Wayne County Commissioners will vote Dec. 5 on plans to sell two of the historic Ford Village Industry mills in Hines Park to private developers as well as on the purchase of nearly 17 acres of a closed public golf course to expand the park.
The commission’s seven-member Committee on Public Services voted unanimously Nov. 26 to recommend all three proposals for a full commission vote.
The proposals include:
• A $360,000 purchase and development agreement between the county and Mill on Rouge, LLC of Plymouth for the 4.275-acre Wilcox Mill site at 230 Wilcox St., in Plymouth.
• A $405,000 purchase and development agreement between the county and Newburg Mill, LLC of Northville for Newburgh Mill, 37401 Edward N. Hines Drive, in Livonia.
• An agreement that would allow the county to buy 16.73 acres of the former Hawthorne Valley Golf Course on Merriman Road in Westland from the Wayne County Land Bank for $1 and use the property to expand Hines Park.
All three proposals are recommended by Wayne County Executive Warren Evans.
The buildings and state historic sites were among several village industry sites created under the direction of Henry Ford to bring small-scale factories to then-rural settings.
The Wilcox and Newburgh sites have been owned by the county since the late 1940s, but have fallen into significant disrepair over time. Neither site is currently open to the public.
The projected sale of the mills has generated both public support and opposition and dozens of people representing each side spoke during Tuesday’s committee meeting.
Commission Chairwoman Alisha Bell said Tuesday’s committee meeting provided a good opportunity for members of each group to express themselves.
“I’m appreciative of the passion on both sides,” Bell said. “This commission hears you and will make the best decision for you today and for a long time to come.”
Committee on Public Services Chairwoman Terry Marecki (R-Livonia) also thanked those who spoke for their particulation.
Wilcox Mill stands on the site of a former flour mill. The current building was designed by famed architect Albert Kahn and dates to 1923.
Should the sale be approved, the site would be converted to an arts studio and education center under the direction of local artist Tony Roko and with support of a local non-profit arts organization.
Newburgh Mill stands on the site of a former cider mill. The current building was created by the Depression-era Works Progress Administration in 1935. It has been used by the county parks system for storage and to house the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department mounted unit in recent years. The buyer would build a facility for the mounted unit at 8004 N. Farmington Road in Westland.
Hawthorne Valley closed several years ago and has remained vacant.