Niles Township approves feasibility study on new town hall location

Published 3:30 pm Saturday, February 18, 2023

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NILES CHARTER TOWNSHIP — Niles Charter Township’s quest for a new town hall is one step closer to reality.

The Board of Trustees unanimously approved a motion to enter into a contract with Wightman for a feasibility study for a new township hall on township property located behind the current hall, 320 Bell Road.

The feasibility study will analyze proposed locations including potential challenges for building a hall, as well as a projected cost for the new building. The feasibility study would cost approximately $16,000.

The results will be used to create a feasibility report and develop design solutions for accommodating the people of the township and the services it provides for the community.

Township Supervisor Marge Durm-Hiatt and Treasurer Jim Ringler believe the best location for a new township hall would be at its current location on Bell Road.

According to township officials, the current township hall has served the community since the 1960s and lacks the space and the infrastructure to meet the growing demands and needs of the community and township staff.

“I think from a lot of respects it’s an ideal site because, number one, we’ve been here forever and everybody knows where it’s at,” said Township Treasurer Jim Ringler. “We think that there’s enough land to do it all. We may have to relocate some other buildings but (this study) will put all the numbers together. It’s gonna take some cost engineering to figure out.”

Durm-Hiatt mentioned that the township owns land on 3rd Street, Niles-Buchanan Road and other areas that could be potential township hall locations. Whatever comes of the feasibility study, she expressed her desire to have the township services in a centralized location with the necessary space for each service to run efficiently.

“I like having all the services pretty close,” she said. “I like having stuff that is kind of compact. If they can figure out some way to integrate all of this into one sweet little package… I think that’s what they’re trying to put together.”

Trustee Chris Vela expressed concern regarding the possibility of the resurfaced pickleball courts – located behind the township hall on Bell Road – being removed if a new, expanded town hall is built on the property. Durm-Hiatt and Ringler said that if it came down to it, the pickleball courts could be relocated to Community Township Park.

In other business, the township will be submitting a grant for a new shelter in Community Park located on Bond Street to replace the old building that has been demolished. The township will look at the possibility of adding the new shelter and connecting it to the current Indian-Michigan River Valley Trail that runs along 3rd Street.