Special Meeting recap, Feb. 26
Posted on 02/29/2024
Downs aerial view. Photo by CV MediaAt a special meeting on Feb. 26, City Council members present unanimously approved the ARPA grant agreement with Wayne County, which makes the city the sub-recipient of $2.5 million in federal funding to daylight the river and landscape the river park on the property purchased by Hunter Pasteur from the Downs’ owners on Feb. 22.

Legally, the river park site now is in Wayne County Land Bank possession to allow for the maximum amount of brownfield money to remediate the site. The developer does the work and is reimbursed through future tax capture. Once the land is prepared for building on the site and the park is finished, the Land Bank will turn over the river park portion to the city.

As part and parcel of that agreement, the city has entered into separate contracts with Barr Engineering to develop the river portion and with Grissim Metz Andriese to landscape the riverbank. The contract with Renascent Inc. involves site demolition. Of that $1.9 million contact, $600,000 has been attributed to the river park portion and is eligible for ARPA funds. Hunter Pasteur is responsible for the $1.3 million balance.

Each of these contracts is financially protected through performance bonds by Hunter Pasteur, which initiated the contracts after its mixed-use development final site plan was approved by the Planning Commission and a development agreement was later adopted by City Council. There is also a letter of credit to Toll Brothers (home builders on the site), which provides a bank’s assurance of funding.

The documents had “a complex review and were highly negotiated” said city attorney Anthony Chubb. He noted that all parties had several lawyers involved with the contracts.

There was much discussion at the Council meeting about ensuring the city was insulated from any financial responsibility in the event the developer did not complete the project. The assurance is that the city will own the daylighted river and park property in all scenarios. Chubb assured Council that there were two to three layers of protection in each contract.

Mayor Brian Turnbull said the document agreements have been “many weeks, months, years in the making.”

Public Comment
Nancy Chirri, 661 W. Main, sent in her comments, which were read by a neighbor.

Council Communication
Mayor Brian Turnbull said it was great to see all the people in Downtown Northville last weekend for the chili cookoff; he noted 600 people attended the Marquis Theatre for a free performance held in conjunction with the event. He said two new task forces are being formed for the Bicentennial and Cemeterians, with meetings on March 27 and 28, respectively.

Council Member Laura Genitti was not able to attend the meeting.

View meeting video here.