New twist on reusing deconstructed building materials: bricks from a historic Michigan prison are sold to boost affordable housing

In Ionia County, Michigan, there’s a new twist on the practice of reusing construction materials from deconstructed buildings.

The State Land Bank Authority and Habitat for Humanity of Ionia County have partnered to sell bricks salvaged from the historic former Riverside Correctional Facility to raise money to boost the affordable housing stock through both renovation and new construction on redeveloped properties.

The State Land Bank Authority is thrilled to partner with Habitat for Humanity of Ionia County to help them honor their rich, historical past all while contributing to a brighter future and providing additional funding for restoration and revitalization in their community,” said Joseph Rivet, State Land Bank Authority Executive Director.

The former correctional facility was transferred to the State Land Bank Authority by the Department of Corrections as part of an initiative to return state-owned surplus properties to productive use.

The State Land Bank Authority has overseen the demolition process and is currently engaging the redevelopment community in the reuse in cooperation with the City of Ionia.

This fundraising opportunity allows individuals the chance to own a piece of the Riverside Correctional Facility which has deep historical roots in Ionia County, tracing its origins back to 1883, when it opened as a state hospital.

Originally known as the Michigan Asylum for Insane Criminals, it was later renamed the Ionia State Hospital.

Until 1972, the hospital provided treatment for the mentally ill and criminally insane.

The property underwent significant transformation and became the Riverside Correctional Facility in 1977.

Functioning as a medium-security prison, it housed an average of 1135 inmates at any given time until its closure in Nov. 2007.

We are proud to work with the State Land Bank Authority on this collaboration to preserve the past and support a brighter future for residents of Ionia County,” said Stacy Moore, Habitat for Humanity of Ionia County Executive Director.

These bricks represent the foundation upon which we can construct homes, create opportunities and enhance the lives of our neighbors. This initiative perfectly reflects Habitat for Humanity’s core values and we are excited to see the positive impact it will have on our community,” she added.

Pitsch Companies, responsible for the demolition of the facility, generously contributed a limited number of bricks that are now available at the Habitat for Humanity Ionia County Restore, with a suggested minimum donation of $20.00 per brick.

Funds raised through this initiative will directly support Habitat for Humanity’s programming in Ionia County, including home renovation, construction, wheelchair ramp building, exterior home repairs and more.

The State Land Bank Authority works to create a positive economic impact on Michigan communities by facilitating productive reuse of land. They work in a coordinated manner to foster the development of property to promote and support land bank operations at the county and local levels.

Photo courtesy of Michigan State Land Bank Authority.

See the Michigan State Land Bank Authority website.

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