Letter to the Editor: Pt. 1

I have decided to publish some old letters I wrote to the editor of the Allegan News when I took a somewhat proactive stance growing up in Allegan County, Michigan. The letters were all written in 2007 when I was 20 years old. One letter in particular drew much flak, which will be published at a later date, with all responses to my opinion published as well.

September 27, 2007

City of Allegan would prosper with potential developers

To the editor,
 G.A. Haan Development, a real-estate development company located in northwest Michigan, desires to build affordable senior housing in historic downtown Allegan.
 The plan includes, along with extra parking, building 24 residential units above and in place of “The Center,” located in downtown Allegan.
The Center, at 330 Trowbridge St. in historic downtown Allegan, serves as a site for the Allegan Area Community Center to provide its services. Constructed in 1892, the original building was used as a church, with additions to the building in 1953 and 1970.
 Unfortunately, it is apparent that the 1892 portion of the structure is in dire need of repair and is simply falling apart. The building will not last through another winter. The roof needs immediate attention.
 After further examination, the possibility of needing to re-brick the entire building isn’t farfetched. Fixing the 1800’s section alone would cost over $280,000.
 The Allegan County Historical Society would like to keep the structure as part of historical Allegan, but cannot offer any funding. Even on on the state and federal level no funding is available, making it impossible to fulfill the wish of the historical society. It is simply not practical to keep this structure running in its current condition.
 The building has no doubt served its purpose over the years.
 Instead of living in the past, it is time to move on and make progress in Allegan. It should be a compliment to the City of Allegan that an investor would want to invest so much in our city.
 With the new building from G.A. Haan in place, the elderly would have a home situated in the heart of downtown Allegan, making it convenient for them and their family to access shops, restaurants, and other community activities, which consequently benefits the city’s economy.
 On the other hand, if the building is kept running in its current state, it would only degrade further, making the building even less cost effective and efficient than it already is, potentially making it unsafe in the long run.
 The choice to let G.A. Haan come in and help the town prosper should be a fairly simple one. Approving this request by G.A. Haan would not only help a structure in need of repair, it would also bring a new service to the people of Allegan.
 I would urge the council to help the City of Allegan prosper and move on by allowing G.A. Haan to develop in Allegan.

Seth Chapman