Archive for September, 2012

Camp Dearborn Offers Three Halloween Weekends

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Pumpkin decorating contestants in 2010 show off their creations during Camp Dearborn’s Halloween Weekends.

Dearborn’s Recreation and Parks Department has added a third Halloween Weekend at Camp Dearborn as a way to meet demand for this popular family-friendly event now in its fifth year.

This October the weekends of 12 – 14; 19 – 21 and 26 – 28 are reserved for the themed camping weekends.

Halloween Weekends offer families an opportunity to expand on the fun and excitement of Halloween by booking a tent, cabin or RV site for a weekend filled with activities in a safe environment. New this year are the popular resort cabins with full bathroom facilities.

Campers will receive one pumpkin at check-in Friday afternoon to carve and enter in a contest. Additional pumpkins will be available for purchase and campsites will be allowed multiple entries in the contest.

Campers are invited to take part in all scheduled activities at no additional cost. Campsite decorating is strongly encouraged to set the mood and will be judged for prizes.


Dearborn Library Offers Technology Workshops

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

If you have a tablet, laptop, e-reader, digital camera or any other electronic gadget driving you crazy because it just won’t work right then Dearborn’s free Tech Time technology assistance program at the Henry Ford Centennial Library may be the solution for you.

Bring any device to the workshop of your choice and the experienced staff of the Dearborn Public Library will answer questions and provide hands-on assistance.

Registration is required, but the workshops are offered free of charge. The Tech Time workshops are being offered:

• Tuesday, October 9, 6-8 p.m. (registration begins October 2)

• Tuesday, October 23, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. (registration begins October 16)

To register, please call the Adult Reference Desk at 313-943-2330. All workshops will be in the first floor training room at Henry Ford Centennial Library, 16301 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn.

Be sure to bring the USB and/or power cables for your device. If you have an e-reader, a valid Dearborn Public Library card is required. If your e-reader is a Kindle, you must also have an account.

Hyatt in Dearborn to Become Radisson Hotel

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Dearborn’s Hyatt Hotel will soon become the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center.

Dearborn’s Hyatt Hotel will now become the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center.

The hotel will open as a Radisson at the end of October, according to the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, based in Minneapolis and Brussels, Belgium.

This is good news for Dearborn in that the Hyatt will remain a hotel. However, the Radisson brand is a upper, middle market chain that doesn’t carry the cache that the Hyatt or Ritz brand did when those two operated in Dearborn. Even so, Radisson does run a good hotel.

Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group announced Tuesday that it has signed a long-term agreement to manage the 772-room hotel, located in the Fairlane Town Center retail complex in Dearborn.

Hyatt announced in May that it would no longer manage the hotel after its current contract expires Oct. 31. Royal Realties, a group of international investors, acquired the hotel in April 2011.

The Radisson does operate one other hotel in metro Detroit and that is in Bloomfield Hills.

It isn’t known yet when the major renovations will be completed at the former Hyatt hotel.

Groundbreaking for UM-Dearborn Student Housing

Monday, September 24th, 2012

The groundbreaking for “The Union at Dearborn” at the University of Michigan-Dearborn is Monday, Sept. 24, 2012.

Construction on a new $44 million student housing project that will serve students attending the University of Michigan-Dearborn officially begins today with a groundbreaking ceremony set for 3 p.m. at the future site.

The groundbreaking for what will officially be called “The Union at Dearborn” will be held at 760 Town Center Drive, directly across from UM-Dearborn’s central campus entrance on Evergreen Road.

Those expected to speak at today’s event include:

  • Larry Winokur, managing partner, Urban Campus Communities. UCC is a developer of student housing and responsible for Wayne State University’s Union at Midtown.
  • Daniel Little, chancellor, University of Michigan-­Dearborn
  • Donna Inch, chairman and CEO, Ford Land
  • John B. O’Reilly, Jr., mayor, City of Dearborn

Officials had hoped to begin construction a year ago and open this past August but financing challenges delayed the project. The new campus housing project now is expected to open in August 2013.

The student housing project calls for 521 beds by using two existing buildings and three other structures. The first existing building will be renovated into a student union – The Union at Dearborn – with eight student apartments. The second existing building will be modified for additional student apartments. The primary apartments will consist of three attached buildings.

Earlier plans indicated that leases for the apartments would be eight months, with the buildings closed for the summer semester. But that could change if interest in summer classes at UM-Dearborn increases.

There are also plans for a sand volleyball court, exercise facility, meeting rooms and a theater.

To connect the apartments to the UM-Dearborn campus, a walkway will eventually be constructed over Evergreen Road. In the interim, a stoplight will be installed so students can cross.

While UCC did secure the majority of the funding for the estimated $44 million project, the Michigan Economic Growth Authority did approve the project for a $2.34 million tax credit because it could bring “$7 million in new investments and up to 20 permanent full-time jobs.”

