Bronson Town Hall moving to Jackson House

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By Claude Lewis

BRONSON - Barring an 11th-hour red light, the Bronson Town Hall offices will soon be making a short move from its present location on U.S. 27 back to the historic Jackson House, which has recently been renovated.

Operating out of the Jackson House would be Town Clerk Donna Conquest, Mayor Franklin Schuler and Council members Beatrice Mongo, Aaron Edmondson, Melody LaFlam and Berlon Weeks. Water and sewer bills would be paid at the new location.

At Monday night's Town Council meeting, Mongo brought up a motion that the offices be moved from its present location to the Jackson House, which was originally built in another location in town in the late 1890s.

The topic was not on the meeting's budget and was addressed late.

The vote was 3-2 in favor of making the Jackson House the new Town Hall. Opposing were LaFlam and Weeks. Approving were Mongo, Edmondson and Schuler.

Weeks insisted that the Jackson House was restored with the intention of making it a community center. Bronson received a grant from the state to make major renovations. Additional money was needed to finish the project.

"The roof leaked, the windows were rotting and the foundation was unstable," Schuler said of the original work done when former Mayor Jamie Griffin was in power.

Contractor Mike Owens finished up the project, which was completed in January.

Schuler said the total cost came to an alarming $374,933.

Schuler said the Jackson House is not ideally designed to be a community center. He said the four rooms are not large enough.

Weeks said the original application for state money in May of 2000 was to name it the Jackson Memorial Community Center.

Schuler said that Town Attorney Stephen Warm will be looking at the original paperwork to see if there's any problem in changing over the use of the Jackson House.

"Hopefully he'll get back to me by the end of the week," he said.

"It's a done deal - they voted on it," Weeks said. "Now they'll want to get expensive furniture to go with it."

Schuler said possible uses for the "old" Town Hall would be offices for the Firew Department and the Bronson Youth League.