Allegan library expansion moving along despite hitches

Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

The demolition of a building at 315 Hubbard St. to make room for the Allegan District Library expansion has been delayed as engineers have determined its east foundation needed to stay in place, according to library director Ryan Deery.

Deery gave an update on renovations during the Monday, Sept. 25, Allegan City Council meeting. He said structural engineers have determined the foundation of the building to be demolished must be shored up for stability of the adjoining Burnett and Kastran law firm next door.

Deery said after the floor collapsed on the inside of the building to be demolished, shoring up the foundation is taking a bit longer than anticipated. However, demolition will start soon.

Pitsch Company of Grand Rapids was awarded the demolition from two bids.

Three companies submitted bids to move the house next door—the Emily Green law office at 325-327 Hubbard St. atop the demolition site. Dietz House Moving Engineers of Muskegon was awarded the bid and is a full turnkey operation, providing the engineering, moving and building of a new foundation.

The deadline for bidding on the actual expansion project is Oct. 10. The invitation to bid is on builders’ exchanges and the library’s home page. The Christman Company is the construction manager.

“Anyone interested in giving a bid is encouraged to, we’d love to have a local contractor on the job,” Deery said. “The job will be awarded two weeks later.”

Once the final construction price is in hand, the library will be able to close on the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loan that will save taxpayers a minimum of $2.5 million.

To keep the loan process from grinding to a halt, the city council at their Aug. 28 meeting removed a clause placed on the deed, conveying the city-owned library property and a part of vacated Walnut Street to the library district. The clause stated the library district could not, within 50 years, convey the property without the city’s express written consent. A violation of the clause, would require the district or whoever owned it at the time to pay the present day value of $572,858, adjusted for inflation.

The USDA requires the deed to be free from encumbrances. While the library district could appeal the stipulation by the USDA, it would have slowed down the project considerably. Showing faith the library would still be supported by taxpayers in the future, the council unanimously approved removal of the clause.

“So far half the work has been awarded and we hope the rest comes in favorably within our target numbers,” Deery said. “Due to the hurricane, the costs of goods have gone up a little bit.

“It’s been nerve-racking because getting there has been taking longer than we’d like.”

Virginia Ransbottom can be contacted at or at (269) 673-5534.


Editor’s note: In print, this story incorrectly stated the delay was “due to a soil erosion permit.” The story above has been changed to reflect the actual reason for the delays. The Allegan County News regrets the error.


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