Traverse City Record-Eagle

May 10, 2013

Grand Traverse creates courthouse clock fund

BY MICHAEL WALTON mwalton@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Traverse County is accepting donations to restore the 112-year-old bell that sits atop the county’s circuit courthouse.

Grand Traverse County commissioners last month agreed to create an account to accept up to $10,000 in donations for purchasing a new chiming mechanism for the historic clock tower.

The commission held a public hearing on the proposed restoration project during an April 24 meeting.

Several people who live in the Boardman neighborhood near the clock tower attended the hearing and spoke favorably about restoring a bell that once rang every hour and half-hour, but fell silent in 2008 because of budget and safety concerns.

Some said the bell’s return will usher in a historic sense to the courthouse’s Boardman neighborhood and it’s Victorian-style homes, county Commissioner Larry Inman said.

“We didn’t hear anybody say they did not want to have the chimes back,” Inman said.

County officials estimate it will cost about $8,000 to replace the old striker arm with an electronic arm.

But the clock tower needs additional work, said Danny Brown, county Facilities Management Department director.

The clock, which is wound twice a week, runs about four minutes slow, Brown said. The four clock faces on the tower also need to be replaced.

County officials can put any donated money toward such repairs after the cost of fixing the bell is covered. County commissioners also could consider allocating capital improvement funds toward the restoration efforts, Inman said.

Contact the Grand Traverse County treasurer to make a donation.