Land swap deal approved by Detroit for second bridge to Canada

A land swap deal was approved for a second bridge to Canada and expansion of a downtown Detroit park.

The Detroit City Council's vote Tuesday removes a major hurdle for the Moroun family's ambitions to build a second international crossing.

Impassioned Detroiters made a final appeal to city council, hoping to sway them before their vote on a deal to swap city land for a strip on the riverfront and up to $5 million dollars.

"I think it's a win-win project for the city of Detroit and everyone involved," said one resident.

"When it goes bad, and it will, no matter how much you will cover it, we will remember your vote today." said another resident. "So please vote no."

"This is the time in the early stages that you have the power and not to give that power away," said a resident.  "We know that this is our golden opportunity and we would hope that each of you would listen to the people."

While the bridge company wants the land to build a bridge, residents were concerned about the opportunity to improve park land on the Detroit River.

"If you want a world class park, you have to get world class money," said a resident. "And $5 to $10 million isn't world class money for a park."

Perhaps the biggest issue is trust - trust in city officials to cut the best deal possible for residents and trust in Mayor Mike Duggan to hold the Detroit International Bridge Company accountable. 

Also an issue - trust in the Moroun family - a commodity in short supply in southwest Detroit.

"The particulars of the deal I don't believe were the issues," said Matt Moroun. "Our history I believe was the issue. I hope that's what I'm hoping we get over. I hope this is the first trust.

"I say give me a chance and let me earn your trust."

While several council members say they do not support a new bridge, the only members to vote against it were president Brenda Jones and Raquel Castaneda-Lopez. Lopez represents southwest Detroit.


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