By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – Mayor Gail McLeod expressed her displeasure at the city being cut from the Ecorse Creek flooding prevention project at the Feb. 25 city council meeting due to alleged budget restrictions.
She said, at this time, the Army Corps of Engineers Ecorse Creek Project, as outlined in a recent Dearborn Heights town hall meeting, will have no impact on Allen Park.
McLeod said she understands the frustration of the Dearborn Heights residents, who, after years of studies, were told that while it would take a year to construct a retention pond, it may not occur until 2025 for the actual construction to begin.
“While I am not a Dearborn Heights resident, I empathize with them, and I heard every angry word that they said, and I agree with them,” McLeod said. “This is our tax dollars. We ought to all be angry.”
She said the hope held out by people in Allen Park who have seen water pour over the banks of Ecorse Creek repeatedly, whenever there is rain, was drowned out by the meeting.
“They watch a national website flood guide to know exactly when it is going to start to come over,” she said. “Many of them live with it. They have gotten used to it. They have prepared themselves for it, but their streets flood, and they can’t get out of their neighborhood.”
She said Allen Park residents have held out hope because they knew that the Army Corps of Engineers had studied the impact of the flooding on Allen Park.
“Our building department made a major size map of a smaller map just so we could get an idea,” she said.
McLeod said that after the town hall meeting, she received a call from a resident who stayed longer, and had an opportunity to talk to a representative from the Army Corp of Engineers, who learned that Allen Park was removed from the project so that they “could reduce the cost and get approval.”
“That is unacceptable,” McLeod said. “I intend to contact every entity that can be contacted and communicate just how unacceptable that is, starting with the county, through the state, through federal.”
She said there may be some grants available where Allen Park can at least alleviate or help residents, which she said she will investigate further.
“There may come a time when I am asking every one of you to start writing to your congressional representative,” McLeod said. “We have had enough of you taking our money and spending it not wisely, not prioritizing, and not caring about the people who are support you.”