|Thumbs up for Borden|
Thumbs up for Borden - Morning Sun
By STEVE COON
Nearly a century after it first appeared in the Mt. Pleasant skyline, the Borden Building will live again, as City Hall. By a nearly 2-1 margin, city voters approved the sale of City Hall with the intent of moving city offices to a renovated Borden Building. That gives a green light to the entire West Broadway Revitalization Project, which pairs a redevelopment of the Borden Building with a new retail and condo development on an adjacent lot."I'm ecstatic," Mt. Pleasant Mayor Adam Miller said. "This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for the city to save a national historic landmark and create a true economic infusement for our economy." "I'm thrilled to see this community had the vision to go through the incredible amount of information associated with this project and made this decision," said Greg Saxton, project manager for the site's developer, J.E. Johnson Group of Midland. Voters approved the project by a 65-35 percent margin (1,746-930). In the seven city precincts, 24 percent of registered voters turned out. Only one precinct" Ganiard " checked in with a vote of less than 60 percent in favor of the project. That precinct favored it by a 53-47 percent margin (217-192.) Five other precincts favored it by the 2-1 margin or better. The most support came from the City Hall precinct, which was 75-25 (334-112) in favor. "I'm incredibly pleased (by the turnout)," Miller said. "I recognize that a large number of voters of city voters are excited about the project and came out to make their voices heard." "I was very pleased in the decision of the public for the Borden Building," City Commissioner Keith Spycher said. "I was overwhelmed at the number of people who voted." Total projected costs for both the renovation of the Borden Building and the new development next door is about $14 million. Of that total, the City Hall portion of the Borden Building is $6 million. Saxton said now that the vote has passed, a 60-day negotiating period kicks in for Johnson and the city to iron out final details on a contract. He said residents can expect work on the renovation to begin in mid-January. The Johnson Group agreed to an option to buy the Borden Building and the adjoining property in the fall of 2003. After failing to attract private development, Johnson approached the city in January about moving City Hall there. City commissioners in July agreed to move City Hall to the Borden Building, pending voter approval of the sale of the current City Hall.