Are changes ahead for Drake Farmstead in Oshtemo?

What ideas do you have for future uses of the Drake Farmstead in Oshtemo Township?

Oshtemo Township wants to develop a plan for the property -- one that respects its history and at the same time generates income to help offset the cost of maintaining it.

To hear ideas from the community, township officials are inviting people to the Drake Farmstead, 927 N. Drake Road, between Croyden Avenue and Gordon Food Service at Maple Hill Mall. The workshop will be from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, May 27. This is the second meeting to talk with the community about plans for the property.

There will be sketches and alternatives drawn by a design team presented. Preliminary results of the market feasibility study also will be reviewed. Those participating are invited to explore the historic house and 26 acres.

Oshtemo Township, working with the property's owners, purchased 5.36 acres, the house, and the carriage barn in 2004, according to the Oshtemo Township Historical Society.

The Drake family settled the property in the 1830s and the first home there was built with the help of Native Americans. The farm grew to almost 500 acres straddling both Oshtemo and Kalamazoo Townships. A home built on the land in 1852 burned. It was rebuilt immediately. Change to the house added a total of four rooms, and a back stairway, making a total of 15 rooms.

In 2004, a developer was planning to demolish the Drake home and use the land for commercial development when township officials recognized the history of the property and became determined to save it for future township residents.

Oshtemo Township and the Oshtemo Historical Society work together on the care and restoration of the home. This project is co-sponsored by the Oshtemo Township Parks Committee, the Oshtemo Historical Society, and the Oshtemo Friends of the Parks.

The Township’s goal, officials say, is to create a public space that respects and preserves the farmstead’s historic character and natural features while offering income-generating uses or facilities that will help offset the cost of maintaining the property and provide a gathering place for the community to enjoy.

Source: Oshtemo Township
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