Landfill expansion to prolong city operating revenue stream, fund golf course renovation

Sunday Times Newspapers

RIVERVIEW – City council members studied city landfill expansion June 13, which could prolong the revenue stream crucial to the city’s operating budget while funding an overdue renovation of the city’s golf course.

Riverview Highlands Golf Course opened as a 9-hole course in 1973, expanded to 27 holes in the 1980s and has not undergone renovation since. Administrators feel the work is needed to continue current scheduling levels.

The new golf course layout, 18 holes, would be park-like, with plantings and water features, which also will improve storage of water to prevent flooding during periods of heavy runoff.

Jennifer Bowyer, project manager with Cornerstone Environmental, said the neighborhoods north of Sibley Road would be less vulnerable to heavy rainfall once the drainage capacity is significantly increased.

“The Frank and Poet (Drain) is a narrow channel,” Bowyer said. “It is taking water from all the way up from the airport, and taking it all the way down to Trenton.

“If you look at the flood maps that are issued by the government, you can see when you get to West Road in Trenton there is a huge bottle neck. So all the water is coming down to this narrow little culvert.”

She said the new Frank and Poet Drain redesign would double the width of the channel, providing additional storage area for water runoff, combined with extra water run-off storage in the golf course.

Bowyer said the additional flood storage at the golf course would greatly reduce upstream flooding the city has experienced in residential areas.

City Manager Doug Drysdale said the idea is when Trenton’s water runoff starts backing up, it then backs up into the Frank and Poet Drain where there currently is flood plain storage.

“And then of course (water runoff) backs up to north of Sibley,” Drysdale said, “into the Colonial Village and then the Pheasant Run area.”

He said when Trenton’s watershed backs up, the golf course will then hold excess water runoff.

Renovation of the Frank and Poet Drain would improve water runoff control and provide a wildlife habitat, which will screen the landfill from sight as it rises.

Additional landfill gas generated by the expansion could generate revenue and be used for energy projects.

The Riverview Land Preserve, or landfill, provides city revenue, which supports in modest property taxes in tandem with fire, police and library services.

When the current RLP reaches capacity between 2025 and 2028, the city will need to reduce its budget, raise property taxes, or encourage new tax-generating businesses to build in or relocate to the city.

The city has significant pension liabilities that it must continue to fund as well.

With the addition of the new RLP cell, 12 years are added to its life, which represents about 12 million tons of landfill capacity, according to projections from Cornerstone Environmental Services, 39395 W. 12 Mile Road in Farmington Hills.

Once the city approves the landfill expansion, the permit application process would begin with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Wayne County Department of Public Services and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

For more landfill information, go to

(Sue Suchyta can be reached at