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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Demolition of blighted West Branch building creates new, positive space for community

Excavator knocking down a wall of the former laundromat

Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019

Contact: Gabby Abel

LANSING, Mich. – The City of West Branch is one step closer to creating a new community gathering space with the demolition of a blighted former laundromat, the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority announced Thursday.

“This demolition project has been a great collaboration between the state and city. I’m happy we were able to demolish this building in a safe and efficient manner, and I’m excited to see what the city does with this new vacant plot of land,” said Michigan Land Bank Interim Director Jeff Huntington.

The building has been vacant for more than eight years and has fallen into disarray within the past two years. Demolition was originally slated for later this summer, but due to a partial collapse of the abandoned building, city and state officials worked quickly to move the demolition up.

“This building has become a hazard and we are incredibly thankful for the Michigan Land Bank’s Rural Community Demolition Grant for giving us funds to demolish this building. We are very excited to turn this previous eyesore into a positive gathering place for community members,” said West Branch Grants, Public Safety and Community Revitalization Coordinator Kelli Collins.

Demolition was performed by Bolle Contracting and was funded by the Michigan Rural Community Demolition Grant.

Nine communities were awarded Michigan Rural Community Demolition Grant funds in April. In addition to West Branch, the Houghton County Land Bank has completed their demolition project and the remaining communities are in progress with plans to complete demolition by this fall.