IMLAY CITY — Lamb-Steele Board members spent more than two hours this week discussing the city's intention to move the police department into the Lamb-Steele Building.
While there was general receptiveness to the idea of moving the department into the building's lower level, board chairman Dick Jurn suggested the first-floor rooms could still be rented out as medical offices.
Jurn recommended that the board advertise the empty space in major newspapers once a week for a period of three months, in a last-ditch effort to find a tenant.
Lamb-Steele Board chairman Dick Jurn sits in what was formerly the waiting room for doctors from McLaren Medical Center. He hopes the facility can again be used as doctor’s offices. photo by Tom Wearing.
The building's lower level once housed doctors from Lapeer Regional Hospital, and was later rented out by the McLaren Medical Center.
"It's a shame that this can't remain a medical building," said Jurn. "It's already set up for medical offices.
"I proposed the idea of trying to rent it out again," he said, "but the rest of the board didn't go along with that. I couldn't get anyone to make a motion."
Jurn noted that providing medical space was the intent of the late Zola Lamb's will, who bequeathed the money for construction of the facility.
"I had a copy of the original will," said Jurn. "She (Lamb) wanted it to be used as a hospital or for medical facilities. It didn't say anything about a police department going into that building."
City Manager Amy Planck, who favors moving the police department into the former medical offices, said the city had tried to rent out the space for some time and was unsuccessful.
"The consensus is that we have already done that and it hasn't been fruitful," said Planck. "They really didn't have a lot of objections, but some thought we had not exhausted our efforts to get a tenant in there."
Mayor Rodney Warner, who also serves on the Lamb-Steele Board, believes there is overall support for the plan.
"I think most feel it's a rational idea," he said.
Planck noted that new police Chief John Stano has toured the facility and will likely make some recommendations regarding its possible occupancy and use by the police department.
Stano is expected to be in attendance at the city commission's next meeting on Tues., March 18.