By Charles Sercombe
Hamtramck’s Historical Commission can now celebrate a historical moment of its own.
On Tuesday, after a lengthy and tedious discussion, the City Council OK’d the purchase of the former Polish Legion of American Veterans Post 1 Hall on Holbrook.
While the commission could theoretically immediately open a museum right after closing the deal, it’s likely some renovations will first take place. And there is a need to throw a fundraiser for the upcoming repairs.
The cost of the purchase received a huge helping hand from the state’s Cities of Promise program, which Hamtramck belongs to. The state is kicking in $75,000 of the total cost of $92,000.
Upkeep of the two-story building will be the responsibility of the Friends of Historical Hamtramck. It’s estimated that the yearly heating and utility bills will run about $10,000 a year.
Historical Commission Chairman Greg Kowalski said fundraising and winning grants will be easier now because there is an actual building. He said the commission has either lost out or been prevented from applying to previous grants because there was no physical museum.
Kowalski also stressed that this won’t become a Polish-centric museum. Instead, he said, it will represent the city’s many ethnic communities. More than that, he says the museum will focus more on presentations and performances instead of just being a dusty repository of artifacts.
While the council unanimously voted to purchase the building, there was a lengthy talk about budget details and projected revenue. The only person who spoke out against the purchase was former Councilmember Robert Zwolak.
He said he’s in favor of having a city historical museum “but not this building.”
He said the Historical Commission needs to first present a three-year budget before a purchase is made.