BOC approves bank, office demolition

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

BELLAIRE – During its evening meeting of Thursday, Aug. 15, Antrim County's Board of Commissioners approved several budget amendments, including a controversial amendment for another engineering study intended to help solve the county's VHF radio problems; agreed after a heated discussion to leave the county's financial director as a stand-alone position; and by a narrow margin approved a motion to pay half the costs of a performance bond to the contractor approved to undertake demolition of the former bank and professional office building purchased for $530,000 by the county in 2017.

Approval of the $1,525 in funds, an insurance policy guaranteeing that the work the county has contracted for with Bay City's Dore & Associates will be done to the county's satisfaction, means that demolition of the Cayuga Street building can get underway soon.

In favor of the payment were Commissioners Jason Helwig, Christian Marcus, Brenda Ricksgers, Karen Bargy, and chair Ed Boettcher, while Commissioners Josh Watrous, David Heeres, Dawn LaVanway, and Terry VanAlstine voted against the measure.

County administrator Pete Garwood said that he expects work to begin after Sept. 1 with abatement work to remove any lead or asbestos in the buildings, with full demolition to take place sometime between Sept. 11 and Sept. 15. 

"Everything should be all done and cleaned up by the end of October," Garwood said. 

The county's insurance company allowed the board to choose between restoration or demolition after the buildings suffered significant water damage last winter. 

The insurance company will reimburse the county for the expected $136,225 in demolition costs, with the county absorbing the cost of topsoil and grass seed.            

According to a recent media release from Garwood's office, the buildings were purchased as a "forward thinking move" for "possible future expansion of existing facilities as well as parking."

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