Buena Vista Township gets grant in quest to demlish former Welcome Inn & Suites

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BUENA VISTA TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (9/18/2019) - Drivers along I-75 are greeted with the sight of a rundown motel when they exit at Buena Vista.

The township wants to knock down the former Welcome Inn & Suites so the property can be redeveloped. This week, they have some financial help in making that happen.

"This is the gateway into our community," said Torrie McAfee, Buena Vista Township superintendent.

A food truck festival was one of the first things drivers would see in Buena Vista Township as they came off of I-75. Across the street is the motel that has been deemed unsafe, dangerous and in violation of Michigan housing laws.

"We don't want the eyesore, the goal for the community is to build, to get some developers interested in the township," McAfee said.

The township got good news this week, getting a a $40,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. The money will pay for a study to see if there is contamination on the site and the best way to safely demolish the building.

"That will help us with the cost going forward to know exactly how much we have to spend for the demolition," McAfee said.

The demolition costs are estimated to be at $400,000 on the high end.

"We also did get approved for a brownfield loan and that is for $200,000, so that will also assist, but its a loan, not a grant, so we will have to pay that back," McAfee said.

Across the street from the motel, also part of the gateway into the community, another hotel that's up for sale.

"It would really be nice if we had a developer come in and actually turn it into a thriving hotel which it once was," McAfee said.

For now, getting this building knocked down is the township's top priority. McAfee said there is interest in the property once the motel is gone.

"Two separate developers about two separate projects," she said without getting into specifics.

The township hopes to have that motel knocked down by the end of the year.