Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Douglas City Hall mystery solved: It's poplar

Some of the mysteries surrounding Douglas City Hall have been solved by the contractor who’s been repainting the 137-year-old building. The overall question of how to renovate the building at 86 W. Center St. is still up in the air.

First major discovery: The wood on the outside of the building is poplar. This type of wood absorbs less water and can be harder to paint, Ryan Kilpatrick, community/economic development director, told the Douglas City Council on Monday.

The rotted boards are being replaced with cedar. Other parts of the siding are already cedar, Kilpatrick said.

Second big find: There is insulation in the walls. It’s cellulose. Where boards are being replaced, dry insulation is being installed.

The current work on the building should be good for five years, Kilpatrick said.

The council hired Vander Meulen Builders of Holland to scrape and replace the damaged boards and paint the exterior for $33,000.

Paint is peeling off the wood outside the building known as Dutcher Lodge. 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.

Council members know the quick work this summer won’t solve the problems with the building, but hope a new coat of paint will hide the problems long enough to get the building properly repaired in three to five years.

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