By Teddy Rydquist
Leader Staff Writer
Closed since mid-March because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s “Safer-at-Home” Executive Order, the township offices in Addison and Oxford appear to be nearing re-opening to the public.
“We’re excited to open again,” Addison Township Supervisor Bruce Pearson began.
“The Governor originally pointed to June 12, which is a Friday, as the day to re-open. There was some lack of clarity about which time of day she meant, she seems to keep moving the goalpost on us, so I told my staff, Monday, June 15 is our date to open back up to the public.”
Upon the re-opening of Addison Township’s offices on June 15, there will be some protocols taken for residents looking to come inside and pay a bill or speak to any township representative.
“We’re going to have it set up where residents can call us when they get here, when they’re in the parking lot,” Pearson explained.
“Then, we’ll come let them in, one at a time, and we encourage people to wear masks when they enter the building.”
Despite the roughly two-and-a-half months of closure and limits on face-to-face business, the Addison Township offices, located at 1440 Rochester Road in Leonard, have been able to keep humming like usual.
“We’re up to speed right now as far as the essential work,” Pearson shared. “Especially the election department, they’ve been working here because they’re essential work.
“We’re not going to be completely caught up, but we will be prepared to keep helping our citizens when they do come in.
“I have a very good board. Our last meeting in March, that was the time when everything was hitting. We prepared and the board gave us emergency powers to keep the place running and everything like that. We met this last Monday (June 1) and everything worked out well for us, considering nobody knew where the goalpost was going to be and everything changing day-to-day.”
Pearson started serving Addison Township in 1979 working in law enforcement. Even with over four decades of experience serving the community, these last few months have been a unique journey.
“When I took over (2008), it was during the recession, one of our country’s worst since the (Great) Depression. We prepared for that and came through it with flying colors. This one, we managed as we got the information and, so far, it looks like we’ve come out with flying colors on this one, too.”
The Oxford Township offices, stationed at 300 Dunlap Road, are planning a similar approach. Working on formulating their re-opening plan, the plan will appear before the Board of Trustees for discussion and a vote at their regular meeting tonight (Wednesday).
If approved by Supervisor Bill Dunn and his fellow trustees, Oxford Township plans on re-opening for in-person traffic at 8 a.m., Thursday, June 11, four days ahead of their original planned June 15 opening.
Additionally, Oxford Township, and the Village of Oxford, have taken steps to help their residents in need during this shutdown. Senior citizens (age 60 and older) and individuals with underlying health conditions having difficulty obtaining food or other essential items can call the township at 248-462-9997.
Oxford Township will connect you with Oxford/Orion FISH, Meals on Wheels, or a church in the area.
By Teddy Rydquist