LIVONIA, Mich. (WXYZ) — A packed auditorium inside a Livonia library was filled with people trying to stop Wayne County from selling Hines Park land.
The county has been seeking to create something called the “Mill Run Project.” It involves selling three historic mills once operated by Henry Ford along the Middle Rouge River — the hope is to get private business signed on to rehab the buildings while re-working the green space surrounding them.
The organizers hope to put a stop to Wayne County's plans of selling off Hines Park property – specifically the Wilcox and Newburgh Mills, saying it's not just the buildings, but the surrounded lands as well.
"I do not want to see condos and apartment buildings in Hines Park," said Nancy Darga of Save Hines Park.
However, the county is selling the idea of selling the property as a way to rescue the aging buildings and land by bringing in developers who will sign off on expanding the parks footprint instead of shrinking it.
“We require them to create more park space than exists, to be open dawn to dusk,” explained Khalil Rahal, the assistant Wayne County Executive. “This is a win, win, win situation. More park space and somebody else to pay fort while reinvigorating the space.”
But those who are part of Saves Hines Park, and others at the town hall, believe when the deeds are signed, there is no guarantee that deals to preserve the park will be honored.
"It is up to us to step up and say no, we're not going to accept this," one activist said..
The organizers hope instead that the land can be leased through a public private partnership. They've also urged others to attend Livonia's next city council meeting, where they expect Hines Park to be discussed.
The county is planning for public meetings once details surrounding the possible sale of the mills comes to fruition. More information on the Mill Run Project can be found here.