Dearborn Opens New $28 million Train Station

December 15th, 2014

The city of Dearborn today celebrated a milestone with the grand opening ceremony of the city’s $28.2 million intermodal passenger rail station, dedicated in honor of retiring Congressman John Dingell, the longest serving member of Congress in U.S. history and an essential advocate for the completion of the transit center.

The city-owned John D. Dingell Transit Center is at 21201 W. Michigan Ave., west of the Southfield Freeway at the entrance to Dearborn’s west downtown and just north of The Henry Ford. It replaces a smaller station erected by Amtrak on city property in 1979. The station was fully funded by $28.2 million from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and has free parking, free Wi-Fi, a soon-to-open Tim Hortons restaurant and bike racks.

Amtrak operates and staffs the station. Six daily Wolverine Service trains sponsored by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) run daily through Dearborn.  Nearly 79,000 Amtrak passengers used the former station in the last year, making it the busiest in Metro Detroit, More intercity passenger traffic is expected as MDOT’s accelerated rail project continues between Pontiac and Chicago, via Dearborn.

The station is also an important component in initiatives for commuter rail between Ann Arbor and Detroit. It is also seen as an economic driver for Dearborn and is anticipated to bring more business to the city, and in the future can inspire residential and other developments in the downtown area.

“We are excited not just to open this station, but to be part of the future of rail transportation,” said Dearborn Mayor John B. O’Reilly. “Today marks just the start of the possibilities for economic growth; for greater links between Dearborn, the region and the Midwest; and for our ability to showcase our outstanding community to more visitors, more customers and more employees attracted to our city because of convenient connections.”

The station is strategically placed so it has easy access to The Henry Ford, the visitor attraction that brings in 1.6 million people each year. Patricia Mooradian, president of The Henry Ford, was among the speakers.

“The Henry Ford is delighted by the formal dedication of the new John D. Dingell Transit Center,” said Mooradian. “The center will serve as a major intermodal hub for travelers throughout the region and beyond; a focal point for future transit oriented development here in Dearborn; and a new entryway onto the National Historic Landmark campus of The Henry Ford.”

The vision for an Intermodal Station

The pedestrian-friendly Dearborn Intermodal Passenger Rail Station serves as a rail gateway to Dearborn and southeast Michigan. The important transportation link will allow thousands of passengers per year to make connections to the Amtrak Wolverine service that extends from Pontiac to Chicago; as well as to SMART, DDOT, Greyhound and charter buses; corporate and hotel shuttles; taxis and personal vehicles.

The station’s proximity to the Rouge River Gateway Trail on the north side of Michigan Avenue in Dearborn should prove popular to pedestrians and bicyclists and provide easy access to the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Henry Ford College.

About the building

The 16,000-square-foot transit center draws on historic railroad architecture, combining traditional red brick with large expanses of glass. As passengers approach, they are greeted by a clock tower with gabled roof. A glass enclosed passenger bridge connects the building with the south platform. The axis of the bridge is aligned with the clock tower of the Henry Ford Museum, an appropriate design move since the station includes a new entrance to the popular cultural institution.

The two-story waiting room includes tall round-arched windows, as well as square windows below the roofline. Altogether, they allow ample natural light to bathe the interior throughout the day. Interior walls are composed of smooth cream colored concrete masonry units accented by rough textured horizontal bands; terrazzo floors are elegant yet durable.  Public art includes a mosaic entitled “Transformations” that was designed by Dearborn high school students.

“Green” elements

Through the selection and use of environmentally friendly materials and design solutions, the John D. Dingell Transit Center achieved a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. Sustainable features include a metal roof with solar collectors, energy-efficient lighting and geothermal heating and cooling.

For more information about the station, its unique features and the rich history of Dearborn with an emphasis on railroads, visit the Amtrak Great American Stations website.

