BOC to consider demolition of former bank building, allows chair to sign letter for hydrology study

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Photo by Linda Gallagher

Antrim County Operator of Dams Mark Stone (pictured asked Antrim County's Board of Commissioners during the board's evening meeting of Thursday, March 21 to authorize board chair Ed Boettcher to sign a letter of interest to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers indicating its interest in applying for U.S. Army Corps grant funds for a proposed hydrology study of the Chain Of Lakes watershed. If done, the study would serve as a pre-requisite to other possible funding that the county might be able to qualify for in an effort to curb flooding on the chain. 


BELLAIRE – Before once again taking up the controversial topic of appointing a new member of the Veterans Affairs committee, the Antrim County Board of Commissioners took care of a number of other business items during its evening meeting of Thursday, March 21.

Two of those items included directing county administrator Peter Garwood to obtain quotes for possible demolition of a building the county purchased less than two years ago, and approving a motion to allow board chair Ed Boettcher to sign a letter of interest required for a grant application to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a hydrology study.

The idea of considering demolition of the former Citizens Bank building on Cayuga Street in downtown Bellaire – which the county purchased in the spring of 2017 – arose when Garwood told a dismayed board that maintenance department head David Vitale had recently discovered water pouring through the roof of the former bank building during his annual rounds of county properties.

"Apparently, this occurred when the building's roof drains froze over, forcing the water back onto the roof of the building," Garwood said. "The water had to go somewhere. It ended up going through the roof and pouring into the building."

Garwood went on to say that he had received preliminary estimates of $60,000 to $70,000 just to dry out the building, and that complete repairs of both the roof and damage to the interior of the building – including water-soaked floors and walls – could be excess of $150,000 - $200,000.

After a brief discussion regarding the county's insurance on the building, Boettcher suggested that the board consider demolition.

"Since we still don't know what we're going to do with it, it might be cheaper in the long run to tear it down and make it a public parking lot," said Boettcher, the former owner of a construction company. "The village needs more parking."

After it was noted that demolition of the building could be equally costly, Garwood was directed to obtain exact estimates of both repairs and demolition. As a portion of the building that is currently being rented was unaffected by the water damage, estimates will be sought for tearing down only the damaged areas. The administrator was also asked to find out if insurance could help to buffer the cost of demolition.

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