80 per cent of land acquired for Gordie Howe Bridge

David Lafreniere
By David Lafreniere December 1, 2017 13:16

80 per cent of land acquired for Gordie Howe Bridge

Steve Toth, a resident of Metro Detroit’s municipality of Delray talks to reporters on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 claiming he is being treated unfairly in the acquisition of his home. An official from the Governor’s office said Toth has been offered a sizable amount of money as a tenant to relocate and that he refuses to cooperate. (Photo by David Lafreniere)

By David Lafreniere

Property acquisition for the Gordie Howe International Bridge project and highway interchange requires the Michigan Department of Transportation to make deals or get court orders for more than 600 parcels of land in Metro Detroit’s municipality of Delray.

MDOT is currently in possession of about 80 per cent of the land required. That amount rises to 93 per cent when properties waiting a court ordered judgement are considered, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation Director Brad Wieferich.

MDOT is working with the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority to take care of sites and make sure land is ready to turn over to the contractor when bridge construction begins.

“We are comfortable, through the process of litigation, we will have all the properties when needed as construction proceeds,” said Andrew Doctoroff, a special projects advisor from the Michigan Governor’s office.

He said, other than from Moroun companies, he does not expect active opposition to the acquisition at this time but is unsure what the future will hold.

“Every single homeowner is being treated with utmost consideration and concern,” said Doctoroff. “They are assisted by relocation specialists to make sure that they are situated in decent safe and sanitary housing. That relocation process has gone smoothly for the vast majority of residents.”

One resident of Delray disagrees. Steve Toth said he was promised a fair price for his house, one that would consider replacement value. He said he was offered $53,000 which he did not accept.

Toth said he received an eviction notice during the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend.

“I want to be treated fairly and don’t think I have been,” said Toth. “A lot of people have not been treated well on this since day one. Pay me my money so I can leave.”

After Toth showed up at an on-site press briefing to talk to reporters Doctoroff said officials are very familiar with Toth and have met with him offering support for his relocation.

“I can’t tell you how many services have been offered to Mr. Toth to make sure he is treated well, treated effectively,” said Doctoroff. “The fact of the matter is that he is a single homeowner who is not willing to cooperate with us.”

Toth has been offered a sizable amount of money as a tenant to relocate according to Doctoroff. He said Toth refuses to provide a copy of a lease for a new home which is a requirement for financial settlement.

David Lafreniere
By David Lafreniere December 1, 2017 13:16

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