Economic growth

Dearborn is courting further economic possibilities with transit oriented development.  Research shows people want to live and work near mixed-use residential and commercial areas close to public transportation and, because they do, property values can be strengthened

Curbside Yard Waste Collection Ends Dec. 8-12

December 9th, 2014

Collection of yard waste at Dearborn residents’ curbs ends for the season the week of Dec. 8-12.

Yard waste collection begins again the week of March 16, 2015.

Yard waste includes grass clippings, weeds, leaves, shrubs and brush trimmings.

It does not include fruits or vegetables or animal droppings.

Put yard waste into yard waste paper bags or your own 20 – 32 gallon container. Mark your container with a yard waste sticker. Stickers are available free at Dearborn libraries and the Dearborn Administrative Center.

Do not use plastic bags or cardboard boxes.

Private contractors must haul away their own debris. Do not blow or sweep yard waste into the street.

Unbundled or improperly bundled brush requires a special pickup. Call 943-2433 for fees.

Open House Dec. 15 at New Dearborn Train Station

December 3rd, 2014
The public is invited to a free open house at Dearborn’s new train station, the John D. Dingell Transit Center, from 4-6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 15.

The public is invited to a free open house at Dearborn’s new train station, the John D. Dingell Transit Center, from 4-6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 15.

The public is invited to a free open house at Dearborn’s new train station, the John D. Dingell Transit Center, from 4-6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 15

The new transit center is at 21201 Michigan Ave., near Brady Street, at the entrance to the west downtown business district.

At the Dec. 15 open house, residents can tour the station, see informative displays and talk with people knowledgeable about the future of train travel.  A mural created by Dearborn students will also be featured.

In addition, people attending the open house can enter a free drawing to win tickets to The Henry Ford’s popular Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village.

The new station will open for business a few days before the open house.

Amtrak trains will begin stopping at the 21201 Michigan Ave. site on Wednesday, Dec. 10. Amtrak is moving its operations from the current train station behind the Dearborn Police Station.

The new 16,000-square-foot Dingell Transit Center promotes intermodal transportation, connecting travelers via train, bus, taxi and pedestrian and bike paths to work, education, cultural attractions, shopping and recreation in Dearborn and beyond.

The station is an important component in initiatives to boost commuter rail from Ann Arbor to Detroit and accelerated speed rail from Pontiac to Chicago.

Six Amtrak trains will continue to stop daily at Dingell Transit Center, with increased Amtrak service and the addition of commuter rail expected in the coming years. In fiscal year 2014, almost 79,000 passengers used the existing Dearborn Amtrak station.

“Dearborn is excited to be part of the future of rail. We will continue to work with our partners to increase convenient travel that starts in Dearborn and takes riders throughout southeast Michigan, as well as between Dearborn and Chicago,” said Mayor John. B. O’Reilly, Jr.  “We’re anticipating bringing more customers to our Dearborn businesses and more visitors to our cultural and entertainment venues. And in the near future, people are going to find it very easy to get on a train in Dearborn and connect with the new M1-Rail in Detroit for an evening out or to go to a game.”

The new transit center was funded entirely with $28.2 million from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The City of Dearborn owns the station and the 7-acre site, and Amtrak will run the facility.

The Henry Ford has historic displays inside the center, including an iconic Davenport train engine.

The transit center also features a pedestrian bridge over the tracks that will allow travelers to access a new entrance to The Henry Ford complex, including the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, the IMAX Theater, and Ford Rouge Factory Tours. About 1.6 million people a year visit The Henry Ford.

Ford Motor Company will plans on having a new F-150 on display at the transit center.

The transit center has a silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED). The building has a metal roof with solar collectors, energy efficient lighting, and geothermal heating and cooling.

Inside the building is also a large tile mural created by students and volunteers in the Pockets of Perception (POP) art project. The initiative, led by the Dearborn Community Fund, brings together high school students from across Dearborn to create community art.  For the station, students designed the mural and enlisted volunteers to help create some of the tiles.  A POP representative will be on hand during the open house to share more information about the project.

