OUR VIEW: Responsibly recycling history in Edmore


By Daily News • Last Updated 9:37 am on Wednesday, December 05, 2012

So many old buildings are going the way of the dinosaur. Most recently, it was announced the former Gibson buildings in downtown Belding are set to be demolished by Electrolux, including the original silk mill and other buildings, the oldest of which have stood since 1903.

So we were pleased to report an update about the ongoing progress of another historic local site — the former General Bag Corp. building and property in Edmore.

The Edmore Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is developing the property into a four-season shopping outlet at the Fred Meijer Heartland Trailhead. Improvements are being partially funded by a nearly $60,000 Department of Agriculture Development Grant as part of the Farmers Market Promotion Program.

The location already includes a large picnic pavilion, restroom facilities and the old 30,000-square-foot bag factory building, which will one day be transformed into 40-some shops, which will feature turn-of-the-century merchandise, crafts and hand-crafted products.

Edmore officials have been able to hire local people to do much of the work, including Foors Services Inc. in Vestaburg, as well as Amish woodworkers from the Edmore area.

Recycling a historic building, hiring local workers and keeping the money in Montcalm County? We love when that happens.

We also appreciate the steady, longterm outlook with which Edmore officials are approaching this project. The goal of having a year-round market on the property will not likely be a reality for six or seven years, maybe longer, depending on whether a grant is approved for the village.

The Edmore DDA is not idly waiting on grant approval before taking action. They have already squirreled away $150,000 in their general fund reserve, which can be used as the required 20 percent match of the grant funding of up to $750,000.

“We’re keeping things stable and financially sound, making sure that we keep making steady progress,” DDA President Jack Miller said. “We don’t want to overstep our finances. Like any project, it has to be sustaining in some form. Our goal is to make sure that it’s going to work and that it’s sustainable and will endure for the long run.”

In this age of accessible credit cards and buy-it-now mentality, it’s refreshing to see an old-fashioned building being saved the old-fashioned way — with common sense.

 

Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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