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City Hall Restoration Fund Seeks Donors for Seats, Rooms, Staircase

December 18, 2011       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Grand staircase of Victorian filigree ironwork at Bay City's City hall soars more than 60 feet, the largest self-supporting steel staircase in the Great Lakes Region.
Historically-inspired oak-backed seats with Victorian upholstery and ironwork will replace present 1970s era metal and plastic theater seats in the commission chambers.

Here's your chance to own your own seat in the City Commission chambers at Bay City's City Hall.

While a seat donation is $250, you can even sponsor the entire chambers for a donation of up to $95,000.

Or, if you are really ambitious and philanthropic, sponsorship of the magnificent grand staircase is available for $435,000.

You can tell it all down at City Hall, as the saying goes, and brag that you contributed to make it possible for a Victorian masterpiece to continue to have that period look.

Call 989-894-8179 for a seat donation form or access a form at Information is also available on Facebook at Friends of Bay City Hall.

Jim Bedell, city planner, and Friends of Bay City Hall volunteer Alan Flood have issued this announcement:

"Just in time for the holidays, announcing the Friends of Bay City Hall Adopt-a-Seat fundraiser! The 1970s-era metal and plastic theater seats will be replaced with new historically-inspired hardwood backed seats with rich Victorian upholstery and elaborate ironwork.

"In addition to complementing the amazing architecture of the room, the seats are designed to today's standards for comfort, durability and accessibility.

"Your tax deductible charitable contribution of $250.00 will help replace all 118 theater seats in the soon to be restored Commission Chambers. Each will have an attractive brass plate mounted on the chair. Your name (business or personal) or the name of someone you want to honor or memorialize will be engraved on the plate. Makes a great gift or memorial!

"These seats will go fast, so don't be left out. Order a seat with your personalized brass plate today."

Other naming opportunities include sponsorship of suites: accounts receivable, $2,700; city attorney, $5200; first floor conference, $2,500; mayor's office, $2,100; community development, $2,500; city clerk, $4,975; assessor, $4,465; building code enforcement, $3,100; P&CS and Redevelopment, $3,800; human resources/payroll, $2,500; conference room 306, $1,280; manager's office/executive conference room, $6,800; accounting/fiscal services, $3,400; meeting room 317, $2,400.

"Opportunities are available to help restore City Hall's renowned office suites. Many have 18 foot tall ceilings that are being uncovered to expose elaborate iron columns and ornamental plaster. In addition, nine oak-mantled fireplaces adorn several offices and public meeting rooms. While these spaces are the workhorse of the building, they are also visited and enjoyed by the public and the many schools and tour groups that visit City Hall each year.

"Tax deductible charitable contributions will provide new historically-inspired light fixtures and restore the gorgeous old-growth maple flooring. Each sponsored office suite will have an attractive brass plate with the donor's name mounted next to the entrance door.

"The commission chambers is the jewel of the building and one of the finest rooms in the Great Lakes Bay Region. This three-story Victorian auditorium includes elaborate plasterwork, original brass wall sconces and beautiful oak woodwork. In addition to serving the City Commission and several other boards, the commission chambers has long been used by the public as a place for community meetings, gatherings, photo shoots, weddings and tours.

"The city recently received a grant from the Michigan Energy Office to restore the wall sconces and recreate four original chandeliers and two wall sconces that were removed in the 20th Century. Other grants were received from the Bay Area Community Foundation and the Kantzler and Smith foundations that will aid in the restoration of this grand space. However, assistance is needed to fully restore the room and return it to its former high Victorian magnificence." ###

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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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