Historic Old Town building to receive new life with Michigan Historic Preservation Network

More than 80 years ago, there was a problem in Old Town. While waiting for the train, gentlemen would bide their time in the cigar shop, but there was no place for women and children, who were consequently left waiting outside in the elements. The solution to the issue was the Thelma Joyce Osteen Comfort Station. Now that the building has outlived its original purpose and has been long vacant, the Michigan Historic Preservation Network (MHPN) is the solution for bringing new life into the building.
“We’ve been around for over 35 years, and we thought it was time to do our own rehab project,” says Nancy Finegood, executive director of the MHPN. “We’ve been looking at the building for seven or eight years. It’s a really key landmark building in Old Town.”
The non-profit has been working on the estimated $680,000 project for more than a year now, and is financing the renovation with help from incentives such as the final round of state historic preservation tax credits from the state, a façade grant from the City of Lansing, a grant from the Michigan Architectural Foundation, as well as a $68,177 Community Revitalization Program grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
“We’re doing everything from environmental abatement to installing an elevator,” Finegood says. “We’re building out the offices and we’ll have a new roof – we’re doing everything from nuts to bolts.”
The MHPN will utilize the second floor of the building for their offices, and plans to move in around February of 2013. A commercial tenant is being sought for the 500 square foot space on the first floor. 
The increased space will include a conference room that will allow the MHPN to hold board meetings and other events in-house. Already, the organization has hosted a two-week window rehabilitation training in the building. 
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