Feb 21, 2023 - News

Hubbard Richard residents fear Moroun takeover

Vehicles travel across the Ambassador Bridge

Vehicles travel across the Ambassador Bridge. Photo: Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Southwest Detroit residents are pressuring the City Council to help prevent a "takeover" of the Hubbard Richard neighborhood by owners of the Ambassador Bridge.

Threat level: If the council sides with the Moroun family, which owns the bridge, members of the neighborhood fear the company will expand operations, displacing residents and increasing truck traffic hazardous to their health.

Driving the news: The council is set to vote today on a land transfer deal between the city and the Detroit International Bridge Co. The city would give up 3.8 acres of park land near the bridge in exchange for $2 million to fix up nearby Riverside Park.

State of play: This is the latest faceoff between the Moroun family and Detroit residents.

  • The family, among the city's most prominent property owners, has been criticized in the past for harming neighborhoods. Properties acquired in Windsor for a second span, for example, fell into disrepair.

What they're saying: Councilmember Gabriela Santiago-Romero, whose district includes Hubbard Richard, says the land deal should not be approved until the bridge company signs a community benefits agreement with residents.

  • "This is all part of the bigger picture surrounding the Morouns," she said at a council committee meeting last week.

The other side: The bridge company has said the council is obligated to approve the land deal, as it's the final piece of a larger deal approved in 2015.

  • The company did not return Axios' request for comment.
  • Mayor Mike Duggan's administration is advocating for the council's approval so that the remaining Riverside Park upgrades, including a fishing area, can be finished.

The big picture: The Morouns need the park land for a second span to Canada — a long-standing pursuit that still faces obstacles. An Ambassador expansion still needs government approvals in both the United States and Canada, the Detroit News reports.

The bottom line: "I'm not going to stay if I'm surrounded by industry and more pollution and more trucks," Hubbard Richard resident Susan Shirkey tells Axios.

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