Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, by ford The Michigan Central Station in Corktown project is on track, with the first of many target dates for completion starting in 2022. Holding an online community meeting, the team behind the Michigan Central project spoke about success, the state of construction and answered questions from those present. while they were assessing public opinion on the project.
MICHIGAN CENTRAL CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
Addressing the construction progress first, Mary Culler, director of the Michigan Central Initiative and current president of the Ford Fund, said more than 400 hundred workers are currently working on the historic building and progress is advancing. With the exterior scaffolding soon to be moved, one side of the old station was completely cleaned, with limestone, terracotta and the roof being replaced.
When it comes to the restoration of Michigan Central Station and Book Depot, we are always making progress thanks to the hard work of our wonderful construction team. There are about 450 workers on site today, Culler shared. There is so much progress to be made. I was there just two days ago and couldn’t believe the columns were on the front, there is so much beautiful cornice work going on outside you can really see it come alive.
Culler also referred to the fact that among the workers participating in the Accelerated Employment Program sponsored by Ford, 14 of the first 16 participants landed full-time jobs in the construction industry.
Looking inside Michigan Central Station, specialist crews are working on the restoration of Guastavino’s vaulted ceiling and ornate plaster inside the building’s lobby – a painstaking process that took 18 months and is to halfway. Next to the station building, the restoration of the book depot project is well underway and should be on track to open up to Ford and other employees by 2022.
Referring to the previously announced Bagley Mobility Hub, Culler explained that work on the project started in February and was being managed by Devon Industrial Group [DIG], a minority-owned, Detroit-based construction company.
Excited to be part of the Michigan Central project, DIG Co-CEO Stephanie Burnley said, “Thank you, Mary and the Ford team for choosing us as an entrepreneur for this opportunity. Our team looks forward to being a part of this vibrant community that follows the good times, the right jobs and the best talent. We look forward to what happens in Corktown.
The Bagley Mobility Hub is positioned as a large mobility hub, with access to electric bikes, electric vehicle charging, etc. Located near the planned route of the Joe Louis Greenway, the hub would allow easy access to transportation for Greenway users.
I think it’s actually going to be a really interesting building because even though it will be used as a parking lot, it really is so much more, added Culler. It will be a state-of-the-art MOBILITY center with approximately 1,253 parking spaces, an autonomous vehicle test area, electric charging stations, automated payment technology and intelligent guidance systems. It will also include public toilets, bicycle storage, free Wi-Fi, water fountains, green areas, outdoor plazas and micro-mobility solutions like electric bicycles and scooters, which will be an excellent resource shared with residents, and of course users of the greenway.
EVENTS AND INITIATIVES
One of the main goals of the Michigan Central Station project is to create a community of mobility innovators and entrepreneurs, something Ford has worked with with a multitude of partners. Speaking on this, Roshni Shokar, Startup & Entrepreneur Engagement with Michigan Central Development, spoke of the valuable partnership the organization has with the Detroit-based collaborative workspace Bamboo Detroit.
Together, a few upcoming events are planned including one Show and tell about spring mobility on 04/27 and a Venture Capital Focus Group on 19/5. The goal of these programs is to engage community members and entrepreneurs in maintaining open communication about what is happening in Corktown.
“We want to keep the lines of communication open on what’s to come and also make sure you are all aware of the opportunities to get involved,” Shokar explained. “Our goal is to make these pilots as meaningful to residents as they are to the mobility companies overseeing them. So we are really happy to involve anyone who is interested. We think this is a great opportunity for the community to connect with some of the innovations that are going to happen in Central Michigan.
Those interested in participating, in both cases, can do so by visiting bamboudetroit.com/bamboo-detroit-events.
QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS
Responding to questions from those in attendance, one question was about home repair requests through Michigan Central and how many have been accepted, as well as how much money has been committed to the initiative.
In response, Heather Zygmontowicz, director of Bridging Neighborhoods at the city of Detroit, said the program started with $ 750,000 and 50 grants. After receiving 197 applications, 50 houses have been selected so far and after evaluation the funds will be used for construction. Currently for the project, construction efforts are expected to begin in June.
Another question that comes with almost every meeting is rail access to Michigan Central Station. While there is no definite answer, Culler said they are leaving the rail connection as a potential for the future.
“I think that’s a really important question because it’s right there on the rail, so I think – as we’ve discussed before – we’re definitely protecting the rail,” Culler said. “What that means exactly is hard to say. Right from the start, we did a study on rail and we really tried to defend the concept of rail, but it’s really complicated. So TBD, but we’re definitely protecting it at this point. “
Further questions regarding the opening dates of the Mobility Hub – which is expected to open alongside the Book Depository next spring or early summer – as well as the inclusion of public art initiatives in the renovation process . Responding to the last question, the team indicated that local artists would be involved, and as the project progresses more information should come out.
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