BY JESSICA STEELEY
Clarkston News Staff Writer
The future of the historic Bailey House is still uncertain, but the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission voted unanimously, Oct. 4, to not move forward with demolition at this time.
They want to hear a plan to save the house, presented by Clarkston resident Sam Moraco and Clarkston Community Schools at their next meeting on Nov. 1.
“The school district is excited the County Parks Commission has granted a stay on the demolition of the Bailey House,” Superintendent Dr. Rod Rock said. “We look forward to working with other interested parties to try to develop a plan to have our students restore the historical home.”
Moraco said one month isn’t enough time to put a concrete plan together, a conceptual plan is more likely. He plans to set up a meeting with the school district and Oakland County Historical Commission to explore options for saving the house.
Plans to relocate the house fell through recently, and Moraco believes the house should stay in its original location.
“It’ll stand there as long as we’re alive, as long as you don’t let water get into it,” Moraco said. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone.”
The county is already investing $20,000 to tear the Bailey House down, Moraco said. He insists if they spend that money on a new roof instead, it will allow everyone more time to figure out a plan and get funds to restore the house.
Several residents spoke at the Independence Township Board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 3, the day before the county meeting, to urge township board members to attend the county meeting and voice dissent over demolishing the Bailey House.
“Residents in any community want to feel a connection with their community, to feel the sense of place they’ve chosen is special, our structures give us a visual sense of place and a desire to know more about them,” Oakland County Historical Commission Chair Melissa Luginski said.
Luginski, a Clarkston resident, said the historical commission views the Bailey House as a significant historical structure due to its architecture, the importance of Robert Bailey, who built the house, and the fact that it’s the most visible landmark of the historic Bailey settlement.
Resident David Boersma said he examined the Bailey House in 2014 as a historical architect.
“That building’s in excellent condition, it’s a prime candidate for restoration and if the board could find its way to pressure the county to save it, I would encourage you to do so,” Boersma said. “There was interest at one time by the county parks system to re-purpose that building. I don’t know how that died.”
Due to these and other citizen’s comments, Trustee Andrea Schroeder and Township Supervisor Pat Kittle attended the meeting, with Kittle speaking out in favor of delaying the Bailey House decision.
“I appreciate everything Mr. Moraco’s doing and can sure understand his position, and somebody said it best, that these opportunities don’t come up often, but I also understand the restrictions that are put on the county,” Kittle said.
Executive Officer for Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission Dan Stencil said the possibility for demolition exists because they’ve yet to find a viable use for the Bailey House in its current location.
“We just haven’t found a feasible solution,” Stencil said. “So, hopefully with this time and with the input from the community, we can find a way that it could potentially be preserved.”