Thursday, April 5, 2012

Peeling paint a problem for Douglas

Paint is peeling off the walls outside of Douglas City Hall.

Douglas Councilwoman Lisa Greenwood had some frank words about the outside appearance of city hall.

“It looks like shit,” she told the other council members Monday.

Paint is peeling off the wood outside the 137-year-old building known as Dutcher Lodge at 86 W. Center St. Douglas purchased the building for $60,000 in 1990 and it was condemned six months later. Renovations began in 2001 and government services moved into the building in 2002.

“It just really looks crummy,” said Councilwoman Martha Hoexter about the paint. “If we have to bite the bullet and sell our souls, we have to do something.”

The eternal essence of man might not be the price, but the council will have to make some tough decisions about funding and different buildings in the city.

The roof of the police station is leaking and City Manager Bill LeFevere is waiting on bids to repair it. The city has budgeted $10,000 for that fix, said Treasurer Robert Drexler.

After the police station is handled, LeFevere will have recommendations for city hall — probably repainting the two worst sides of the building.

Known as Dutcher Lodge, the city hall was built in 1875 for $1,400 by area Masons and named after Thomas B. Dutcher the first worshipful master. It was enlarged in 1902. The village council used the building for meetings and village elections and celebrated its centennial in it in 1966. It also housed the first fire department.

For many years the Masons charged the village 50 cents per night plus firewood to use the building.

Dutcher Lodge was named a Michigan Historical site in 1995.

Another side of Douglas City Hall.

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