By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – Allen Park officials met with the Melvindale Planning Commission Dec. 12, and will seek approval Dec. 19 from the Melvindale City Council before buying Baker College land overlapping into Melvindale.
Allen Park seeks one consolidated site for a Department of Public Works site, and hope the Baker College site on Outer Drive east of I-94 and south of Outer Drive will enable it to incorporate a maintenance facility, office space, covered DPW equipment storage, an impound lot, a salt dome and gravel and sand storage at one location.
During an Allen Park City Council study session in November, City Manager Mark Kibby proposed putting a dog park on a 1.74-acre portion of the site that is in Melvindale, which is zoned residential. The Allen Park portion of the site is zoned light industrial.
At Allen Park meetings, city officials have labeled the dog park proposal on the proposed site plan, and at the Dec. 11 Allen Park City Council meeting Kibby told a resident who asked during citizen comment time that the city is seriously considering developing a dog park.
However, when Kibby, Allen Park Finance Director Bob Cady and Allen Park Building Official and Community Development Director Dave Boomer met with the Melvindale Planning Commission Dec. 12, they brought a site plan that removed the proposed dog park labeling, and did not mention the proposal to the commissioners.
Boomer said Baker College is not willing to subdivide the property, so Allen Park would be purchasing approximately two acres of land that are in the city of Melvindale if the deal comes to fruition.
“(Baker) wants to sell it as is,” Boomer said. “The two-and-a-half acres that actually sit in Melvindale we have left as green space, as you can see on the site plan that you have before you. There have been a couple of options, things that have been talked about, but at this point it would just be green space.”
Boomer said any buildings erected would be off of Outer Drive a couple of hundred feet, on the Allen Park portion of the site, and would likely be metal buildings of some type, while the front facade would be of masonry.
Boomer said Allen Park has proposed two entrances and exits that would require Wayne County approval.
“Our engineer has lined them up directly with Hanna and Harman streets, so they do line up with the roadways in Melvindale,” Boomer said. “If the front portion were developed further there would be no further curb cuts onto Outer Drive.”
Boomer said anything that went on the Melvindale portion of the property would have to go before the planning commission for approval. He said the parcel is a clean site. Allen Park would want to put a wayfinding sign to direct people to the location.
Kibby said that not many residents have a need to visit the site, which is counter-intuitive to the dog park proposal.
Cady said the city currently has two locations serving the DPW: One on Roosevelt across from the courthouse, and another behind where the old city hall was off Southfield Road, where the water building is, near I-94.
“The plan is to try to combine those into one site,” Cady said.
Boomer said Allen Park has had conversations with other communities about co-developments on things in the front of the Baker College site.
“We do not want to muddy the waters with any of that,” Boomer said. “That is why we left the green space, because time is of the essence. Our legal counsel would not allow us to close on the property before we came before this board, and that is why we thought the best thing to do would be to show you the plan showing you this open green space.”
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected].)