BY MELANIE YOUNG
The month of August was busy for the Woodhaven City Council and Mayor Patricia Odette, as several new measures were addressed. The mayor was excited to see a couple of projects she has been working on for years finally come to fruition.
A big development at the Aug. 3 meeting was the final approval of the acquisition of approximately 140 acres of land located east of I-75, south of West Road, behind the Detroiter Truck Stop. Odette said this was a project she’s been working on for several years. Most of the land was purchased from Ford Motor Company with money that had been set aside in the city’s General Fund. She praised the city’s administrator and treasurer for being “really smart at saving money.”
Odette has plans to put in a nature preserve on the eastern 70 acres. On the other 70 acres closest to I-75, she is working with a developer with hopes to put in a world class sportsplex type arena. Information will be forthcoming on that development once it is finalized.
The property is a large financial asset to the city. The city acquired the first parcel of the property for $84,000, the amount due in back taxes, the year that Odette became mayor. Recently that same property appraised for $1.2 million. The only current occupant of the property, a cement company, will be vacating soon.
“They have a certain amount of time to exit the property,” Odette said.
Mayor Odette also had an update on the Allen Road railroad track underpass. The road that was built on the land just east of I-75 is a bypass of Allen Road should that project ever get off the ground. Back in 2014, the city of Woodhav-en had received $3 million from the State of Michigan to use for the rail grade separation project.
At the same time, the city had applied for and was rejected for a federal transportation grant that would have also helped pay for the project. The city would have lost the money from the state had they not used it.
Odette said that the city chose to spend the $3 million on a permanent road for the city of Woodhaven that could serve as a bypass. The road will open once the city has widened the lanes in the Lowe’s parking lot and has updated the traffic lights at that intersection.
As far as the underpass itself, Odette has turned over every stone trying to get the funding. She said she’s tried working with regional authorities, applied for grants, including the above mentioned federal grant, and she’s “out of ideas” at this point.
There was one positive note about the railroad crossings that Odette was happy to report about. On Aug. 8, the Woodhaven Downtown Development Authority approved funding to purchase cameras that will be placed at all three railroad crossings in the city — Allen Road, Van Horn and King Road. The cameras will be tied into the city of Woodhaven’s website and will be accessible to anyone.
People will be able to check the camera before deciding which road to take and first responders will be better able to plan their routes.
Odette said that once approved, they should be up and running in four to six months.