What’s going on with the old Frankfurt Community Center?

FRANKFURT — Passers-by might not notice, but a building with a long history in Frankfurt is being demolished.

The old civic center, located at the eastern end of Frankfurt, is being dismantled from the inside. The work is done by Bay Area Recycling for Charitiesa Traverse City-based company offering “green” recycling services.

The Frankfurt City Council voted to demolish the building in 2019 after long discussion about whether or not it could be reused. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and lack of funds postponed the demolition, according to city officials.

“We started around July 1 to remove furniture from the building,” said Andy Gale, founder of Bay Area Recycling for Charities. “We are essentially deconstructing the building, which is the opposite of construction. We reverse engineer the entire building.

Gale said wall finishes and drywall were removed, along with electrical, plumbing and heating systems.

“We will probably be able to recycle around 80% of the materials that come out,” he said. “All mechanical parts, metal, plumbing, heating and electricity have markets that we can sell to scrap yards or resell usable material in our thrift shop in Kaleva if it is not too old. “

Gale said items such as furniture, kitchen appliances and pool tables have already been brought to the thrift store. Mechanical devices, pipes and wiring can be sold for scrap if they cannot be reused.

Gale said the deconstruction is at a point where the building’s structural framework is the next thing to be removed.

“We determine if it’s strong enough to be removed in large sections for reuse, or in pieces,” he said. “We plan to remove the roof in 8-foot sections. Everything can be reused on another building.

Gale said Bay Area Recycling has architects and engineers helping determine whether or not the structure can be reused.

Some of the materials, like drywall, go to a landfill.

“There is no market for painted drywall,” Gale said.

Gale said the building was unique in that it was “cast in concrete”, with part of the roof structure being concrete. Old concrete will also be recycled.

In the end, there will be nothing left where the building was.

“Once we backfill, it will feel like it was never there,” Gale said.

The former community center will be approximately the 15th building the recycling company has deconstructed in 2022.

“It’s a bit sad; you never want to see an old building that has had a long life in the community disappear,” said Frankfort City Superintendent Josh Mills. “It exceeded its useful life several years ago.”

Mills said in previous reports that the cost of demolition was approximately $26,000. He said the cost was low because materials collected by Bay Area Recycling can be reused. He also said American Recovery Plan Act funding was used to pay for the demolition.

“We will continue to work for development of a community resource center to improve community well-being,” Mills said. “There could be an event space, a space for daycare and for resources to be brought into the community. We could have a space for the history of Frankfurt.

Mills said the building was built in the 1920s as an office for a lumber yard. The city acquired the building through a land grant in the 1970s and entered into an agreement with the county and the council on aging at the time to house a senior center in the building.

It operated as a center for the elderly until 2004.

The city later operated the building as a recreation center, which included activities for young people. In 2012, the building was rented from Masonic Crystal Lodge 270with the idea that the city and the Masonic lodge would work together to raising funds to repair or replace the building.

However, the lodge merged with another Masonic lodge and plans to build a new center fell through. Plans to eventually use the center as is until funds are raised to rebuild it were mooted by a member of the city council until it was finally slated for demolition in the 2019 vote.

Jill E. Washington