By Dean Vaglia
Leader Staff Writer
The Addison Township Board of Trustees approved the township library’s site plan at its Monday, March 22 meeting.
Made unanimously, the board’s vote is the culmination of four months of discussions between the library and the township. The board had several housekeeping details and items it wanted to secure from the site plan.
“They did not want a sign with LEDs,” James Baldiga, Addison Township Public Library Board of Trustees president, said. “There was a question about what time our parking lot lights would be shut off … We ended up having to move the septic tank 8 feet over. Nothing dramatic.”
The township board’s approval clears a major hurdle in the library’s development process, but there is still much to do before shovels enter the ground.
“At our next meeting we are going to look at the initial calendar of milestones,” Baldiga said. “The one thing we are going to establish at that meeting is the date for our ceremonial groundbreaking, and I would like that no later than June. The place is going to be a mess once we start working; we need 11,000 yards of fill. The plan is to have a ceremonial groundbreaking at the site of where the new building is going to be, which right now is wooded.”
Other steps that need to be taken include installing silt fences, laying down mud mats and cutting down trees. The library site, located across Rochester Rd. from the current library’s location and other Addison Township facilities, is heavily wooded. A 2019 clearing project removed around 25-30% of the trees from the site.
The approval of the site plan is the most recent breakthrough for the library project and comes fresh off of the library receiving $500,000 in federal support due to U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) including it as part of a $1.5 trillion appropriations bill signed earlier in March. The attention brought by such a large public donation has helped drive private donations to the library.
“As a board we set a budget for the library for the year, and we do that in August or September,” Baldiga said. “Back in August or September the money from congress was not a sure thing, so we were conservative in our estimate as to how much money we would bring in from bricks. We said we were going to sell $1,000 worth of bricks in 2022 … We sold $1,000 in bricks in four days after the news [of the funding.]”
The project has yet to reach its $1.3 million goal and is still seeking out monetary, material and labor donations.
“We are still going to need a loan, and the donations are going to offset the amount of money we have to borrow,” Baldiga said. “I am in touch with some banks, some credit unions, I have got a call into the USDA in Lansing; there is a rural commercial loan [program] that can apply to libraries. The goal now for me, as the president, is to secure the rest of the funding in the form of a loan.”
More information about and ways to donate to the Addison Township Public Library project can be found at www.letsbuildalibrary.org. Brick donations end Oct. 31.
By Dean Vaglia