Warren Evans delivers State of the County Address, sees progress and challenges ahead

Future of Gratiot jail site still undetermined
Posted at 10:32 PM, Mar 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-07 23:14:09-05

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans delivered a state of the county address Monday night at the Michael A. Guido Theater in Dearborn that focused on surpluses, sites, services, and civility.

Evans said the county has an operating surplus now totaling 80 million. But it still has a long way to go before it finances are financially sound.

"We're still facing an infrastructure crisis anchored by the unfinished Gratiot jail," Evans said. 

The jail site is symbolic of a county still recovering from years of decline and dysfunction. Evans said the county is close to a sealing a deal for the jail with Dan Gilbert's Rock ventures. It wants 300 million to convert the site into an sports and entertainment complex. In exchange, the county will get a new jail, courthouse, and juvenile detention facility.

The question is: when?

"At the end of the day Dan Gilbert may have good intentions," Evans said. "But the question remains at the end of which day. Rock has a lot of work to do to meet our timetable."

Evans also took aim at Lansing for putting counties like Wayne in the dire financial straits that
make selling property necessary-- pointing out that Michigan is dead last when it comes to funding local governments.

"Michigan's system of funding local governments is broken," Evans said.

The national debate over immigration and the negative impact its having on local communities is also a concern. In Dearborn Heights last week, residents angry over the pending sale of Warren Valley Golf Course yelled racist comments.

"Whether it's a town hall or a tweet we shouldn't let our discourse pit neighbor versus neighbor," Evans said.