Renovation nearly complete at township offices

ARCADIA TWP. — It was a big job that’s not completely done but Arcadia Township officials are getting settled into their newly renovated hall and office and enjoying the freshened up space. The work started back in the summer and wrapped up in late 2018.

“It was really needed. We’re happy we could do this for our residents,” said Treasurer Lisa Skovran.

The project encompassed everything from a new front entrance and lobby area to an expanded rental hall space with a new kitchen. Later this year, some exterior painting will be done and new office furniture will be purchased to wrap up the renovation.

The clerk, treasurer, assessor and supervisor now all have their own offices plus space for their deputy officials too.

“Four of us used to share one room and providing privacy was difficult,” said Clerk Sharna Smith.

“Our new setup is more professional and it allows us to better interact with residents.”

The hall, available for residents to rent for special occasions like baby showers and graduation open houses, was completely renovated and expanded. Smith said after bumping out some walls, the hall’s occupancy jumped from 72 to 104. There’s a new kitchen space with updated appliances and a new entrance too.

The newly expanded space will be ideal for the fire department who hosts a benefit spaghetti dinner in May. Smith notes that in years past, they’ve had to set up tables in both the township and fire halls.

Clerk Sharna Smith (right) and deputy clerk Katie Jostock are enjoying their new office space in the recently renovated Arcadia Township Hall. photo by Maria Brown.

“Our residents seem to be very excited about the hall. It’s a nice space for them to have,” Skovran said.

What was the former kitchen space is now a conference room. Smith said the board intends to use that as their regular meeting space. The building also now has air conditioning.

During the bulk of the work, the township moved into an office trailer, from late June to early December. Smith utilized the adjoining fire hall for the primary election in August and received a temporary occupancy permit for the township hall for November’s general election.

Arcadia officials say they’re grateful to local businessman Marty Wolfe who let them store their furniture and other items in a garage in downtown Lum.

Township officials said the work has been needed for some time and they’ve been setting aside funds for the last 10 years in anticipation of this project.

Smith said they first considered doing some upgrades in 2007 but that was during the height of the recession and the timing didn’t feel appropriate since “it was tough for people to stay in their own homes,” she said.

The township board allocated $500,000 for the renovation and they project they’ll be able to stick to that budget.

Smith said they credit their contractor, DCC Construction of Davison, for keeping that budget top of mind during the project.

“We were really, really happy with them. They were great people to work with and we were happy to stay as local as possible,” Smith said.

Skovran said the board is pleased they didn’t need to borrow funds or consider raising taxes for the work.

“Now we can start saving for the next project” Smith added.

This summer some exterior painting work is planned with the goal to match the hall and fire hall color-wise. In the meantime, staff will continue unpacking boxes and finding just the right spot to decorate the still bare walls. Smith said eventually they’ll feature old photos of downtown Lum and an old Lum train depot sign.

Arcadia Township offices, located at 4900 Spencer St., are open 12-4 p.m. on Mondays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays.