By Jef Rietsma
Vicksburg village council members have authorized Frederick Construction to identify the first steps toward a modern village hall.
At its Jan. 17 meeting, the Council authorized an allocation of $17,600 to the Vicksburg company after Village Manager Jim Mallery pointed out three options: build new, renovate and enlarge the existing facility, or purchase and renovate another building to meet the village’s needs.
“This would also include the first step of Frederick’s overseeing surveys from staff and (village) council, in reference to the needs of (an updated) village hall,” Mallery said.
Mallery said he expects a recommendation on how to proceed by the end of April. “Mike (Frederick) and his team would come back and report their findings on these options … report back to the council so we know what options are there, both pros and cons,” he said. “And within each option, as well as receiving a recommendation from Mike as an outside person looking in.”
Village President Tim Frisbie acknowledged the village has been planning a new village hall for an inordinate amount of time.
“It shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise that we’re venturing off into this area to look at a much-needed village hall,” Frisbie said. “This is the first step to see what our options are, what makes the best fiscal sense for the community, and put that in front of the staff and then ultimately in front of us.”
Council member Carl Keller said the issue “has been on my radar since I’ve been on the council.”
“When I joined the council, we were meeting at the Brady Township Hall, which was OK, but it wasn’t in the village … thankfully, we have a facility here that allows us to meet,” he said, referencing the so-called ambulance building near Sunset Lake Elementary on Boulevard Street. “But it isn’t a village-owned property. It’s a privately-held property, which is great that they’re doing that but we don’t have an adequate facility.”
He said the step village council members took Jan. 17 was a scenario of “good, better, best.”
“What we have we know is not adequate. It’s not ADA-compliant (and) we know that,” he added. “So, I look forward to Frederick’s, if this goes through, to get this moving forward so we can start turning shovels (of dirt).”
Mallery said the village owns property north of the water tower on Richardson Street, alluding to the fact that it could be a potential site for a new village hall,
“We used the size and dimension of the village of Schoolcraft’s village hall, because staff went over and toured that and felt that was fairly close to the foundational footprint that we would need for that lot,” Mallery said.
Council member Denny Olson asked what would become of the current village office – bult in the 1950s – once Vicksburg is ready to open a new municipal building.
Mallery said Mike Frederick is expected to prepare a presentation at a future meeting, and go over the pros and cons of the three options. That report would also likely shed insight onto Olson’s question.
Mallery also noted he contacted Schoolcraft village officials and inquired about securing a copy of the building plans for their municipal building. He was given copies of the plan and will hang on to them for a potential design to consider for Vicksburg’s possible new village hall.
He offered a few final thoughts on the matter, commenting specifically on Mike Frederick’s role in the process.
“They’ll look at vacant land, other land that the village owns and provide all of that (information) as well,” Mallery said. “We’ll update the council … staff will work with Mike on that timing and like we said, with the outsourcing of different components of this, to do this thoroughly and in a correct way. It’s certainly our goal to have it as part of our budget presentation process leading up to July 1 (the start of the village’s 2022-23 fiscal year).”
By Jef Rietsma