Construction on a new train station featuring bus and shuttle service is expected to start in April after the city closed on property Feb. 10 south of the Southfield Freeway. Merging the Amtrak station and a passenger-only stop near The Henry Ford, the 16,000 square-foot station is expected to feature exhibits from The Henry Ford and a Pure Michigan kiosk. Above, artist renderings of the new train station, scheduled for completion in 2013.
By DANIEL HERATY
DEARBORN – City officials closed on property Feb. 10 for construction of a new train station featuring bus and shuttle service.
Construction is scheduled to start in April 2012 and finished by 2013.
A $28 million grant awarded from the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2010, and about $115,000 from the city’s general fund, will provide funding for the project, scheduled for a 6.8-acre allotment of land west of the Southfield Freeway on Michigan Avenue, purchased by the city for about $2 million in January.
“This is an important step, for sure,” Dearborn Economic and Community Development Director Barry Murray said. “We’re pretty excited about finishing up that part of the deal.” Murray said construction can start after DTE Energy crews remove power lines on the site.
Plans for the station began in 2009, when city officials applied for a grant from the U.S. Federal Railroad Administration. The city was one of three, including Troy and Battle Creek, to receive funds for improving the stations. The state previously received about $160 million in funding for high-speed rail improvements.
Once built, the 16,000 square-foot train station will consolidate the existing Amtrak Station, 16121 Michigan Avenue, and a passenger-only stop at The Henry Ford with the new station, making it a “beehive” of activity in the surrounding neighborhoods, Murray said. He added features will include exhibits from The “win-win” for the museum and visitors adding she hopes to have additional events in the future.
“We’re encouraging young people to do fun things here,” she said. “If it works, it brings a lot of people into town.”
Reaction from visitors was positive. Detroit resident Ummsala Mah-Baksh, who learned about it from a coworker, said she was interested in seeing the display firsthand.
“I’m an art student myself,” she said. “So I wanted to see other ideas of how I could incorporate it with the students I work with.” She said she thought the display would be more interactive, allowing people to walk around and creating their own art, but she was still impressed.
“This is a really good idea,” Mah-Baksh said. “It’s really a fun thing for kids to do.”
Dearborn resident Jason Gregg agreed, saying the display was a good use of space and something interesting to do on a Friday night.
“I think it’s pretty interesting,” he said. “It’s a vacant lot, at least they’re using it for something.”
Kelly said her reaction to seeing the finished project was “tough,” adding that, as a perfectionist, it’s difficult to accept having some aspect of the design not turn out exactly as they hoped.
“We’re designers,” she said. “So we think everything we do sucks.”
(Daniel Heraty can be reached at [email protected])