Dearborn Updates Snow Emergency Ordinance

November 20th, 2014

The City of Dearborn has updated its snow emergency ordinance to include a pilot program to provide temporary parking areas in order to assist residents who have difficulties removing their vehicles from the street during a declared emergency.

When a snow emergency is in effect, parked vehicles must be removed from roads to allow for safer and more effective snow plowing.

Vehicles parked on streets during snow emergencies will be ticketed. Police do not issue warnings. Tickets are $80.

This winter season, the City will be offering a temporary parking option on designated streets for residents in neighborhoods in southeast Dearborn.

In addition, the temporary parking will be allowed on designated streets in the northeast portion of Dearborn, bounded by Ford Road to Warren Avenue, and Chase Road to Oakman Boulevard.

Signs will be posted on temporary parking streets to notify residents which roads are being made available for this service. Residents are responsible for moving their vehicles back to their own street once the road is cleared so that the temporary parking streets can also be plowed.

Vehicles must be removed from the temporary parking areas within 24 hours of the snow emergency declaration or the owner will be ticketed.

With the previous winter’s large amount of snowfall, the City identified these areas where residents had the most difficulty removing vehicles due to congestion or lack of sufficient driveway space.

Residents in these neighborhoods who cannot park vehicles in their driveways will be able to temporarily park on the following designated streets:

Southeast Dearborn:

·         Eagle, from Amazon to Salina

·         Lapeer, from Ferney to Amazon

·         Lowrey, from Holly to Saulino Court

·         Westlawn, from Vernor to Burley

·         Tuxedo, from Ferney to Riverside Drive

·         Whittington, from Canterbury to Riverside Drive

·         Berkshire, from Industrial to Canterbury

·         Morningside, from Industrial to Wyoming

·         Riverside Drive, from Industrial to Vernor

Northeast Dearborn:

·         Blesser, from Maple to Oakman

·         Henson, from Maple to Oakman

·         Henn, from Chase to Williamson

·         Haggerty, from Maple to Calhoun

·         Paul, from Chase to Horger and between Schaefer and Hartwell

·         Hemlock, from Chase to Oakman

·         Donald, from Chase to Calhoun and between Reuter and Oakman

·         Alber, from Reuter to Oakman

A map highlighting these temporary parking areas is posted on the City’s website, www.cityofdearborn.org

The City Council further amended the snow emergency ordinance by eliminating the discount for paying a snow emergency ticket within the first three days. Previously, tickets would increase to $80 after that three-day period, but will now be $80 from the moment of issuance.

The Council also added a provision that permits police to ticket parked vehicles even after a snow emergency has expired. These specific cases would apply to vehicles that are plowed in by snow plows, covered by snow, or show other signs of never having been moved during the snow emergency.

Snow emergencies may be declared when three inches or more of snow is expected over a short period of time.

These declarations are made so that the City can plow streets from curb to curb, allowing ambulances, fire trucks and police cars to reach residents as quickly as possible, and also permitting residents to safely navigate two-lane residential streets.

When a snow emergency is declared, the outdoor early warning sirens will be activated to signal the beginning of the emergency. Parked vehicles must be removed when the sirens sound.

Residents can also check to see if a snow emergency is in effect by checking www.cityofdearborn.org, by visiting the City’s Facebook and Twitter pages, or by calling the Dearborn’s snow emergency hotline at 313-943-2444.
Snow emergency information will be posted on City of Dearborn Television (CDTV) and sent out via email and text alerts through Nixle. Residents can sign up to receive email and text alerts at Nixle.com.

 

Dearborn Working With Owners to Preserve Hotel

October 31st, 2014

The City of Dearborn is working with the owners of the 772-room conference hotel known as the Adoba and formerly the Hyatt to ensure that the business transitions smoothly for guests and employees after the operator of the Adoba announced unexpectedly it was leaving on Friday, Oct. 31.

