The scenes at the old Town Hall on Preventorium Road and the new Municipal Building on Route 9 were as different as the buildings themselves on Friday.
A year after purchasing the former Global Building the transition from the old building to the new one took another step forward as Township Clerk Penny Wollman supervised the move of her office and staff to their new home. Township Manager Helene Schlegel had already moved earlier this summer so by the time the weekend started the quiet of the empty offices seemed to almost match perfectly with the bucolic surroundings of the nearly century old building.
For many township residents the building on Preventorium Road is the only Town Hall they have ever known and for many of the employees it is the only place they have ever worked. Some of the employees making the move said they will miss the surroundings more than the building itself as they move into the newer and more modern facility.
The busy Route 9 corridor has replaced their more accustomed views of the hill famous for sledding in the winter and the monuments and flags out front.
One part of the old building that has not been touched is the council chambers where at least one more meeting will be held on Tuesday before the doors are closed on this chapter of the building's history.
Just four miles away life was very different at the new building. A short elevator ride up to the second floor and the township's efforts of bringing a variety of services together was immediately clear. To the right is the temporary home of the Howell Fire Bureau which moved earlier this summer and the new offices for the Township Manager and Finance departments.
The new meeting room is still being worked on but the goal seems to be to have the second meeting in October, scheduled for Oct. 16 as its grand reveal to residents.
To the left are the new offices of the clerk's department. The collection of boxes that lined the halls and newly occupied offices showed how much work had been done at the old building as they worked to get back to their daily routine as quickly as possible.
Township Manager Helene Schlegel said she was encouraged by the work being done at the new building. "The move is progressing well and we ask that residents pardon our appearance during the final stages of construction," she said.
In the coming months questions will have to be answered about the fate of the soon to be emptied buildings. But today, as the new building starts its first full week as the hub for township business, a process that started a year ago has taken a big step forward. By the time the process is done the move to the new building figures to change the face of the township for years to come.