Council to hold session on Severstal money

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — A date has not been selected, but the City Council announced plans to hold a session where the issue of how an $8.5 million donation offer from Severstal North America will be handled.

The money would be used to fund the redevelopment of the Dearborn Administration Center, which is the location where the city is looking to move its administration. It would also be used to fund a veterans memorial park and some of the money would go to Artspace to help them renovate the current city hall.

The resolution concerning the Severstal money was tabled for further discussion at the May 14 council meeting, as was a resolution that would authorize Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. to execute a purchase agreement, covenant deed and closing documents with Artspace for parts of the building.

The vote for both resolutions was 5-1 with Council President Thomas Tafelski in opposition and Councilman Brian O’Donnell absent from the meeting.

Tafelski said a study session would be scheduled soon so that O’Reilly could share more information about the project and donation money. The meeting will be open to the public.

Also at the meeting was Dearborn resident Kristyn Taylor, who is a candidate for the city council in the Aug. 6 primary.

Taylor addressed the council to speak against the resolutions, saying that other issues in the city need to be addressed before considering moving city hall. She said that the money should be spent on items like fixing and re-opening the two closed outdoor pools in the city or fixing the fountain outside of Henry Ford Centennial Library.

The city and Artspace have a verbal agreement to sell the current city hall building to Artspace for $1.65 million, but the move must be approved by the council. The Minneapolis-based company wants to renovate the building to house and create work spaces for artists as well as spaces for art studios, art organizations and creative businesses.

O’Reilly said the purchase agreement is currently being worked on by attorneys on both sides and that the city has not seen it.

The DAC is at 16901 Michigan Avenue, just west of Henry Ford Centennial Library. The city purchased the property for $3.2 million last year and has presented the council with a timetable that shows everything moved there and operational by July 2014.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at