By Nicholas Diamond
On Oct. 1, the Albion City Council voted to sell a pie-shaped piece of land to the college for $1. About a half acre in size, the land is located at the intersection of Erie street and Hannah street. The college decided to purchase the property because it had been maintaining the land already.
“We have no specific plans for the property, but will continue to maintain it,” said Donna Randall, Albion College president.
Don Masternak, director of facilities operations, has been working with the college for 22 years and understands that this acquisition is beneficial to the school.
“It is more of a matter of legally accepting ownership for city property that we have been maintaining for decades,” Masternak said. “The College and City collaborate on many matters and the proximity of the odd triangular lot to our campus, and particularly the Grounds Department, made it more practical for us to manage than requiring the City’s crew to maintain such an isolated small parcel.”
Although property values in Albion are relatively lower than in other Michigan cities, the cost for the property is still shocking.
“It’s nice to see that the college can expand in a cost-effective manner,” said Makenna Doyle, Romeo senior.
Since it is such a small piece of property, more landscaping is really only the viable option for facilities operations.
“It is not really a develop-able parcel, but is a very visible feature to the area,” Masternak said. ”Basically, we will continue to maintain it and perhaps add some additional plantings. The combination of many buried utilities on that site and the traffic site lines prohibit adding a lot of trees or higher shrubs. Most likely low growing perennials would be planted.”
Albion always shows some interest in areas that would directly affect the aesthetic appeal of the campus.
“The college is not in the market to buy properties, but we are approached frequently by property owners,” Masternak said. ”Consideration is given to properties that are in the College Master Plan and/or have been identified by both the College and City primarily to improve the corridors to the Downtown.”
The acquisition is just another example of the strong realtionship between the college and the City Council.
“Personally, I feel that we have a very good relationship with the members of Albion City Council with regards to college matters, and they have been supportive as we continue to work collaboratively,” Masternak said.
Photo by Megan Sheridan