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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Re-energizing a new Detroit on the land that was known as the Michigan State Fair.

By Hardcore Detroit,

               A coalition of community groups and developers have different visions on what should be put on the land that once occupied the Michigan State Fair.  At the time of this writing, there are two groups that are vying for the rights to redevelop the land. The first group Magic Plus LLC, led by Magic Johnson and Marvin Beatty would include a shopping mall and a new Amtrak station among other things. The second group Michigan Energy Technology Agriculture (META) Group wants to place more homes and office buildings on the same land.

               These are the issues being discussed with the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority and developers to revitalize the land between 7 and 8 Mile road, between Woodward and John R. Currently, this area is a tragic outgrowth of what happened during the foreclosure crisis with streets full of abandoned homes. Some of the homes were absolutely gorgeous and structurally sound, only to be turned into slums by the banks that let them get looted for pipes, water tanks, and other home fixtures.

               Omni-directional transportation is a must in the city.  While focusing on north and south issues in Detroit, there is an east and west issue too.  The mile roads in Detroit deserve the same respect as Woodward Avenue in regards to transportation.  If there is going to be a light rail system, let it run up and down Gratiot and Grand River.  This would also include east and west rail from places like Fairlane all the way east to the Eastland Mall property for instance.  Everyone does not live close to 8 mile and this would be a solution for getting to destinations from the east and west. 

Both plans include a new AMTRAK Train station. The current AMTRAK station on Woodward and Milwaukee is too small and lacks the parking needed to serve customers. People are currently going to Dearborn to get on the train because of the condition of the station, parking, and not having to climb the stairs to get to a train.  By putting an AMTRAK Station at the fairgrounds, this would be a complete transportation hub for busses and, a people mover type of light rail system in the City of Detroit and surrounding areas. AMTRAK connections to  Chicago, Flint, Pontiac and beyond will be greatly enhanced with the new Amtrak station.

META Technology Group has a YouTube video presentation regarding their plan to re-develop the area(click here to view video). As of this writing, Magic Plus LLC does not have a video presentation available to view to show their plan.  Otherwise the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track authority is taking public and written comment on the State Fair property. You can contact them at or by calling (517) 335-8212. Either way you choose, the future of Detroit is looking very promising.

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