CRYSTAL TOWNSHIP — The Crystal Community Library building was once sold to Crystal Township as a gift for just $1.
However, after years of wear and tear on the building, its purpose as a library will likely be ending soon.
Members of the Crystal Township Board voted unanimously Wednesday to move the library’s location to the Crystal Township Community Center.
Once the two-year contract is approved next month by the Carson City Library Board of Trustees, the library will eventually operate through two adjacent classrooms that were built in the 1962 addition of the community center, located at 217 Park St., with the separating wall being removed.
The township will provide heating, cooling, garbage collection and will also pay all electrical usage associated with the use of the two rooms. In return, the library will pay the township a monthly rental fee of $550 per month.
“A library is a wonderful thing to have here in the community,” Crystal Township Clerk Bob Naumann said. “It’s definitely not a money maker for us, but I don’t think we’ll lose any money. It will be a nicer facility for them here in the community center.”
Naumann said the status of the current building, located at 221 W. Lake St., is very much “up in the air.” He said the building needs “a lot of work,” such as mortar brick work to prevent the building from crumbling. Those expenses, he said, would be too much for the township, which is responsible for maintenance of the building, to incur.
“The alternative for them would be that they don’t want a library here at all,” said Naumann of the library not moving to the community center.
Naumann said the original agreement for the building required that it stay a library, so once the change is made, the building would likely go back to the original owner. However, Naumann said he has been told the original owners have no interest in reacquiring the property.
“Once the library moves, we really don’t know what the fate of the building will be,” he said.
Crystal Township Board Trustee Ted Padgett said he believes the addition of the library to the community center would be an added benefit to community center.
“I think it would increase foot traffic throughout the building on a daily basis,” he said.
Naumann said by operating in the community center, the library will have twice the square footage it has currently in the original building. He said if the township were to charge anything higher than the proposed $550 per month, the library board would likely decline the offer. The township is also willing to provide phone service for an additional $60 per month as well as cleaning services for an additional $500 per month.
Summer police protection
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the township board voted 3-2 to enter into a police protection agreement with the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office from May 1 through Sept. 30. Padgett and Trustee Jason Anderson voted “no.”
The agreement will provide one officer for the township at 40 hours per week. The township will pay the county at a rate of $35.50 per hour.
After the agreement ends, Naumann said the township will be without funds to renew an additional contract with the sheriff’s office and will likely have to seek a millage in the August primary election in order for the township to receive coverage.
Anderson and Padgett said they voted against the agreement because they believe cheaper options for dedicated police coverage in the township could be found elsewhere.
“Personally I think we can look around for different options and I think we’ll get a lot more service for about the same price,” Anderson said.
Naumann said he didn’t disagree, but stated that the township had provided a verbal agreement with the sheriff’s office last December, and because of that, the sheriff’s office was able to “find some extra money” to be able to offer an extra officer for Crystal Township.
“I do think we need to look at what our alternatives are beyond this (agreement),” Naumann said.
In other matters, board members voted unanimously to approve the sale of two trucks through a sealed bid process.
After Naumann opened and announced the 15 sealed bids, board members approved the sale of a 1987 Dodge truck for $1,900 to Perry Carter and the sale of a 2002 Dodge truck, also to Carter, for $2,500.
Bids for the two trucks came in as low as $800, but Carter’s bid’s were both the highest offer for each vehicle.
If Carter declines either bid, the trucks will be sold to the next highest bidder.