Heights asking residents for support in Ecorse Creek study

By ZEINAB NAJM Times-Herald Newspapers HEIGHTS — Residents are being asked to write letters or emails in response to a study for a $260 million retention basin project along Ecorse Creek. Following its study published in February, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District is seeking public comment from residents in all cities involved including Dearborn Heights. The other cities involved in the study are Allen Park, Lincoln Park, Melvindale, Taylor, Ecorse, Inkster, Romulus and Westland. Residents can send emails or letters by going to the city’s website, www.ci.dearborn-heights.mi.us and clicking on the Ecorse Creek Update section. Comments received will be reviewed, then the USACE district engineer will make a final decision on preparing an Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed project, a USACE press release read. The North Branch Ecorse Creek Flood Mitigation project features five to six retention basins that will be added throughout the communities affected by flooding, including one in Dearborn Heights. Backed up sewage water will be held in the basin, then flow into the creek, Detroit River and finally Lake Erie instead of sitting in basements of residents during floods. According to the Alliance of Downriver Watersheds, 57,774 Dearborn Heights residents lived in the watershed area in 2010. The North Branch of the Ecorse Creek runs about 16 miles to the Detroit River through Romulus, Dearborn Heights, Allen Park, Melvindale, Lincoln Park and Ecorse. Drainage in the district is approximately 19,000 acres, or 30 square miles. “A single optimized retention basin located just northeast of Powers Avenue and Inkster Road, with greenway channel improvements of varying widths,” the study read. “The channel improvements entail constructing a 35-foot-wide greenway channel from Madison Street to westbound I-94 and a 15-foot-wide greenway channel from westbound l-94 to Allen Road. Downstream of Allen Road to the Detroit River, the channel improvements vary in width.” Additional details about the project were included in a USACE press release. “Structures within the proposed greenway site would be acquired and removed if the study proceeds to construction. Additionally, five creek crossings will be replaced and one removed to accommodate improved floodwater conveyance.” If the $260 million project is approved by the Army Corps, about $169 million will be paid for by the federal government with the remaining $91 million bonded over 30 years paid by residents, businesses and government who use the creek from the nine communities involved. For more information go to www.ci.dearborn-heights.mi.us. (Zeinab Najm can be reached at zeinabnajm92@gmail.com.)