Township Moving Forward With Development Plans for 7 Mile Property
Beginning Monday, a five-member committee will review proposals for the former psychiatric hospital site.
Updated: An interview with Marjorie Banner, who serves on the township Board of Trustees, was added to this story.
Northville Township is moving ahead on development plans for the former state psychiatric hospital on 7 Mile Road.
Beginning today, Monday, township officials will begin interviewing prospective consultants to assist in creating a master plan for the 332-acre property.
"A five member selection committee will be interviewing five consultant teams," township Community Planner Jennifer Frey said. "We hope to make a selection and have someone on board after the first of the year."
The overall development plan is expected to include an additional 17-acre township-owned parcel. An additional 82-acre parcel near the site is scheduled for commercial development.
Township officials are looking for someone to create "a dynamic vision for the site" governing short- and long-term development as well as cost estimates. Selection will be based upon the winning firm's "design approach and relevant experiences" as well as its "ability to deliver a plan that can be effectively implemented," according to the RFP.
The site was closed by the Michigan Department of Community Health in 2003. Its buildings are scheduled to be demolished to make way for "preserving open space and creating future recreation amenities," according to the township request for proposal, a guide document issued to prospective consultants.
An adjacent 82-acre parcel is scheduled for commercial development.
Some degree of environmental cleanup would have to be conducted on the site, according to township documents. The property contains a section of the once heavily-polluted Rouge River, the subject of volunteer cleanups for more than two decades.
Last winter, a group of University of Michigan graduate students in urban planning conducted a preliminary site review and held a public workshop as an educational project.
The township began ongoing salvage operations on building materials this summer, selling off whatever materials it could.
Consultant fees, township trustee Marjorie Banner said, are expected to be paid through money raised from on-site salvaging operations.
And, she added, "There absolutely will be public input in the process. We want citizens to tell us what they want for the property."
The site has experienced a checkered recent history.
Northville Township authorized $23.5 in bonds to purchase the property in December 2009 after an earlier development was scaled back.
That plan, put forth by private developer REIS, would have involved annexation of a good portion of the property by neighboring Livonia. The annexation was opposed by the township residents and rejected by Livonia voters in 2008. Township voters approved the bonds in August 2009. The bonds became a bone of contention for some township residents two months later, after the township announced plans for police department layoffs due to a budget shortfall.
The hospital opened in 1952. Before that, the site was used as a center for children with mental deficiencies.