Preservation Hopes Fail For 5 Barns In Michigan

HARTLAND TWP. (AP) – Five deteriorating barns could be demolished this month despite an effort in recent years to save them as examples of Michigan’s agricultural heritage.

The Hartland Township Board of Trustees this week approved a $19,600 contract to tear down the barns and three silos, the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus of Howell reported. The structures are on a site adjacent to the township hall, about 40 miles northwest of Detroit.

“We tried to get someone to come up and refurbish it, but no one stepped forward,” said Trustee Joseph Petrucci.

Tim Wiles of Howell, a member of the Michigan Barn Preservation Network, was active in efforts to preserve the structures.

“It’s sad that the township would overlook its heritage like this,” said Wiles.

Township officials say the barns’ deteriorating condition makes them a safety risk, officials said, while the nature trails and new park site represent better alternative uses for the site.

A demolition date hasn’t been set, but officials said it could start as soon as the end of next week. The township bought the site in 1998, and preservation efforts were discussed in 2004. Ideas for the site while preserving the barns included establishing a wedding chapel or petting zoo.

The site now is expected to become parking and access to the township’s planned Clark Road park and trail system.

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