Board inks purchase agreement for Orion Center

$3 million sale to LO School

By David Fleet
Citizen Editor
Orion Twp. — On June 17 the Orion Township board of trustees voted 7-0 to approve a purchase agreement for the Orion Center to the Lake Orion Community School district at a cost of $3 million.
The Lake Orion School Board must still approve the purchase agreement with two public readings. The full settlement to the agreement with the school board will take a minimum of 30 days. A walk through will also be required.
“It’s a good deal,” said Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett. “We do not owe money on the facility, we did have an appraisal done on the building.”
The Orion Township board recently authorized the $9 million purchase of the Great Lakes Athletic Club in December. Now that the township has the club it no longer needs to have two community centers, board members said.
Barnett added that the township purchased the athletic club without incurring additional debt or raising taxes because it “had the cash on hand” to purchase GLAC. He added that since taking over the Great Lakes Athletic Club it is “revenue positive” for the township.
The school was in the market for better facilities including bigger meeting spaces and offices, said Barnett.
“It worked out,” he said. “It’s a good deal for everyone. The proceeds from the sale (of the center) that we don’t owe any money on, will likely be steered to do the improvements and renovations of the existing GLAC to transition it from a gym to a true community center. We knew from the get-go the best user would be the schools.”
The agreement also came with a lot split, providing the correct buffer per the zoning ordinance providing a setback at the back or east side of the building, added Barnett. The zoning on the center is residential and we did not want to rezone to increase the value of the property, that does not feel right. The township will still own the property.
“This is the next step in the process,” said Trustee Mike Flood. “Taking seniors and moving them into the new community center in Orion Township. Teenagers, young children, we have never provided any indoor (facilities) for our youth. They have been telling us that for years in our Master Plan. It’s going to take time to get there.”
The township built the Orion Center as a community center but with the purchase of GLAC, township officials intend to eventually move all activities over to the athletic club facility, which will be transformed into a new community center. Besides fitness facilities, GLAC also has an indoor and outdoor pool, office space, meeting rooms and restaurants for patrons.
The Orion Center is home to the Orion Township Parks and Recreation Department offices, the Orion Area Chamber of Commerce office, the Orion Township Senior Center and a branch of the Orion Township Public Library. The Orion Center also has a small gym for seniors, a banquet room and commercial kitchen, meeting rooms and activity rooms where various clubs meet.
Orion Neighborhood Television (ONTV) has space in the Orion Center but owns its offices so they will not have to move after any potential sale.

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