Nearly one year ago the Holly Heritage Farmstead restoration project hit a significant snag. Recently that snag was rectified.
The 119-year-old building is at 13409 N. Holly Road in Holly Township. It has historical significance in the community and had been used as the site for various farm-related events. But it was also dilapidated with a crumbling stone structure.
The structural work began in September 2017. The 80-ton barn was moved off the stone foundation. The stone foundation was replaced with one of concrete.
When the structure was moved onto its new foundation a significant problem was discovered. At several critical locations, the floor beams didn’t line up with the attachment points of the foundation itself, called pilasters. The concrete bases for the vertical floor supports also didn’t line up.
Without the proper support, the floor of the barn wouldn’t be able to support visitors, as it has been redesigned to do.
While a miscommunication between the architect, engineer and contractor likely caused the issue, Holly Township Supervisor George Kullis sought to resolve the problem without attorneys or finger pointing.
In the end, the issue has been fixed without litigation or extra taxpayer money being spent — but it took a year. “Cooperation from the parties involved got the project done,” Kullis said.
This past week the concrete floor was poured for the lower level walkout. New structural steel is being ordered and fabricated, and the outside wall needs to be built. There are temporary support posts in place.
Once structural work is done, Kullis will be in a position to work on the master plan with the committee. The plan is required to map out what to do next and how to use the property.
The eventual goal is to make the site an agricultural educational destination. The master plan committee visited other established educational and destination farms like Van Hoosen Farm in Rochester Hills.
He wants to “provide an educational place, for kids to see what farming was all about,” Kullis said. “We still need to eat, and food comes from somewhere.”
He noted that these other farm educational destinations have been in the works for between 25 and 40 years. “These don’t pop up over night.”