Ford reveals how Michigan Central Station purchase will benefit surrounding communities

Ford to invest $2.5 million into affordable housing leverage fund

DETROIT - Since Ford purchased Michigan Central Station in Corktown, there have been questions about how the surrounding communities would benefit. On Monday, the company revealed those plans.

Ford said $900 million will go into the train station, and millions more will be invested to make sure residents already in the neighborhood can stay.

Michigan Central Station was one of Detroit's worst eyesores for years, but Ford said its transformation will bring 5,000 jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in new tax revenue.

Residents who live within the impacted area of Ford's vision want to make sure they would be included, not ignored.

Ford wanted the community's input. On Monday night, the company outlined the community benefits, including $5 million put aside for workforce training.

"Obviously, affordable housing is key," said Shawn Wilson, manager of community engagement for Ford. "It's one of the key concerns we heard. We wanted to let them know we heard them and put a significant amount to resources behind affordable housing."

Ford said it will invest $2.5 million into the affordable housing leverage fund.

"What it's going to do is allow preservation of affordable housing in the impact area to make sure residents aren't forced (to move away)," Detroit Housing Director Arthur Jemison said.

Most people in attendance supported what Ford is doing, but not everybody was on board.

Resident Alina Johnson questioned if the money Ford gives the city for neighborhood development will be thrown into Detroit's general fund.

"The money is pooled at the city, so if the request isn't specific to impacted residents then we would definitely be in competition for pooled funds," Johnson said.

Jemison said that's not clear right now, but he will make sure residents, living near the train station won't have to fight for money.

"That's a critical concern that's easy to address," Jemison said. "We can write it into the contract language. It will only be spent in this area."

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