$48.4 million Detroit property deal helps clear the way for Gordie Howe International Bridge

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wdba walkthrough
A child gets to examine some heavy equipment at a Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority site walk-through in June.

A major hurdle for the construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge was cleared on June 22 with the announcement of a $48.4-million property deal with the city of Detroit.

The agreement will see governments on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border fork over the cash to the City of Detroit to buy property, spur on neighbourhood development, while providing job training and health monitoring for several communities, Detroit Mayor Mike Dugan said in a CBC report.

The plan to sell 36 parcels of the land to the state of Michigan will still need approval by Detroit city council.

“The only way we reduce poverty in the city is to raise the skill level of our residents, raise their employment levels and raise pay,” said Duggan. “We’ve demolished a lot of houses in this city. It is great to have a $33-million fund to renovate them.”

The agreement involves the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WBDA), Michigan and City of Detroit. The city will receive $22.9 million from the Michigan Department of Transportation, funded by the bridge authority. Detroit will also receive $10.1 million from WDBA for leases and service payments.

The $33 million will be invested in a neighbourhood improvement fund, while another $15.4 million will be funded by the state, CBC reported.

The deal will bring improvements to communities around the proposed bridge, especially in the community of Delray, an area in southwest Detroit where the bridge will be built, Duggan said.

“We want to take 240 vacant houses owned by the land and we want to renovate them with the funds being given,” he said. “People in the Delray community will get the first opportunity to swap their current house for one in the new subdivision.”

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