City to re-roof, raze part of 133 E. Mill St. building

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The vacant building at 133 E. Mill St. will be getting a new roof – and losing its back half.

The City Council voted to spend $65,770 in contingency funds for the two projects at 133 E. Mill St., which the city purchased in foreclosure earlier this year for $16,500.

The vote was unanimous, with council members Greg Hildebrand and Jim Sedlacek absent.

But Alderman Jim Faller first raised some concerns about the city spending money on the empty building without any immediate prospect for return.

“133 E. Mill St. would be considered an eyesore in Detroit,” Faller commented. “I think we’re throwing good money after bad. I think a bulldozer is probably recommended.”

The council accepted a bid of $40,970 from Kaltenbrunn Brothers of Sheboygan to reroof the building and a bid of $24,800 to demolish the addition to the rear of the building.

City Administrator Brian Yerges related that the city had obtained a raze order several years ago for the building, which has been vacant for a number of years, and then proceeded to purchase the building after it was foreclosed with the hope of finding a buyer/ developer for it.

The two projects were recommended by the council’s Finance and Personnel Committee.

Committee chair Shawn Marcom noted that professional opinion on the building is that it is basically in very sound shape.

“What we have to do is preserve the interior from deteriorating any more,” Marcom explained.

“The building certainly can be saved. You will never get that look back if you destroy that building. We’re getting nothing for it (if it is torn down) and Mill Street will not be the same,” Marcom continued.

Faller pointed out that the building needs window along with other additional work and asked what the city hoped to get if it sells the building. “Right now it looks like a hellhole,” he commented.

“What we can expect to get out of the building we can’t say, but if we lose that building we’d be losing something very important along Mill Street,” Alderman David Williams responded. He termed the project costs minimal and said they, “will give us time to take a look at other options.”

“This is one step in trying to recreate a downtown that is attractive,” Alderman John Nelson added. “It is a beautiful building if you look at the facade. If we lost that building, it is a piece that would be lost forever. We could never replace that. I see it as an investment in the future.”

“We need to participate in the downtown, show we as a city are interested in the downtown, we have a commitment to the downtown,” Mayor Donald Pohlman stated.

The Finance and Personnel Committee also recommended spending $2,600 to take down the garage at 31 E. Mill St., another vacant building the city has taken possession of.

But that item was not on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting, so the council had to postpone action on that project.

The council authorized the mayor and city administrator to award contracts for the new reservoir to the lowest bidder when bids are opened today (June 26).

The council had planned to meet in a special session to consider the bids after they were opened, but a quorum could not be guaranteed. Instead, the contract will be awarded if the lowest bid is under the $1.25 million budgeted.

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