Final Food Truck Rally for Dearborn Sept. 21

Monday, September 17th, 2012

The Westborn Market, Dearborn Chamber of Commerce and the West Dearborn Downtown Development Authority will be hosting the third and final Food Truck Rally on Friday, Sept. 21, behind The Double Olive bar.

While there has been some debate on this site about whether these moving restaurants help other nearby restaurants, local bars seemed to have benefited.

The rally will have 10 different Food Trucks with an assortment of food to satisfy all taste buds. Live music will also be provided so it should be a good event for the entire family. The event takes place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

New Tennis Courts at Dearborn’s Ford Field Park

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Dearborn is adding new tennis courts at Ford Field Park to replace two old deteriorating ones. The old court surfaces were cracking and in need of replacement.

Dearborn’s Ford Field Park is getting a tennis court makeover, thanks to a Wayne County grant millage allocation.

Separately, a new spray park element will soon be added to the baby pool at Dearborn’s Dunworth Pool.

The total commitment from Wayne County for these two projects is $137,000, with $90,000 for Ford Field Park and $47,000 for Dunworth Pool.

Regular visitors to Ford Field Park will notice that the current tennis courts were recently torn up and removed, including the fencing that surrounded the two courts.

Construction on new courts would soon begin after Dearborn’s City Council approves the award of the contract for construction services. That is set to take place at the next council meeting.

City officials tell that the two new courts will come complete with freshly painted court surfaces, striping, new fencing, and new tennis posts and nets to replace the old deteriorating courts. The old court surfaces, for those who ever used them, were cracking badly and in need of repair or replacement.

Nearby residents who were concerned they had lost their tennis courts will be relieved to hear that the new courts will be erected in the same location, providing many tennis players with a nice facility to enjoy for many years to come.

The city hopes to have both projects up and ready for residents to use for the summer of 2013.

Future of Dearborn Historical Museum Discussion Sept. 20

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

What does the future hold for the Dearborn Historical Museum?

On Thursday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. at the McFadden-Ross House acting museum curator Jack Tate will present an informational talk on what the future holds for Dearborn’s museums.

The presentation is presented by the League of Women Voters Dearborn/Dearborn Heights.

Tate, a former chairperson of the Dearborn Historical Commission, was named acting chief curator of the Museum in July 2012. He serves as a volunteer while the Museum transitions into a new business model, a response to the city’s ongoing financial challenges.

Tate will provide an update on the status of the museum and an explanation of how he and the Historical Commission are managing its daily operations in the wake of the city of Dearborn slashing the museum’s budget and eliminating its full-time curator and another part-time employee.  Attendees will hear about not only immediate plans for the museum but also what the future might hold for one of the city’s beloved treasures.

Parking is available immediately behind the museum. There is also a parking lot north of the Museum within a short walking distance. The museum is located at 915 S. Brady St. just north of Michigan Ave.

Simple refreshments will be served. Please call the League of Women Voters office at 313-278-6476 for more information.

New Life for Vacant Dearborn Building

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

A tired looking building once the home of an office supply store near the corner of Michigan and Outer Drive has undergone a major renovation and will soon reopen as a doctor’s office and beauty salon.

A new salon and doctor’s office is moving into newly renovated building at Michigan and Outer Drive in Dearborn.

The building once was used by the Audette Office supply store on the first level and a barbershop upstairs. Audette’s former main office still sits vacant next door to the new salon.

The renovation to the building is proof positive that Dearborn buildings can indeed be saved, updated and reused rather than torn down, which seems to be the preferred method for some in Dearborn.

We don’t yet have a date for the opening of the new businesses at this location but it is nice to see new life coming to a vacant building along Michigan Avenue. We wish the new owners the best of luck.

Construction Stalls on Dearborn’s New Train Station

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

While Norfolk Southern and MDOT continue to negotiate, Dearborn officials say construction will soon begin on the train station.

Dearbornites tired of passing weed-covered piles of dirt at the site of what is supposed to be the city’s future intermodal train station on Michigan Avenue may soon get some reprieve.

While the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Norfolk Southern continue to negotiate to resolve several key issues, including right of way, train platform heights and purchase price for track, Dearborn officials tell that construction on the actual train station at the southern portion of the property could begin shortly after Labor Day. Norfolk Southern apparently gave the city the green light to begin station construction.

We’ve received dozens of notes from readers asking what was going on with the construction project on Michigan Avenue, just east of Brady on the south side of the street. The piles of dirt in the parking lot of what will soon be the new location for the train station have been sitting for so long that weeds now blanket the dirt mounds.

MDOT and Norfolk Southern have not yet reached agreement on platform heights for the new station, which is a major hurdle since the single track will need to be used by both passenger and freight trains, each with different load heights.

Norfolk Southern also wants to install a second track sometime in the future. Just a single line exists today.

In addition, MDOT and Norfolk Southern still are negotiating on the price for the track from Dearborn to Detroit. The state has already purchased the property to Kalamazoo so it can construct a new high speed rail system but needs to purchase this final section of property.

No one said this project was going to be easy but the sliver of good news is that real work might soon get underway.