I have good news to share!
Yesterday, the Detroit City Council approved critical agreements and resolutions related to the Gordie Howe International Bridge and associated community benefits. I have been honored to serve as an active member of the Community Advisory Group, led by Simone Sagovac, to advocate with the city, state and Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority for public health protections, job training and placement, air pollution mitigations and more. Southwest Detroit and Delray residents have been fighting for these needs for over a decade.
Yesterday’s vote was a victory for the community and the work will continue to make sure the programs are implemented in the best way possible, and continue to advocate with the WDBA and bridge bidders for other relevant community benefits.
I want to extend a special thank you to everyone on the Community Advisory Group, including Councilmember Castañeda-López, for their tenacity and effective advocacy — and two of my predecessors whose inspirational leadership on this issue will not be forgotten, Steve Tobocman and Rashida Tlaib.
Read on for more details about the agreements and a list of upcoming events and coffee hours!
Bridge With Benefits – Council Vote Details
The agreement involves the transfer of roadways and land between the city and state of Michigan, which is a critical step toward construction of the bridge. The city of Detroit will receive funds from the state in exchange for the land and use of the roadways. The city has expressed their commitment to the CAG for using those funds for the following benefits for the community.[i]
1) Health and emissions monitoring. Health Impact Assessments are to be conducted before construction, a year before opening and a year after the bridge is operational; two new permanent air quality monitors; a mobile monitoring unit; and 70 indoor air quality monitors for homes ($2.4 million).
2) Job training and placement program for all Detroiters. Five year program to fill bridge construction and operations jobs and broadly support other city jobs programs ($10 million).
3) Connectivity across I-75. New access to CHASS clinic from the north side of I-75 will be ensured, separated pedestrian crossings to increase safety from trucks and many other improvements.
4) Neighborhood Improvement Fund ($32.6 million).
- Voluntary relocation of Delray and Southwest residents adjacent to the bridge footprint – The “Bridging Neighborhoods” program will be designed with the Community Advisory Group and will offer home owners optional relocation to other Detroit neighborhoods.
- Noise and pollution abatement. Home retrofits for residents living closest to I-75 service drive.
5) The community retains right to negotiate other community benefits directly with the entity selected to design, build and maintain the bridge.
Rep. Stephanie Chang with community members at the Detroit City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 25.
Friday, Aug. 18: Coffee Hour at Parkview Towers. Join Rep. Chang for coffee and conversation from 10-11:30 a.m. at Parkview Towers, 1601 Robert Bradby Drive in Detroit.
Friday, Aug. 25: Coffee Hour at 8330 on the River. Join Rep. Chang for coffee and conversation from 10-11:30 a.m. at 8330 on the River, 8330 E. Jefferson Ave. in Detroit.
Friday, Sept. 22: District 6 Senior Advisory Council. Join senior residents of District 6 for our quarterly conversation at Heritage Place Magnolia, 3701 15th St. in Detroit.
Monday, Sept. 25: Auto Insurance Forum. Join us for an evening panel discussion about auto insurance in Detroit and Michigan, at 6 p.m. at Genesis Hope Church, 7200 Mack Ave. in Detroit. Check chang.housedems.com for updated information.
Friday, Sept. 29: Coffee hours at Donut Villa. Join Rep. Chang for coffee and conversation from 4:30-6 p.m. at Donut Villa, 5875 Vernor Hwy. in Detroit.
Monday, Oct. 2: Coffee Hours at Telegram Newspaper in River Rouge. Join Rep. Chang for coffee and conversation from 10-11:30 am at Telegram Newspaper, 10748 W. Jefferson Ave. in River Rouge
Monday, October 9: Coffee and Pie Hour in West Village. Join Rep. Chang for coffee, pie, and conversation from 10 - 11:30 a.m. at Sister Pie, 8066 Kercheval Ave. in Detroit.
Wednesday, Nov. 15: Skilled Trades/Small Business Forum. Join us for a set of evening panel discussions about skilled trades jobs and small business growth at 6 p.m. at Ecorse City Hall, 3869 W. Jefferson Ave. in Ecorse. Details forthcoming.
Thanks for reading this update and we hope to see you soon.
State Representative Stephanie Chang
6th House District
P.S. Don’t forget to fill out the online I-375 opinion survey if you haven’t already filled one out! I want to hear from residents about your thoughts on the six proposed alternative changes considered by the Michigan Department of Transportation. Here is the link to the survey.