Detroit City Council Rejects Land Swap Deal with Ambassador Bridge Owners

Matthew Maroun and his bridge company need city property from Riverside Park to build another span of the international crossing.

Detroit City Council voted down a deal for a land swap with the owners of the Ambassador Bridge 4-to-3.

Matthew Maroun and his bridge company need city property from Riverside Park to build another span of the international crossing. 

Mayor Mike Duggan announced the deal with the Moroun family and their bridge company in 2015. As part of the proposed land swap, Detroit would receive a total of $5 million in park improvements for a portion of Riverside Park. Duggan referred to the plan during his recent re-election victory speech. “Riverside Park is going to be built out. Southwest Detroit will finally have a first-class park along the water,” he said.

A day after giving the speech, Detroit City Council rejected the deal. Deb Sumner, a community advocate in the neighborhood that would be impacted by the swap, helped petition against the land swap.

“The sweetheart deal for Moroun was not the sweetheart deal for us,” says Sumner.

Residents are petitioning city officials to reject the deal with Matthew Moroun and his bridge company until they come to a community benefits agreement.

Sumner says she and many of her neighbors want more from the family that owns the bridge.

“I watched them carry out their own block tactics on how to block bust,” says Sumner. “What they wanted to do to control and monopolize land and destroy housing stock and businesses.”

A separate border crossing in the city, the Gordie Howe International Bridge, came with a multi-million dollar community benefits plan.

On the other side of the bridge, Canadian officials have granted conditional approval of the project. They’re requiring the bridge company to tear down the old crossing once the new one goes up.

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  • Meta Stange
    Meta Stange is the Digital Content and Engagement Manager for 101.9 WDET, overseeing the station's digital editorial content. She enjoys reading, making bad jokes, and hanging out with her dog, Salmon.