The town of Royalton is buying a building for a new town hall.
The town board voted 2-1 Thursday, July 10, to purchase the property at E6132 State Highway 54 for $112,750 and was scheduled to meet again Tuesday, July 15, to provide earnest money for the purchase.
Royalton is buying the property, which was referred to as the former Faskell’s Gun Shop, from Bill Block. The town is paying cash for it.
Town Chairman Duane Bork and Town Supervisor Marlyn Ebert voted in favor of the purchase, while Town Supervisor Alvin Thiel voted against it.
The town is buying the western portion of the building that sits off the highway.
“It’s surveyed out as two separate parcels,” Bork said.
The square footage of the part Royalton will have is about 40 feet by 115 feet, he said. It is on a two-acre parcel and has parking both in the front and back. It includes a garage.
The deal with Block includes the building being retrofitted to include a meeting room, a couple of small offices, a fireproof storage area and a kitchenette, for the purchase price, Bork said.
“So when we take it over, it will be a turnkey operation,” he said.
When asked how soon Royalton could be in its new town hall, Bork said it could be fairly soon, noting the seller at one point said he could have the building ready within 60 days.
Build or buy
Royalton’s current town hall at E5785 White Lake Road was built in 1910.
It measures about 25 feet by 37 feet, Bork said.
The hall is used for voting and has no water or restrooms. That has been one of the biggest issues, he said.
The lack of parking there is another issue, according to Bork.
On the ballot in April 2010 was a nonbinding referendum that asked voters whether the town should build a new town hall on town property located at E5861 White Lake Road.
The estimated cost was $275,000, and the referendum was defeated with 58 voting for it and 116 voting against it.
At Royalton’s annual meeting in April 2013, residents in attendance voted to authorize the town board to spend up to $160,000 for a building for a town hall.
Bork said the town board did consider another building that was for sale.
That was a building on State Highway 110, off of State Highway 54, that is now a cafe called the Land of Ahhhs.
When the decision was made to look at the building on State 54 the town is now buying, a committee formed, Bork said.
The committee, chaired by Town Treasurer Pat Craig, looked at the building and listed what would need to be done to make it work for the town.
During last week’s meeting, Craig told the board it needed to decide whether it wanted to buy the building or not.
The discussion on the issue lasted about an hour and included Ebert presenting an estimate of $115,000 to $135,000 to build a 50-by-28 building on the town’s property.
He sought that estimate after the the proposal to purchase the former Faskell’s Gun Shop building was presented during the June 12 town meeting.
“It’s time to make a decision and commit to it,” Bork said during last week’s meeting. “I want to get something done.”
He made a motion to buy the building on State 54.
His motion died after there was not a second on it, and Ebert then made a motion to get as many as five bids for a building project.
That motion also died when no one seconded it.
Ebert favored a new building, and when Thiel was asked his opinion, he explained that he did not see the need to build or buy a building.
About eight people attended the meeting. Several of them commented on the issue, saying the town could make a nice hall out of the State 54 building and said it would cost less than constructing a new one.
Ebert said he could not deny it is a good deal but said it is still an older building.
“I’d love to see a new building on the land we bought for it,” he said.
He believes many town residents also do.
Craig said those she talks to think the one-acre parcel is too small.
Ebert then made a motion to buy the building on State 54, which Bork seconded.