By Rosemary Horvath
An estimated $2.6 million Hayes Township development project is moving forward, according to Township Supervisor Terry Acton.
The township will put the project out for construction bids July 1.
Plans were not waylaid by residents calling for a referendum. The township solicited signatures seven weeks straight but only received three signatures compared to the 358 required to have a ballot proposal.
It was a good sign residents are open to the changes, Acton said. However, the township board is giving constituents another opportunity to participate in the decision-making process.
In an unprecedented move, all bids will be opened at a special town hall meeting in mid August. A date will be announced.
“The proposal will not go to a ballot but we will involve the public. We do have a limit and can cut back,” the supervisor said.
The plan is to raze the existing township hall and offices on Townline Road. This will create a clear vision for a refurbished and enlarged multi-purpose Civic Center building to be renamed the Hayes Township Complex.
The Civic Center redo includes constructing township offices at one end and a commercial kitchen at the other.
The building has been shuttered for more than a year. Carbon monoxide was detected leaking from four of the six furnaces and had sickened workers.
Instead of razing the building, officials decided to build upon the building’s steel structure and gym floor foundation. There will be new roof, insulation and siding. The mechanical room will be furnished on a second level.
The township board wants the building energy efficient, possibly to the extent of the Clare County Transit Center which was constructed with LED lighting, geothermal, wind and solar.
Additionally, the proposal calls for leveling the parking lot and having a section of high ground lowered to eliminate traffic blind spots off East Townline Road.
Acton said the township has been approved for a low-interest loan from USDA Rural Development. The township has reworked the budget and eliminated some benefits for past and present officials in order to repay the loan.
Around 70 residents attended a special meeting last December. Architects Goudreau & Associates presented a video display of three proposals. A majority present chose the final proposal.