Could pedestrians finally get a sidewalk on Michigan Avenue that connects to the east side?
At Monday's meeting of Saline City Council, Mayor Brian Marl instructed City Manager Todd Campbell to contact Ford Motor Company and Faurecia about installing a sidewalk along their property on East Michigan Avenue.
Presently the sidewalk on the north side of Michigan Avenue ends at HR Block and resumes in front of the Rentschler Farm Museum and then continues to Industrial Drive. There is approximately 2,100 feet of frontage without a walkway in front of the Faurecia plant, which is still owned by Ford Motor Company.
Mayor Marl open the discussion. Councillor Dean Girbach there's no longer an excuse for not having sidewalks.
"In the past, Ford said they didn't want sidewalks because they on the outskirts of town and they were worried about someone getting hurt with all the traffic there," Girbach said.
But, Girbach said, with development to the east of the plant, that excuse is no longer valid. In addition, Girbach noted, plants in Westland and Plymouth have sidewalks.
Councillor Jack Ceo said he's been pushing for sidewalks in front of the plant for years. Ceo said when he served on planning commission, he voted against a siteplan submitted by Ford.
"I voted no because it did not have sidewalks. I was quite adamant I would continue to vote against any plans that had no sidewalks," Ceo said.
Girbach said if sidewalks aren't installed, the city should install the property owner and send the owner the bill in the form of an assessment.
Saline resident Emily Rusnak applauded city council for the move.
"I applaud city council for taking this issue up. It is absolutely impossible to travel with a physical disability 'on foot' with an assistive device, from Busch's to TCF Bank area, for instance," Rusnak said. "This area is also made completely impassible during winter months due to lack of effective snow removal for movement by foot, while the remainder of city residents and businesses with sidewalks are required to clear them for passing."
The city is also working on a plant to connect the west side to the city core. A sidewalk will be built on the other side of the dam at Mill Pond Park.