Lake Twp.: History museum plans could be completed this year

Larry Limpf

News Editor

Plans to re-purpose the former Lake Township meeting hall on Main Street in Walbridge and turn it into a museum for township historical documents and artifacts are on course but more legwork is needed for the project to be completed, Walbridge mayor Ed Kolanko said last week.
The administrations of the township and village have agreed to collaborate on the project and the buildings and lands committee of village council has been involved. Earlier this month, Larry Boday, a member of the committee, agreed to continue as the committee’s contact person for the project.
“There is still more work to be done to get it ready for placing historical memorabilia there and opening it up to visitors,” mayor Kolanko said. “But that’s the idea we have going on right now. I think it’s a phenomenal idea.”
He credits the late Ruth Welling, the mother of Richard Welling, a township trustee, with the idea of housing a historical facility in the building.
The building, located at 217 N. Main St., is owned by the township. The village, under an agreement with the township for less than $10 a year, rented the building and held its first council meeting there in 1913, he said.
The township constructed a new administration building on Cummings Road in the mid-1990s and moved trustee offices and zoning, police and fire/EMS offices there. That building was destroyed in a June, 2010 tornado and then rebuilt on the same site.
The village has since moved its administration offices to different buildings on Main Street.
Kolanko said he next plans to talk with Welling and Mark Hummer, the township police chief/administrator, about concerns he has with the building and the parking area.
“I’d like to see the building inspector from Wood County pay a visit and see that it’s in good shape,” he said.
Welling said the trustees anticipate the museum could be opened this year.
A ramp to make the building ADA accessible and glass display cases have been donated by Bill Hirzel, of Hirzel Canning, Welling said.
He floated the idea of a museum last year to village councils in Walbridge and Millbury and found them supportive.
“The roof is in good shape and the furnace is still running,” Welling said. “We’re not sure which side of the building the ramp should be placed. We’ll have to decide that.”
It’s possible the villages and township could rotate memorabilia for display in the building, he said.


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