DEARBORN, Mich. (WXYZ) — Dearborn’s newly elected Mayor Abdullah Hammoud spoke to the media at Fairlane Mall as he sketched an economic vision for the Fairlane Town Center site, which will assume new ownership next month.
The mall was one of the key stops on the mayor’s citywide tour to explore ways to enhance mobility infrastructure within neighborhoods, make them environmentally friendly, and improve the overall economic situation.
Linda Pallas has been living in Dearborn for most of her life, and back in the days, the mall was one of her top places to shop, but things are different now.
"What we are missing here in Dearborn are basic shops to go to... like when they used to have Jacobson and Kolleys, those are the things that I really miss," said Pallas.
Another longtime resident, David Larraza, says he would like to see the mall make a comeback as it is the city's center point.
"It's nothing like the 70s, 80s, 90s where it was boom..." said Larraza. "Go to the mall was one of the top spots to do."
That’s why the Fairlane Town Center was on one of the key stops on Mayor Hammoud’s vision trip.
"We can address the affordable housing issue. We know a lot of residents asking for more forms of mobility and connectivity in terms of biking and hiking trails," said Dearborn's mayor. "This dissects right through the center of our city, yet you have no way to connect safely the west and east part of town."
Flooding has been a major issue for people living in Dearborn, and the mayor says one way to tackle that is to convert some of the 8500 parking spots into green spaces.
"Yet here is a sea of pavement, and so if we collect and absorb water upstream, it gives room to our ability to make changes there," said Hammoud.
For the mayor, the project encompasses all, right from public health to environmental sustainability and economic development.
"Macy announced reinvesting in their store a few months back because this is one of the top-grossing Macy's in the country. So that the stereotype that this mall is dead, it is not true. The uniqueness of Dearborn is that we are a community that likes to spend our dollars in the city," said the mayor.
Meanwhile, Larraza likes the plan, and he thinks it's about time.
"You go over to Ford Road, you see a huge development happening over there. I think Fairlane Town Center needs to tap into that," says Hammoud.
As of now, there is no timeline for the development as it's still in the planning stage. But when asked how the project will be financed, the mayor envisions the funds coming from a combination of state, county, and city sources.