Detroit council to vote on new transit center plan saving historic State Fairgrounds buildings

Posted at 6:05 AM, Nov 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-23 06:05:02-05

(WXYZ) — The future of a new transit hub at the former Michigan State Fairgrounds site hangs in the balance.

The Detroit City Council is expected to vote on Tuesday whether to approve an expanded and more expensive plan for a new transit center at the site.

It comes after a study found that parts of two historically-significant buildings on the site can be saved and re-purposed as part of the overall transit plan.

A lot of Detroiters have fond memories of coming to the State Fairgrounds as kids.

When city leaders toured the facility a week ago, they said the two historic buildings mean a whole lot to the community and they want to honor that in the final plan, even if it costs more money.

The initial proposal to build a state-of-the-art transit site was good in theory until project leaders announced their plans to the public.

Many people wanted to preserve pieces of Detroit's history – the old Dairy and Cattle Barn and the Colosseum.

City leaders said their new proposal would cost around $18.6 million, almost triple the cost of the original plan.

Tyrone Clifton, the director of the city's building authority, said under Proposal B, the Dairy and Cattle Barn would serve as the transit hub while a portion of the Colosseum would be saved and turned into an outdoor gathering space.

If the revised proposal is voted down, the plan reverts back to the original, scaled-down center that includes the demolition of the historic buildings.

if the plan is approved, construction would begin in the winter of next year.