Insurance to Pay Most of $10M Price Tag for Michigan City Hall Repair

The historic city hall in Bay City, Mich., is nearing completion of a more than $10 million renovation three years after it was damaged by fire and flood.

The original structure cost $170,000 to build, but Bay City Commission President Lori Dufresne told The Bay City Times she isn’t surprised by the cost of the renovation in today’s dollars.

“Anytime you do a restoration, it’s cost intensive just to preserve the visual integrity,” Dufresne said.

Much of the expense has been to repair the damage, but updates and historic restoration are costly as well. Insurance is covering most of the work, which began about a year ago.

City hall was built in the 1890s and is one of 50 most significant architectural structures in Michigan, Ron Bloomfield, Bay County Historical Society director, told the newspaper.

“We plan on keeping it that way,” said Dana Muscott, acting city manager and Bay City clerk. “It should move that up the list.”

The fire occurred on Oct. 12, 2010, when the building was undergoing a $1.5 million roof replacement.

Work on the third and fourth floors is complete. The second floor is 85 percent complete, said Ken Pawlak, project superintendent. The building should be open to the public in December.

“When you look at all the buildings downtown, and especially the older section, it’s a nice contrast to what’s coming for uptown,” said Dufresne, referring to the multimillion dollar development under construction near City Hall. “It is just a gorgeous building.”