The Detroit City Council recently convened a special hearing to deliberate a proposed land sale of 301 city-owned parcels to the State of Michigan for $1.4 million. The properties are within the footprint of the plaza for the planned New International Trade Crossing (NITC), the new bridge between Canada and the US.
During the hearing, city council members and community advocates pressed for a community benefits agreement to be attached to the land sale. Gary Brown from the Emergency Manager’s office agreed to withdraw the agreement while negotiations for a CBA move forward with input from the offices of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, Mayor Mike Duggan, Governor Rick Snyder, the city council, and a member of the community.
The SouthWest Community Benefits Coalition (SWCBC) has been organizing for several years for a CBA to mitigate the impact of the new bridge on the adjacent community. Scott Brines, a Delray resident and chair of the SWCBC Board, said: “It’s very much a struggle to put community folk through a major development with no guarantees. Living in an industrial community as we do in Southwest, we have to do development differently and that’s why community benefits have to be part of this conversation.”
This is the first time Emergency Manager Orr rescinded a request for the council’s approval of a sale or lease of city assets. The state’s emergency manager law requires Orr to seek the council’s input, but it provides an avenue for the state to override any rejection from the city council.