back to the 1800s. Recently that building has seen renewed interest in its preservation by several citizens and the group, Residents for Community Preservation. If it were to be used, the building would need work that includes a new roof, front and back stairs, electrical rewiring, and mold control.
At last week’s meeting of the Board of Trustees, two options were put out for discussion. Option one was to sell it to the township Historical Society and let them take over. Option two included an offer from the new property owner to keep it and open it up to the public roughly four times a year.
Trustee Herman Ferguson was strongly against the second option, saying he’s talked to hundreds of citizens and they want to be able to use it more than four times a year. Ferguson and Supervisor Mike Cunningham then got into a heated verbal exchange on whether or not the structure itself was accessible to trustees to examine and exactly who had keys to get inside. When Ferguson repeatedly disputed Cunningham on whether or not he had requested keys, Cunningham gaveled him down as being out of order.
During public comment, several residents spoke about their desires to preserve the building, and with it, a valuable piece of history and their heritage. A couple of residents were dismayed that much of the discussion around the building kept coming back to money, saying they shouldn’t look at what it will cost the township, but instead what it will gain the township.
Sara Dollman-Jersey of RCP continued to ask that the Board of Trustees meet with them. She says they have a multi-phase proposal that moves the building to the current town hall site where it sits as a "sort-of jewel" amid a pavilion, trails, and small park. However, she says township officials refuse to meet with the group or give them a spot on the agenda.
The Board of Trustees did reach a consensus to price out and then develop language for a survey. Questions coming to residents will gauge their interest in preserving the building and possibly opinions on how any improvements should be funded. Those will be decided at a special meeting of the board this afternoon at 5pm.