Huyser House demolition plans delayed a month for more details

Parks commission has also received a proposal to use the house as a rental.
The Huyser House at Huyser Farm Park, 4188 64th St., in Laketown Township.

More decisions on the possible demolition of a historical house will wait at least another month as the Laketown Township Parks and Recreation Commission agreed on Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023, to seek additional bid information and consider a proposal to lease the home.

Huyser House demolition

The parks commission has received two bids to demolish the Huyser House, 4188 64th St., and is waiting for a third, according to Commissioner Brad Laninga. The commission will go back to the bidders with more questions and address the demolition at the January meeting.

The 1939 house of Manuel and Lilah Huyser came with the donation of the 102 acres that make up Huyser Farm Park. Since the township acquired the land in 2001, the house has been empty and the parks commission has not been able to settle on a use for the home.

A special committee in December 2022 concluded the house should be torn down.

The township building authority was then tasked with finding a “do-able” plan for the house and proposed turning it into a Living Legacy Center for multiple uses such as a parks office, history site or gallery. The parks commission, though, was unhappy with that proposal and sent a letter to the township board in opposition to the building authority plan.

In October, the township board responded to the parks commission comment by freezing all spending on the house and asking the township attorney to determine who had authority over the structure.

On Nov. 1, the township attorney said the parks commission has control over the house. The commission voted unanimously on Nov. 15 to tear down the house.

Proposal

Laketown resident Steven Ringelberg addressed the commission on Wednesday about his proposal made last month to lease 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.

“I’m trying to be the solution, not a problem,” he said.

On Wednesday, the commission tabled discussion on the proposal until January.

Ringelberg also said he is planning to pay for a survey to send to residents asking what to do with the Huyser House.

The parks commission’s next regular meeting is 6 p.m. Jan. 17 at the township hall, 4338 Beeline Road.

For more on the Huyser House, visit www.Laketowntwp.org.