Melvindale seeking to add housing

By Tereasa Nims
Sunday Times Newspapers

MELVINDALE – Officials are in the infancy stages of proposing to buy vacant space left by the leveled Palmer Elementary School in an effort to add housing and augment the city’s tax base.

City Manager and Financial Director Richard Ortiz said Jan. 6 the city hopes to purchase the property, 19127 Palmer St. and redevelop it.

“It’s zoned residential and we would like to build newer homes on the property,” Ortiz said of the land adjacent to Palmer Park.

He said he hopes to go before the Melvindale-North Allen Park School Board in the near future with the proposal for the purchase.

“The school has been trying to sell (the space),” Ortiz said, adding that the city has a good working relationship with the school district.

City Council voted unanimously Dec. 16, to put in an offer of no more than $95,000 to purchase the property.

While Ortiz said the plan is in the very early stages, he said if it comes to fruition, it would create a “win win” situation.

“The space needs to be redeveloped for the tax base,” Ortiz said, citing that vacant space isn’t drawing revenue. “It would provide newer homes and increase the number of students in the schools.”

Ortiz said the location to a park would be especially luring for families with children.

Resident Rachel Lennon was first skeptical of the city’s plan to purchase the space – but after learning why – she sees it as a positive move.

“I think that would be great for the city,” the recent Detroit transplant said. “I just wish they would have said at first why they wanted to buy green space.”

(Tereasa Nims can be reached at