Allegan Co. Road Commission's plan for $8.5M new facility raising eyebrows

ALLEGAN, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A road commission plans to spend more than $8 million on a new facility, but not everyone thinks it's a good idea.

The Allegan County Road Commission plans to spend more than $8 million to build a new office and garage.

But some say that money should go to road repairs instead.

Part of the Road Commission facility in Allegan dates back to the 1940s, and Director Larry Brown says financially it makes more sense to replace it than repair it.

But some in the area don't see it that way.

A new attractive building of steel--inside and out.

That's what it was called in a 1964 magazine article.

"This is the office portion of the building--this was actually built in 1962," explained Brown, giving us a tour of the facility.

He says not much has changed since then.

"We did change the drapes in here one time, so it's not all quite original," he said.

But Brown says the building itself is now functionally obsolete.

"For many years, we've had the roof leaking," he said. "It's leaked regularly and the old tile on the floor has started to come up."

That's why the Road Commission plans to spend about $8.5 million to build a new office and a new garage.

"It's always a controversial decision when you choose to make an $8.5 million outlay and your annual budget $21 to $34 million, but you get to the point where you're putting money into something that you're not going to get your money back out of," Brown said.

Some drivers say that money should be spent on Allegan County's pothole filled roads.

Others say it's about time.

Either way, Brown says it's time to say goodbye to the 60's.

"You just get to the point where it tips the scales and you have to go with the new building, and we've reached that point," he said.

Brown says they'll open the project for bids on August 28, and they hope to break ground on October 1.