On Friday, June 14, the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority announced a community benefits agreement for neighbors impacted by the construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge. The deal includes numerous workforce development initiatives and $14.9 million in neighborhood infrastructure spending to be split evenly between the U.S. and Canadian sides of the project.
The result of a lengthy organizational push by southwest Detroit residents and elected officials, the newly announced agreement includes a commitment to source goods and services from local businesses, a 20 percent construction hiring goal for Detroit residents, a five-year home repair program in the Delray neighborhood, new walking and biking paths, neighborhood beautification initiatives, and investments in community organizations.
Detroit Free Press picked up on some of the quirkier aspects of the agreement including a local design competition for new bicycle racks and a plan to build observation decks where members of the public can watch construction and “snap selfies.”
The announcement builds on the city’s earlier $32.6 million Bridging Neighborhoods Program, which allowed residents of Delray to swap their homes for newly renovated Detroit Land Bank homes in other areas of the city.
The massive suspension bridge officially broke ground in October although some early work began on the U.S. side last summer. The 1.5-mile international crossing will include vehicle, bike, and pedestrian lanes. When it opens in 2024, it will supplement the Ambassador Bridge which is currently the busiest thoroughfare for trade traffic in North America.