The WaterWorks buildng was dee...
HOLLY, Michigan – It’s been more than a year since a group of citizens came before Holly Village Council, asking for its blessing in moving forward toward determining what to do with Holly’s historic Waterworks building on S. Broad Street.
Village officials deemed the Waterworks building "unsafe" in 2006 when former Fire Chief Jack Hollands was severely injured after falling through the floor of the old structure.
Perhaps the first public waterworks system in Oakland County dating back to 1869, several members of the community are in favor of exploring ways in which the building can be restored.
Headwaters Trails President, Sue Julian and several other interested citizens initially approached council last year, and were eventually given permission by the council to form an ad hoc committee to explore possible uses for the building.
During the Jan. 10 meeting, several residents voiced their opinions on what should be done, while Julian shared historical information, as well as a few ideas the committee hoped to consider over the next several months.
While the committee met on two separate occasions in 2012, council has yet to receive a formal report or any indications as to what the group thinks should be done with the building.
During the Jan. 22 Village Council meeting, Village President Jason Hughes said he has spoken with Julian, asking if there was any further development on the project.
“I actually reached out to Sue Julian last week since she was sort of heading up that citizens’ committee and I was reporting as liaison for council at the time,” Hughes said. “As reported, we hadn’t met since we had done the building tour back in March – the committee never reconvened.”
Julian told Hughes that there are still at least two ad hoc committee members that she knows of, still interested in moving forward with the project.
“We have to move forward somehow,” Councilwoman Jackie Campbell said, adding that she believes the building has sat dormant long enough. “Number one, you’ve got the village and a liability – we’ve given them several months and several extensions and we can’t keep doing this.”
Councilman Ryan Bladzik made a motion to contact the ad hoc committee, asking them to address the board or submit a report at the next Village Council meeting slated for Feb. 12. With Councilman George Kullis’ support, the motion passed 7-0
During the final public comment segment, two residents spoke specifically about Holly’s historical buildings.
Holding a binder containing the history of Holly’s Waterworks building, John Lauve said there had been no follow through and no decisions made in the last attempt to renovate the building.
“If you want to throw $1,000 in, that’s a lot cheaper than ripping the thing down because of the problems with the dam, the water flow – it’s going to be a nightmare,” he said. “So let’s throw a little money in – I’ll take care of stabilizing the roof, but if you’re going to have more committees, it’s going to take another two months to get a committee together.”
Village resident Marlo Davidson agreed. “I had a dream – I guess that’s an appropriate phrase,” she began. “It’s been 20-plus years that I talked about the same thing you guys are talking about. We’ve got buildings down here in this area that make wonderful places if we could just get something done.”
Davidson praised Lauve for his work in restoring the historic Mill, and for the work he’s done in the past on the train depot.
“We’ve got the Waterworks building that 20 years ago would have made a wonderful spot for families to walk to – all these places are walkable from downtown for families to walk and see history, but now it’s 20-plus years in disrepair,” she said. “I’d love to see these things happen – all these things would help everybody.”