ALMONT — The demolition of the village's century-old water tower could be the precursor to razing the old fire hall, located on the adjacent village property. And that could mean more parking space for downtown businesses and customers.
For some time, village officials have expressed an interest in tearing down the old fire hall to create extra parking spaces behind businesses along W. Van Dyke.
However, those plans were contingent on the Almont Township Board's willingness to sign ownership of the old hall back over to the Village. That contingency now appears to have been met.
Almont Twp. Supervisor Paul Bowman said the township board has agreed to return the building back to the Village, ending speculation that the fire department would continue to store a fire truck at the former site.
The old Almont Township Fire Hall located downtown may be razed to provide parking. photo by Tom Wearing.
Bowman said he intends to draft a letter to Almont Village Manager Gerald Oakes as early as this week, stating the township's decision to relinquish ownership of the old hall.
"It's been approved through board motion to put it back in the village's hands," said Bowman. "There was still (fire department) property that had to be cleaned out of there. By next week, the fire department will have vacated the village."
The new Almont Township Fire Hall is located at the corner of Tubspring and Howland roads, the geographical center of the township. The township fire department serves both the village and township.
Almont Downtown Development Authority Director Nancy Boxey is anxious to proceed with long- range plans that benefit the downtown district—including parking behind businesses on the west side of Van Dyke.
"I know the DDA is excited to move forward with a parking plan," said Boxey. "Before we do anything, we want to get design assistance to deal with the infrastructure there.
"We want to make the best possible use of that space," she said. "We don't want to just lay some asphalt down. We want to make it aesthetically appealing for customers, and to encourage business owners to make facade improvements to the rear of their buildings."