City begins next phase at DAC

Photo by Bob Oliver City of Dearborn employee and concierge Kim Markey (second from right) directs a visitor Wednesday inside the new Dearborn Administrative Center, 16901 Michigan Ave. The DAC, which is the new administrative center for the city, opened for business Sept. 23.

Photo by Bob Oliver
City of Dearborn employee and concierge Kim Markey (second from right) directs a visitor Wednesday inside the new Dearborn Administrative Center, 16901 Michigan Ave. The DAC, which is the new administrative center for the city, opened for business Sept. 23.


By BOB OLIVER
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — After a weekend of hectic moving, the Dearborn Administrative Center opened its doors for city business at 8 a.m. Sept. 23 as planned.

“It’s been pretty crazy since we opened,” city employee and concierge at the DAC Kim Markey said. “We’ve been busy because water bills were due and because the deadline to file flood claims from the Aug. 11 storms and flooding were due by Sept. 25.”

Markey greets visitors to the DAC and directs them to the appropriate department.

She said windows for permits, housing, the city clerk, neighborhood services, human resources, inspections assessors and engineering and the cashier are on the ground floor of the DAC, whereas at the old City Hall the departments were spread throughout the two buildings and connecting corridor,

“I’ve had a lot of people tell me that they appreciate how simple the layout is now and how easy it is to come in and get help from the different departments,” Markey said.

The City Council chambers also are on the first floor, while offices for the mayor, Legal Department, Economic and Community Development, and Public Information are on the second floor.

City Hall closed for the last time at noon Sept. 19 and movers immediately began transporting books, desks and other materials down the street to the DAC.

Employees worked Sept. 22 unpacking and getting set up for the opening the following day.

Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. said a lot of planning went into the move and the employees have pitched in to make the move as smooth as possible.

“I have to commend all our staff because this has been a big undertaking and a big challenge,” O’Reilly said. “Everyone just had a great spirit of cooperation. Both in moving out and moving day you could see that the staff was engaged and we really support their effort.”

The former City Hall was sold last July to Artspace, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit real estate developer, for $1.65 million. Artspace plans to renovate the complex to create 53 work and living spaces for artists as well as spaces for art studios, art organizations and creative businesses.

Construction is expected to take one year with the first tenants moving into the lofts around November 2015.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)