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Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer will live at the governor's official residence in Lansing, a home whose living quarters have sat empty since former Gov. Jennifer Granholm moved out at the end of 2010.

At the beginning of his tenure in 2011, Gov. Rick Snyder chose instead to stay at his home in Superior Township while his youngest daughter, Kelsey, finished high school. He has commuted to Lansing throughout his eight years as governor. 

Whitmer, who currently lives in East Lansing, likely will finish moving into the residence after her inauguration in January, her spokesman Zack Pohl said. 

"The home already has security equipment in place," Pohl said in an email. "I'm not aware of any needed upgrades at this time."

Snyder has used the official residences in Lansing and on Mackinac Island for official and ceremonial functions. The residences are owned by the state of Michigan but maintained through private donations.

The 8,700-square-foot residence has five bedrooms and a private family room that includes a kitchenette and a fully commercial kitchen, among other amenities. 

The residence is a 1950s-style ranch home in an upscale Lansing neighborhood south of the Grand River. It was donated to the state by trucking magnate Howard Sober in 1969.

Forty-five states own an officially designated governor’s residence, according to the Center on the American Governor at Rutgers University. Massachusetts and Rhode Island have never had such a home, according to the center, while Arizona, Idaho and Vermont had residences at one point but changed their purpose or sold them.

Michigan's constitution requires the state to provide the governor with a residence and an allowance to maintain it. In 2010, a gubernatorial spokeswoman said it cost $50,000 a year to keep the residence lit, heated, cleaned and maintained even if no one lives there.

The residence was given a $2.5 million privately funded facelift in 2004 to make it more family-friendly.

The home on Mackinac Island, which the state has owned since 1944, includes 11 bedrooms, nine-and-a-half bathrooms and a full basement and that sits on a bluff overlooking the straits. The residence is open for weekly tours from June through August each year. 

eleblanc@detroitnews.com

 

 

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