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Dr. Steven Ingersoll at one of his restored properties, the historic Webster House bed and breakfast, 900 Fifth Ave.

$6.8 Million Investments in Obsolete Properties to Get City Review Aug. 2

Dr. Steven Ingersoll, Tom LaPorte Proposals for Tax Breaks on the Agenda

July 25, 2010       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Dr. Steven J. Ingersoll's plans to invest $6.625 million in five obsolete city properties will be considered for final approval by the city commission on Monday, Aug. 2.

Also before the commission will be entrepreneur Tom LaPorte's plan to invest $200,000 in renovation of the fourth floor loft and roof deck into three apartments at the Virgil A. LaPorte Building, 822 Washington Ave.

Dr. Ingersoll's plans, approved for OPRA (Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act) districts after public hearings July 26, include a $3 million renovation of the former Madison Avenue Methodist Church, (recently known as Created for Caring) 412 N. Madison Ave., for use as an optical clinic, charter school and theatre for the performing arts.

Another $3 million project would involve the former Do-All, Inc., building, originally Wolverine Knitting Mills, at 114 N. Jackson into a charter school, eight artists' lofts housing units and an art gallery.

The OPRA act provides an exemption from property taxes for up to 12 years. The property's value will be partially "frozen" at its pre-rehabilitation value for purposes of calculating non-school taxes. This will result in the applicant receiving approximately a 60 percent reduction in taxes on the additional investment beginning this year.

Other Ingersoll projects for which final city approval is sought include:

606 N. Grant Place, $180,000 to create a multi-family dwelling with three housing units;

620 N. Grant Place, $195,000 for a multi-family dwelling three housing units; and

615 N. Grant Place, the former Newell Eddy residence, $250,000 for six residential "bed and breakfast" units, a commercial kitchen and a community meeting facility or cultural-educational center.

The building originally housed Mr. Eddy's renowned ornithology collection and was the founding place of the Michigan Chapter of the American Red Cross. Dr. Ingersoll intends to apply to have the structure listed on the Michigan Register of Historic Buildings.

Dr. Ingersoll previously had received city approval for tax exemptions for renovation of the former Odd Fellows Hall building at 1900 Broadway, and Trainmen's Hall, 108 S. Linn St.

Dr. Ingersoll currently operates the Grand Traverse Academy, a charter school in Traverse City authorized by Lake Superior State University and enrolling about 1,100 students, and the Great Valley Academy, a grades K-6 charter school in Modesto, California.

The schools are listed among the 15 Glasser Quality Schools in the nation, using a process that was developed in 1967 by the noted psychiatrist William Glasser. He is the author of three significant books, "Reality Therapy," "Schools Without Failure" and "Choice Theory." His methods are used in 28 countries.

A Glasser Quality School promotes "relationships based upon trust and respect, students doing work that is significantly beyond competence each year, and staff, students and parents viewing the school as a joyful place."

Dr. Glasser operates the Glasser Institute, Chatsworth, California.

The schools also use Integrated Visual Learning (IVL), an optometric-based process developed by Dr. Steven J. Ingersoll, O.D. The IVL process combines vision procedure with cognitive processing drills and mental and motor skills. "This combination creates a unique program designed to strengthen visual learning of students. Eighty percent of the information humans receive is processed visually, so the better student learn visually, the higher their achievement," according to the developer of the IVL process.

Former Wolverine Knitting Mills and Do-All, Inc., building.

Former Madison Avenue Methodist Church renovation target.

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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