Bates Hall preservation project advances to ‘Phase II’

The Bates Township Board voted unanimously last week to move the project along to “Phase II”
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 7:54 PM EDT
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BATES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WLUC) - The Bates Township Hall restoration project has officially entered Phase II since the Bates Township Board voted unanimously last week to move the project along.

The Bates Hall Preservation Society can now solicit bids from contractors for the project.

“There will be about eight different types of bids. One for the basement, digging the foundation, the electrical, the contractor for building and more,” said Margee Brennan, Bates Hall Preservation Society chairperson.

This comes over a year and a half after Brennan helped create the Bates Hall Preservation Society to restore the building.

The society raised over $150,000 in fundraising efforts during Phase I. Built-in 1907, Brennan said the building’s foundation is unstable. Her vision for the project includes moving the hall away from the highway.

“Since it was built, the highway, Bates-Amasa Road has been built up and up,” Brennan said. “We have gotten all the snow and salt into the basement. If you go into the basement, you could push your thumb through some of the walls.”

Brennan hopes to break ground on the new basement on April 1. To many community members, including those who work for the township, the historic hall is more than just a building.

“Some of my family were some of the first settlers here,” said Barbara Benson-Stafford, Bates Township clerk. “Some of my early relatives served on the board... I feel a sentimental connection to the hall as well. There is a lot of history here. As long as there is community interest and excitement in this project, I think we should go forward with it.”

The preservation society is made up of six volunteers including Brennan and she hopes to acquire more grant money for funding this winter.