A Grand Rapids-based community bank is donating a historic building it owns in downtown Ionia to the town’s library.
Mercantile Bank of Michigan said Wednesday, Jan. 13, it will donate its historic downtown Ionia building, at 302 W. Main St., to the Ionia Community Library in March. Mercantile Bank will continue to operate two Ionia locations.
“We recognize that this building has a long and rich history that is important to the downtown Ionia business district, as well as to the people of Ionia,” said Ray Reitsma, president of Mercantile Bank. “As a local Michigan bank with deep roots in the community, we knew that the future of this building should be to benefit the people, and we couldn’t think of a better new owner and caretaker than the Ionia Community Library. A place accessible to all, where people come together to learn, collaborate and enjoy their community.”
Mercantile Bank will continue to serve the Ionia market with banking, commercial and mortgage services at its two locations at 2600 S. State Rd. and 202 N. Dexter St. Both locations are scheduled for renovations throughout 2021, including expanded lobby service and an enhanced drive-thru with a live ATM banking machine at the Dexter Street location.
“Our customers are using alternative banking options more, thanks to our high-touch service model and robust online, mobile and card banking platforms,” said Tara Randall, senior vice president, retail banking director. “As we reviewed our existing locations in the Ionia market, we felt this was the best direction for us to be able to better serve our customers, and at the same time, invest in the Ionia community. We are looking forward to the Ionia community joining us in celebrating this transition.”
Gale Yeomans, Ionia Community Library board president, said the organization is grateful to Mercantile Bank for its gift of the building.
“We are very excited and enthused at the prospect of retrofitting the building to far better serve the needs of the Ionia community,” Yeomans said. “Our next steps will be to apply our community’s needs to this new plan and to share this new vision with our citizens to gain their support.”
Sitting at the corner of Main and Depot streets, the building is a two-story neoclassical structure with a temple front and two-story limestone columns. It is a key visual landmark and has been a fixture in the downtown Ionia business district since 1913. It once housed the Ionia County National Bank, with adjacent buildings including J.C Penney and attorney offices.