Mayor John B. O’Reilly, Jr. and his administration were in contact with the owner on Thursday so that the hotel can stay open for business, guests can keep their reservations and the 235 employees can remain on the job.

The owner, Royal Realities, has assured the City that it has an operator ready to take over the hotel at midnight on Friday.

“We are optimistic that this landmark hotel will continue serving guests and employing staff members,” said Mayor O’Reilly. “The hotel accommodates so many conferences and visitors to Dearborn, whose impression of our city often starts with their experience at the hotel. We have every reason to work with the owners to ensure that the hotel remains an appealing center of hospitality and commerce in our community and region.”

Royal Realities must pay delinquent personal property taxes owed to the City in order to receive a hotel license. Under City of Dearborn Code of Ordinances, a hotel license cannot be issued if personal property taxes are not paid. As of Oct. 30, about $335,000 in personal property taxes is owed to the City.

Royal Realities was in court late on Thursday petitioning for the release of insurance money held in escrow so that it could immediately pay the personal property taxes to the City.

Royal Realities and the operator of the hotel, Atmosphere Hospitality Management Services LLC, have been in litigation. The City has no role in the legal dispute between the two.

The City has constantly advocated for the success of Dearborn’s largest hotel and to be supportive of any actions that focused on that goal.

“We want to make sure it remains a landmark for Dearborn, and continues to draw in visitors and conferences from around the country,” said the Mayor.

Dearborn Schools Millage Renewal on November Ballot, One-fifth of District’s Budget at Stake

October 10th, 2014

Dbn schools logoThe Dearborn Public Schools invites all community members to attend a special informational meeting on either Wednesday, October 15 or Monday, October 20.

The meetings to provide information about the Hold Harmless Millage RENEWAL on the ballot of the upcoming election will start at 7 p.m. and will be held in the Board Room at the school district’s Administrative Service Center, 18700 Audette, Dearborn, 48124.

The Hold Harmless Millage provides approximately $40 million of the district’s $180 million budget. It will expire in the spring of 2015. The district is asking residents to RENEW this millage for another 10 years. This is not an increase or new tax, only a RENEWAL of an existing millage.

The Hold Harmless millage was first approved by voters in 1995 then renewed in 2004. The millage is made up of two parts: 18 mills on business and commercial property, generating $27.8 million and 6.17 mills on homeowners, generating $11.5 million. Combined, the Hold Harmless Millage generates $39.3 million or 22 percent of the District’s total $178.7 million budget.

Dearborn Schools cannot afford to see this millage renewal fail. A 22 percent reduction in the budget would force the administration and Board of Education to make dramatic reductions across the spectrum of opportunities now offered to students. Services such as busing, programs such as art, music, and sports, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities and numerous elective classes would come under scrutiny and might need to be cut or drastically reduced.

Additional information can be found on a special Hold Harmless Renewal website HERE or by calling the Dearborn Public Schools Communications Office at 827-3006.

Dearborn Firefighters Pumpkin Patch Opens Oct. 18

October 9th, 2014

Help the Dearborn Firefighters Burn Drive help injured and sick children, and families in need, by visiting the Pumpkin Patch at the Fire Station on Outer Drive, north of Michigan Avenue, on Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 18-19 and Oct. 25- 26. The patch will be open noon to 5 p.m.

All pumpkins are $5.

Enjoy free hot dogs, cider, donuts, hot chocolate and coffee.

Family activities are on site. Children can climb on a fire truck, get their face painted, visit with a clown and see Sparky, the department’s mascot.

For more information, please call Steve Worden at 313-478-6761

Try Hockey for Free at Dearborn Ice Skating Center

September 26th, 2014

Dearborn-area children aged four through 10 are invited to “try hockey for free” Sunday, October 5, at the Dearborn Ice Skating Center (DISC).

Try Hockey for Free will offer two sessions: 1-2:15 p.m. for ages 4-6 and 1:45-3 p.m. for ages 7-10.

All equipment for the event will be provided, but pre-registration is required.

