LETTER TO THE EDITOR: On the future of a museum building

To the Editor:

The Lake County Historical Society has been at work creating a new privately-funded Welcome Center/Museum project for the past year.

Plans and estimates were completed for a building that would include the adaptive reuse of two 1938 United States Forest Service structures.

The two homes, built by the Civilian Conservation Corp, have been donated to the Historical Society for the project, but they must be moved prior to the Forest Service’s Phase II project in 2012. The new building would be located at M-37 and Eighth Street.

This complex was designed to house not only a historical museum and research library, but also an information center, public washroom and offices for MSU Cooperative Extension.

This will offer high visibility, regular hours and expanded programs.

There is great interest and support from the historical community. Since tourism is the main focus of our county it seemed as if this project would not only highlight the history of Lake County, but would promote the local businesses and tourism sites throughout the area. It would be a win-win situation for all. The total cost of construction for this project would be funded solely by the Historical Society through private donations and grants, some of which has already been pledged.

At first, some county officials had thought that the current operating costs for the existing Tourism/MSU/Historical Society building could continue to operate the new structure. Lately, due to local economics, that support has not continued.

It has now come to the Historical Society’s attention that the officers of the Chamber of Commerce, which would be housed in the new Welcome Center, have elected not to partner with the Historical Society and have declined involvement in the project.

Our organization continues to feel strongly that a building utilizing a combination of public services would best serve Lake County.

We hope to move forward with a revised version of the initial project design.

We would appreciate hearing feedback from the community, businesses as well as individuals.

Contact us at Lake County Historical Society, P.O. Box 774, Baldwin, MI 49304 or e-mail at akecountyhistory@hotmail.com.

For the Lake County Historical Society Board of Directors,

Bruce Micinski

Ellen Kerans