• Jordan D. Smith

Portland Twp Prepares to Build Township Hall

For decades, the Portland Township hall has been located in the emergency services building on Grand River Ave. The building is shared with the Portland Police Department, Portland Ambulance Department, and Portland Area Fire Authority. Needless to say things can get crowded with so many under one roof. That situation is set to change as the township board prepares plans to build their own township hall.

At the December board meeting held at the emergency services building, the board heard public comment on the plans to build a township hall. The new facility is to be built on land the township purchased on Grand River Ave. just west of the Portland City Limits adjacent to the Tricounty Collision. The 31-acre plot extends south to Knox road where it also has frontage.

The township has chosen this plot for the new hall based on its location on a paved road. The land was purchased for $400,000 and was paid for in cash. Another plot of land previously purchased by the township for around $80,000 on Barnes Road will be put up for sale. In the past few months, board members have visited a number of mid-Michigan township halls to gather inspiration for designing and building a facility to suit the needs of area residents.

The board heard presentations from several potential general contractors to manage the project. Weiland general contractors who build the new Sparrow Medical Group is one condeder who presented. Wieland also noted that they were the contractor for the restoration of the Portland United Methodist Church following the tornado of 2015. Cornerstone Custom Homes also presented to the board. While newly established, the owner of this business formerly worked for a contractor who worked on area projects such as the new building for ESI Heating and Cooling on Grand River Ave. At this point in the project

At this point little is certain besides the location. “The main thing is that it meet the needs of the township,” said Township Supervisor Christian Jensen. Discussions about whether the hall will be designed for primarily civic needs like board meetings and elections or whether it will also be built with other uses is still a matter for deliberation according to Jensen. Some township halls are built with rental uses in mind and have kitchens while others do not. Township leaders are also considering the relocation of Portland Township’s recycling center to the new property. The center is currently located at Municipal Supply.

While the township has long partnered with City of Portland on many services including their township hall, and ambulance services for instance, the move to their own facility does not mark the end of that partnership. Jensen says that it is possible that the new hall may possibly be able to link to the city utilities. That is an issue still under discussion with city officials. In addition, the township has been considering partnering with the Portland Area Services Group to move their operations from downtown to the new township hall. Adequate accessible parking is a continuing issue for the senior center which could be addressed in building a new facility. If that comes to pass the township hall would also be designed with the needs of a senior/community center in mind as well. As the process of planning continues, board member Mark Simon encouraged residents to contact their township board members with questions or input.

PHOTO: Google Maps

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