Prospective participants must pre-register for Try Hockey for Free by visiting the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association website, www.MAHA.org. Participation is limited to the first 40 youngsters.

Try Hockey for Free is a cooperative venture of the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association, the Detroit Red Wings Foundation and the Dearborn Recreation & Parks Department.
For more information, call the DISC at (313) 943-4098.

Sept. 23 City Council Meeting at New City Offices

September 20th, 2014

Residents wanting to attend the Sept. 23 business meeting of the Dearborn City Council are advised to go to the new Dearborn Administrative Center, 16901 Michigan Ave.

It will be the first council meeting in the city’s new government office building.

The DAC is the first building west of the Henry Ford Centennial Library. Parking is behind the building. For the City Council meeting, enter through the west door. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m.

Note that the Sept. 23 council meeting will be taped and rebroadcast multiple times from Wednesday, Sept. 24 through Monday, Oct. 6 on CDTV, the city’s government access cable channel.

The Sept. 23 City Council meeting will not be broadcast live on CDTV or online.

Tuesday, Sept. 23, is the first day the DAC will be open to the public. The Mayor’s Office, City Council, City Clerk and many administrative departments will be conducting business at the DAC.

At the DAC, customers will find it easier to navigate in the new building, with all popular services provided at a comprehensive service counter immediately in the main entrance. A staff person will be stationed in front of the main service counter to direct and assist.

Getting a birth certificate, registering to vote, applying for a building permit or certificate of occupancy, paying taxes and water bills, or filing a Homestead Property Tax Credit are among the services provided within a few steps of the main door of the DAC.

Departments relocating to the DAC are Assessor’s, Economic and Community Development, Engineering, Finance, Housing, Human Resources, Law and City Plan, Management Information Systems, Public Information and City of Dearborn Television, Residential Services and the Treasurer’s Office.

All city phone numbers and email addresses will remain the same.

Departments still located in their own facilities are the Department of Public Works, Recreation and Parks, Libraries, Fire, Police and the Historical Museum.

For more information, please call the Department of Public Information at 313-943-2285 or visit www.cityofdearborn.org

Dearborn City Hall Relocating to New Home Sept. 22

September 4th, 2014
New Dearborn City Hall 2014

Dearborn City Hall will move to new offices Sept. 22. The new offices will be in a building now known as the Dearborn Administrative Center (DAC), 16901 Michigan Ave.

Dearborn’s City Hall is moving.

As of Monday, Sept. 22, the Mayor’s Office, City Council, City Clerk and many administrative departments will be conducting business about two miles west of the current City Hall.

The new offices will be in a building now known as the Dearborn Administrative Center (DAC), 16901 Michigan Ave.

It is on the south side of Michigan Avenue, generally across from Ford World Headquarters and just east of the Southfield Freeway.

It sits on the western edge of the city’s municipal complex, which includes the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, the Police Station and 19th District Court, the Henry Ford Centennial Library, and an athletic field.

Customers will find it easier to navigate in the new building, with many popular services provided at a comprehensive counter immediately in the main entrance to the DAC. A staff person will be stationed in front of the main service counter to direct and assist.

Getting a birth certificate, registering to vote, applying for a building permit or certificate of occupancy, paying taxes and water bills, or filing a Homestead Property Tax Credit are among the services provided within a few steps of the main door.

The departments moving to the DAC are Assessor’s, Economic and Community Development, Engineering, Finance, Housing, Human Resources, Law and City Plan, Management Information Systems, Public Information, and Residential Services.

Departments still located in their own facilities are the Department of Public Works, Recreation and Parks, Libraries, Fire, Police and the Historical Museum.

City Council meetings are expected to begin taking place at the DAC with the regularly scheduled business meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 23.

The current City Hall at 13615 Michigan Avenue will be closed for business as of 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 19.

For more information, please call the Department of Public Information at 313-943-2285 or visit www.cityofdearborn.org