An 84-year-old house in Laketown Township is closer to demolition after the Parks and Recreation Commission approved almost $30,000 to tear down the Huyser House.
The recommendation, made Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2024, now goes to the township board for a final decision. The township board controls the money for the parks commission.
The parks commission also turned down a proposal from a resident to take over the house and turn it into a long-term rental.
The commission received three bids to demolish the 1939 house of Manuel and Lilah Huyser that came with the donation of the 102 acres that make up Huyser Farm Park. Since the township acquired the land in 2001, the house, 4158 64th St., has been empty and the parks commission has not been able to settle on a use for the home.
On Wednesday, commissioners unanimously chose Specialized Demolition, 3793 136th Ave., Hamilton, with a bid of $29,845. They agreed Specialized was the most complete bid.
Other bids were:
Pitsch Companies, 675 Richmond NW, Grand Rapids, at $22,800.
Busscher’s Septic Tank & Excavating Service, Inc., 11305 E. Lakewood Blvd., Holland, at $14,900.
Busscher’s and Pitsch did not include asbestos abatement. Specialized included $5,000 for the asbestos work.
Laketown resident Steven Ringelberg proposed leasing the Huyser House from the township. He would be responsible for insuring, securing, maintaining, and restoring the house. He would pay the township $6,000 annually with stepped increases after the fifth anniversary. He would make the house a long-term rental.
Commssioner Dick Becker said the township could not take Ringelberg’s proposal without bidding it out to see if others were interested.
Commissioner Karen Simmons, via Zoom, said the majority of residents don’t want the Huyser House saved, and the township has exhausted all avenues on what to do with the home.
Demolition is the best option, she said.
Chairperson Brad Laninga said the Land Conservancy of West Michigan, which oversees a conservation easement on the property, has concerns with the leasing proposal.
Becker suggested putting a picnic area or similar gathering spot on the site once the house is torn down. A resident suggested a community garden.
After the vote to demolish the structure, Ringelberg said he was disappointed in the commission’s decision.
The Laketown Township board’s next meeting is 6 p.m. Feb. 14 at the township hall, 4338 Beeline Road.
For more on the Huyser House, visit www.Laketowntwp.org.