Some of the buildings on Northville Township’s Seven Mile property – the abandoned psychiatric hospital facility – could come down as soon as Summer 2012.
At its meeting Thursday night, the board of trustees heard from Doug Chenoweth, Project Manager at Plymouth-based Conestoga-Rovers & Associates (CRA), which is overseeing the plan to use from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The grant was awarded in June 2011.
The board of trustees approved a plan to open CRA’s proposal for public comment on the township website. Public comment will be accepted until Jan. 31, 2012 via the website, email, mail or phone, Chenoweth said. The comment responses will be posted online until Feb. 2012. If all goes well, the buildings could come down as early as Summer 2012, said township public services director Don Weaver.
CRA’s proposal has two main components: tearing down two of the 20 buildings on the property and cleanup associated with demolition. Chenoweth explained that many of the buildings were coated with asbestos. They also contain other contaminants like lead paint and oils from machinery. The two buildings recommended to be torn down are the powerhouse and maintenance facilities. The property has been vacant since the State of Michigan left it in 2003. A year later, it was purchased by the township.
He told the board that although the grant is helpful in developing a plan to tear down the buildings and begin a cleanup effort, it is not a lot of money to work with.
“You can easily chew that budget up and not see much in returns,” Chenoweth said.
The two buildings were selected for several reasons including, he said:
- Safety issues: CRA's investigation of the site shows indications of widespread trespassing, including debris from fires. It also reviewed how visible the buildings were from nearby streets and accessibility.
- They pose a sizeable human health and environmental threat
- The buildings have the greatest potential for salvageable materials. This not only includes steel but other materials too like brick. The powerhouse structure alone holds an estimated 200 tons of salvageable steel.
Adding demolition to the cleanup grant maximizes the award money, he said, explaining that the township is essentially killing two birds with one stone.
"Northville Township is a longshot for some grants at this point," he said. "In the next year and next round of funding, you can position yourself for better funding."