Hayes Township Opens New Civic Center Without Tax Increase

A Clare County community has a new civic center after years of little maintenance and burst pipes forced the old community center to shut down.

It houses government offices along with all kinds of amenities for the public.

Hayes Township says it’s happy to have something like this in Harrison — and equally happy about the way they financed it all.

“We did this project through redoing our budget. There is no tax increase, there is no mileage or tax increase of any kind,” said Hayes Township Supervisor Terry Acton.

Two years and one smart budgeting strategy later, Hayes Township has a new gathering place.

Budget cuts and a 2.6 million dollar loan serviced by the Department of Agriculture allowed the center to be built.

Acton says it’s been a long road that he’s glad ended in a new building without all the problems.

“The older buildings were in such bad shape that we were repeatedly having pipes that froze,” Acton said.
“Last year, the pipes froze and ended up costing us over 20,000 dollars in damage.”

With geothermal heating and a generator — this could actually save money.

They expect lower heating bills, fewer problems and better service.

“We will serve as Clare County’s premier emergency shelter. We have showers, the ability to provide hot food, hot soup, coffee and shelter.”

The gym and basketball court will open to the public over the winter.

Good news for local Mike Haley, who would like to avoid cabin fever this year.   

“I workout a lot by myself, and that’s not really by choice. It’s because people are pretty spread out here. But now we have an area where people can interact and talk and get some exercise too,” Haley said.

There’s also a kitchen and an event space available for rent.

The township’s hoping to draw in and create events at the center that will help the community grow around it.

“I’m talking to a company about doing two gun shows here, a quilt show, a snowmobile outfit has gotten a hold of us about possibly doing a snowmobile show here,” Acton said.

Now the center just needs people. The address is 2051 Townline Lake Road Harrison, MI.