New Baraga County office building approved

Several Baraga County offices will soon have a new home. The Baraga County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously last night to purchase the building that formerly housed the L’Anse Pharmacy. No community members spoke for or against the motion. The quiet meeting was a stark contrast to the spirited public hearing that took place Friday afternoon. At that meeting a number of citizens raised objections to the plan. The county will pay 260-thousand dollars for the building and land. They’ll also pay current owner Al Hendricks an additional 150-thousand dollars to renovate the building to meet the county’s requirements. Renovations will be completed before the county takes possession. Eventually, the County Clerk, Treasurer, Equalization Department, and Veterans Affairs office will be relocated… along with the MSU Extension office. The basement of the building will be used to store paper records. The county is already preparing to ask the state for a 150-thousand dollar grant to help pay for the project. County Clerk Wendy Goodreau says they’re trying to get some of the money the state is handing out to encourage consolidation of governmental units. Goodreau says the county will also proceed with a review of the physical needs of the existing 129-year-old courthouse. Eventually, the 100-year-old annex building next to the courthouse will likely be razed. A study commissioned by the county in 2007 determined it would not be cost-effective to try to bring that building up to code.

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