MOUNT CLEMENS (WWJ) - Instead of months, the Old Macomb County Building that caught fire last week is now expected to remain closed for two years for needed repairs and improvements.
Initial repairs at the building, located on North Main Street in downtown Mount Clemens, will take months to complete. The building will remain closed long after that, however, as officials determine the extent of renovations.
In the interim, an $18 million bond issue is expected to finance improvements to the facility, which was built in 1931. The county hasn’t yet released a cost estimate of the repairs.
The 13-story building will need an architectural makeover so it will be handicap-friendly, have a modernized fire suppression system and a computer backup system, among other things. Such a provision was lacking at the time of last Wednesday’s fire, which badly damaged the county’s IT system. Following the fire, some county departments were forced to conduct business by pen-and-paper.
The county’s IT director had warned the county commission a few weeks prior to the fire about such a danger, saying the county is now the poster child for not having a computer backup system in place. County executive Mark Hackel blames a “lack of leadership” of county commissioners in the past for their current predicament.
In the meantime, the county is setting up a permanent computer backup system with help from neighboring counties, the state and Macomb Community College. Officials say the IT staff has been working 24/7 to get the county back online.
The only cost to the county related to the fire will be an up-front $100,000 insurance deductible, while the county’s $300 million worth of insurance coverage should pay for all other costs, The Macomb Daily reported.