STORY BY BENJAMIN J. GOHS | PHOTOS BY CHRIS FAULKNOR
Current and former officials said goodbye to a piece of history when the final Boyne City Commission meeting was held last week in Boyne City Hall.
While the official last day of operation was Friday April 1, attendees of the Tuesday March 29 meeting shared memories and cake with a little farewell ceremony following the regular city commission proceedings.
“This is kind of a bittersweet moment for many of us here at city hall,” said Boyne City Manager Michael Cain. “This is the only city hall that I’ve known ever since coming to Boyne City nearly 13 years ago.”
He added, “Many other people in this community have known it a lot longer than I have; how it was a real force for progress in our community.”
The building at 319 North Lake St. is to be demolished so a new facility can be built. It will house city administrative offices, meeting space, the police and fire departments, the city’s historic tower clock, museum, and the MSU Extension office.
When the old city hall was first constructed, in the 1930s, it housed the Top O’ Michigan Electric Cooperative.
“Although this building has gone through many renovations during its life, it has never stopped serving the people of Boyne City and this region,” said Cain. “And, it continues to do so until its very last moment.”
Back in 1976, during the nation’s bicentennial, Boyne City voters approved the purchase and financing of what is now the old city hall.
“I think that’s very fitting for a big part of America’s history and a big part of Boyne’s history,” Cain said. “Imagine Boyne City if our forefathers and foremothers didn’t go forward and purchase this property and we didn’t have this lakefront property as a part of the community as well.”
He added, “This access that we have here is something that we all cherish.”
After the voters approved the 1976 purchase, the city commission began transitioning into the building.
On July 11, 1978, the city commission began holding its meetings in the city hall building before the city officially moved into the building.
According to Cain, the city manager at the time of the purchase was Forbes Tompkins and the Boyne City Commission of that day included Mayor Aldwyn Barden, and commissioners Thelma Behling, Austin Sevener and Keith Fitzpatrick.
At the time the city administration moved into the facility, the city manager was Tim Clifton.
The mayor was Fitzpatrick then and city commissioners included Steve Moody, Catherine Jessup, Joe Gierlach and Behling.
Cain noted that city officials of the late 1970s were glad to move the city commission chambers to its first floor location in part so they were more handicap accessible; the new city hall, when construction is complete in July of 2017, will have the city commission chambers on the second floor again but will be fully handicapped accessible.
“It’s amazing how many things, just in the short period of time that I’ve been here, repeat themselves,” Cain said…. “The good things come back around.”
Boyne City Mayor Tom Neidhamer, who grew up in Boyne City, said he knows the building well.
“A lot of good people have worked in this building and contributed to the success of Boyne City,” he said… “I’m very proud of our voters for having the vision to move forward and to take this piece of property and become even better stewards of this property with a new footprint that is going to better serve us.”
Former Boyne City Manager Randy Frykberg and previous mayor Eleanor Stackus, among other former officials, attended the final meeting of the Boyne City Commission meeting.
Boyne City Commissioner Delbert “Gene” Towne, a native of the city, said he believes when a door closes, a window opens—and, he is looking forward to the new building.
Boyne City Commissioner Laura Sansom also said she is excited to see the new facility when it is completed.
Frykberg said he had many fond memories from his 13-and-a-half years serving as Boyne City Manager. He bemusedly spoke of the time city officials decided to use the city hall fire place.
Apparently, city hall filled with smoke and the fire place was never used again.
Stackus said Boyne City continually moves forward, always improving itself, due to the great volunteer committee and board members, employees and elected officials who do such good work.
A Boyne City Police Officer, dressed in his color guard uniform, then took down the American Flag from the commission chambers.
Commissioners Hugh Conklin and Sansom took the Boyne City sign off the wall in the chambers.
The next regular city commission meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday April 12 in the city’s temporary facilities across the street in the Honeywell building.
The temporary city administrative offices were expected to reopen at 8 a.m. on Monday April 4 in the south side of the Honeywell building.
The address is 364 South Lake St. in Boyne City.