Benzonia Township Will Decide On New Township Building
Benzonia Township voters will decide on a $3.5 million bond proposal, Tuesday. The bond is for a new township fire/medical first response station and township offices.
The average cost for a property with a taxable value of $100,000 would be $73 a year.
“We’re cramped here all the way around,” says township supervisor, Jason Barnard. “We’re cramped, especially here at the fire department. But township offices are aren’t that large either.”
Barnard says they hardly have enough room to host the community for meetings or events.
More people are choosing to stay in the area year-round creating more needs for services.
“There’s been a progressive increase over the past four or five years of those calls being increased,” says Benzonia Township Fire Chief Steve Adams. “The community’s actually calling upon us and needing us more than what we were in the past.”
The current building, built in the forties, has been added on to twice to make room for equipment and vehicles, but no more space can be added. A new facility would also allow the community to use the space with a kitchen, and training room.
“The building would also act as an emergency shelter, which we don’t currently have for this area. It would also serve as a public space for people to use for weddings and for different gatherings,” says Barnard.
A similar bond proposal failed, by a few votes, ten years ago. That didn’t stop the township from making plans for a new space.
“The need hasn’t gone anywhere,” says Barnard. “We’ve been planning since then, if not before, and this particular situation has been in the works for at least four, four and a half years now, and that includes like renderings trying to figure out location. We bought our property almost three years ago. And just in knowing that this was coming at some point and we’d have that ready to go.”
If the bond passes, construction is projected to start in 2022. Contractors are currently hard to find though, and supply chain issues have been a concern for people looking to build. The township is ready, come what may, and has already looked into the change in costs.
“We came up with these numbers a year ago and definitely double checked before putting this forward,” says Barnard. “We could still pay for what we’re planning to do with that number and we believe we can.”
For information on elections visit Benzonia Township’s website, or for general information, 9&10 News election page.