The powers overseeing construction of the long-delayed Gordie Howe International Bridge built a community benefits strategy over four years that’s aimed at setting a precedent for how big projects engage with affected residents.
The deal has two parts: workforce development and neighborhood infrastructure, officials said at the announcement. More than 30 agencies and other entities will help implement the plan, which centers on the neighborhoods closest to the bridge that would feel its environmental, safety and traffic impacts the most: Delray in Southwest Detroit and Sandwich in the Windsor area. Funding is split between the two.
“This marks a critical milestone in a long journey for the Delray and Southwest Detroit communities,” state Sen. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, said in a statement. “For more than a decade and a half, residents and community leaders have been advocating for quality of life protections and enhancements near the bridge …
“These (initiatives) build on the already-delivered programs that are providing families options for renovated homes, long-term health and air studies, and investment in jobs training … It is also a refreshing reminder that strong community benefits processes work, when the needs of the community are taken seriously; when residents’ experiences, perspectives, and research are listened to with sincerity; and, when the community and decision makers work together in a spirit of transparency, collaboration and partnership.”
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