Letter: Mr. Moroun, work with community
November 12, 2017 12:01 a.m.
An open letter to Matthew Moroun:
I am writing you to ask you from the bottom of my heart and from our community's hearts, will you put your words into action?
How, you may ask, can I prove to the people of the Southwest Detroit community that I mean what I say, that I do want to "change the narrative" of my and my father's Detroit International Bridge Co.?
We, the people of this community, need you to stop forever the DIBC's pursuit of closing St. Anne Street at Fort Street and at West Lafayette. To close it would be gambling with the lives of the dense population of residents living on St. Anne Street, the children being taught within the St. Anne school building, and the 1,000 parishioners of Historic St. Anne's Church and worldwide visitors who fill the church for events and masses weekly.
I and other residents of the community heard you say at a public meeting in 2015 with Mayor Mike Duggan that you are "turning a new leaf" for the DIBC. We heard this same statement from you during a press conference at that same time. And more recently, you have been quoted in the Detroit Free Press on Oct. 3and Detroit News on Oct. 19 stating that you want to "change the narrative." You were quoted saying you no longer want to be "noxious" or "confrontational" with the people of the community.
This is the time, Matthew, when you can begin to come together with the people of the community and announce that DIBC will stop forever all efforts to close off St. Anne Street because you have learned that this is the most direct and quickest route for 911 responders to reach the dense community of residents living on St. Anne and on the five dead-end streets off of St. Anne, the schoolchildren and the parishioners, and the Mexicantown Business District.
You can say that DIBC will not close this crucial lifeline because our 911 responders' times would be delayed if they had to proceed one block further eastbound on Fort Street to be able to turn left to head northbound to West Lafayette, to then make another left to backtrack one block, to finally reach St. Anne Street and make a right northbound. You can say that DIBC will not allow our 911 responders to be forced to travel two more blocks and make two additional turns to try to save lives. What would you do if your family and your father and mother lived on St. Anne?
Clearly, if DIBC wishes to have its employees not leave the Bridge Plaza footprint boundaries as they are now, then DIBC can incorporate a new employee building to include bathrooms, lockers, time clocks, etc. Surely, your expert architects who design your new Bridge Plaza can be problem-solvers for you and make what you need happen efficiently and effectively within your present contiguous Bridge Plaza footprint.
You could also announce that you will personally welcome the community's draft of a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) and will sit with community reps at the same table to work on the details of a CBA that both parties can sign in the end.
Please, Matthew, let me know whether you will put your words into these actions, to do what is just and right.