By SARAH SCHUCH
The Flint Journal
GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Landscaping, new flooring and a better foundation are all part of future renovations for the Historic Perry McGrath Home.
By next month, officials hope to have structural, electrical and plumbing upgrades completed on the home, said Grand Blanc Township Supervisor Micki Hoffman. Recent renovations at the home also include the creation of 2 bathrooms.
"Our ultimate purpose (for the house) is for . meeting place for small groups and education for small kids," Hoffman said. "We're doing it piece by piece so we can afford it."
The historic home, built around 1825, was purchased by the township in 2006, saved from demolition and slated for preservation. The house is thought to be the second settlement in the Grand Blanc area.
Since then, a lot of work has been put into the 2,645-square-foot house, including roof work and the removal of lead paint, but Hoffman said there are still several years of work to be done on the home before it's completely finished.
The second floor of the building will not be open to the public in the near future, but the goal is to have the lower level ready within the next two years, she said.
From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on April 28, an Arbor Day event is planned in which the public can tour the home, learn the history of the property and the family that lived there, look through a display of artifacts found there and witness the tradition of planting a tree.
Ginny Knag, Grand Blanc Historic District Commission president, said she is proud of all the improvements so far.
"We've made a huge amount of progress. It actually looks like a home. It looks like it's cared for. . It was just kind of shabby looking," Knag said. "We're getting really close but we're not there yet."
Landscaping of the 20 acres around the house will soon be the next target. The plan includes vegetable gardens, a variety of plants and an area for weddings or other events. The first phase of the landscaping will be a butterfly garden.
With the help of a $500 grant sought from Keep Genesee County Beautiful, Hoffman hopes to see the butterfly garden work begin within the next month. In the next three years, she hopes to see all the landscaping plans completed.
"This is a place that people can come . paint, sit down and read a book and just be in nature," Hoffman said.
Knag said commission members want to incorporate plants, shrubs and vegetables that would have been found on the property in the early years, as well as have some new ones.
All the renovations done on the house are important for the sake of preserving the past, Knag said.
"It's important because it's part of our earliest history. And there's very little of our early history left. It's important to save a little bit of the old to move into the future," she said.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.