Michigan Central Station teardown ignites worries

Naomi R. Patton - Aptil 12, 2009

As the City of Detroit makes moves toward tearing down the decrepit Michigan Central Station, a state lawmaker is voicing concern that an emergency demolition would go unchecked and be harmful to neighbors.

State Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, said she is most concerned about how the site will be cleaned up after the demolition and how the residents will be affected.

"I'm worried this is some sort of shortcut to getting it done without having to pay to clean up the site," said Tlaib, who represents southwest Detroit. "It's been decaying so long, it's not going to be easy to tear down."

Detroit Mayor Ken Cockrel Jr. wants to secure $3.6 million in federal economic stimulus funds to demolish the structure. He said he would require station owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun to reimburse the city for demolition costs.

Calls to Moroun's staff were not returned.

Amru Meah, the city's Building and Safety Engineering Department director, said the building could be razed for about $3 million, once the costs to find and remove hazardous materials are added to the bill.

The City Council passed a resolution last week requesting the emergency demolition of property off Michigan Avenue. The city already has identified the old station, built in 1913, as a "dangerous building, open to the elements and open to trespassers," Meah said. It plans to demolish it under a 1984 ordinance that allows it to raze dangerous buildings.

On Saturday, Sarena Ridley, 23, moved into an apartment adjacent to the landmark: "They called it an eyesore, and I don't think I agree at all," Ridley said, adding that she has seen people stop to snap photos of the depot.

A hearing before the council to get approval for the demolition is scheduled for June.


firehard said...

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