Jack Strayer: When government gets it right we all winPublished 11:37am Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Speaking From Experience
By Jack Strayer
We complain about The Government and this is perhaps a benefit of democracy. The Government cannot please all of the people all of the time.
Except now. Except in Niles. Except the Niles City Council. Our local government did something wonderful and they did it right. They pleased all of the people!
On May 14, 2012, the Niles City Council voted to spend $253,000 (mostly grant money) to purchase the vacant bank building at 333 N. Second St. for a new and permanent home for the Niles City Hall. On Dec. 7, 2012 they moved into their new offices.
This single act has had an amazing impact on the City of Four Flags and I for one am in awe of the speed, the thrift, the foresight, and the sheer brilliance of this real estate transaction.
First, the citizens got a building worth $765,000 for only $253,000. This is what I would call a great big old bargain. Had it not been purchased, the former Niles Federal Savings & Loan building built in 1973 might have fallen victim to decay and urban blight.
For the same money, the citizens of Niles got in return the Chapin Mansion. This single most beautiful landmark in town is now being restored to its former glory as a house museum. Its restoration is being met with a new enthusiasm for Niles history.
The new city hall location is simply perfect. I have used the former bank’s drive-thru feature twice now to pay utility bills. Many local agencies have moved into the facility including the Niles DDA and the Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance. How convenient!
We need to thank and cheer our city council members and City Administrator Ric Huff. Mayor Mike McCauslin and council members Georgia Boggs, Dan VandenHeede, Bob Durm, Bill Weimer, David Mann, Scott Clark and Tim Skalla all need to stand up and take a bow! This is how government should work! You did it right and we all won!