An entrance to the Detroit City Council chambers was photographed on June 28, 2022 at the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center in Detroit, Mich. (BridgeDetroit Photo by Malachi Barrett)

The Detroit City Council approved $69 million worth of contracts using federal pandemic relief funds before taking a month off for summer recess. 

American Rescue Plan Act funds will help pay for housing assistance and workforce training, to expand a non-motorized trail, build a new park, tear down blighted buildings and get an old police helicopter in the air. All but one of the contracts were approved unanimously and most with the council waiving its right to reconsideration, which sends them directly to the mayor to sign this week.

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Detroit received $826 million in federal pandemic aid, the most of any city in the country. ARPA funds must be obligated by December 31, 2024, and spent by December 31, 2026. Detroiters can track initiatives and programming by visiting detroitmi.gov/arpa

The largest contract approved was a $15 million deal with the Detroit Economic Development Corp., a nonprofit entity devoted to supporting business and job growth in the city. Under the contract, DEGC will provide administrative services for a small business grant program on behalf of the city’s Jobs and Economy Team. 

The council also approved a series of contracts with Detroit Employment Solutions Corp., the city’s workforce agency. Among those, $9 million to administer the small business grant program; $12.27 million for recruitment and implementation of summer youth jobs; and $3.47 million to administer, provide fiscal oversight and coordinate instruction and counseling programs at adult high schools. 

Other contracts include: 

  • $1.69 million for Detroit-based Homrich Wrecking, Inc., to demolish a portion of the Packard Plant at 6199 Concord St. The long-vacant former industrial site is owned by Fernando Palazuelo, who was ordered to demolish the structures after the city sued him last year. Crain’s Detroit Business reported Palazuelo owes nearly $800,000 in taxes and water bills on more than 30 properties.
  • $6.25 million for National Faith Homebuyers, a Detroit-based nonprofit, toward a down payment assistance program for prospective homebuyers. The program is meant to help low-income Detroiters buy their first home or return to homeownership after foreclosure by covering part of the cost of a down payment or closing costs. 
  • $160,000 awarded to Detroit-based Homeownership Initiative Consulting for consulting and administration of the city’s down payment assistance program. 
  • $3 million for Detroit-based LLP Construction Services to hire and work with an engineering firm to restore the unused Detroit Fire Department Ladder 30 facility. 
  • $2.36 million for Detroit-based information technology company Groundwork 0 to purchase and install network hardware at city facilities.
  • $2 million for Detroit-based DMC Consultants Inc. to design and build an athletic facility at 5700 Russell St – The Rouge Facility Complex development, as it’s known in city documents. 
  • Detroit Grounds Crew, LLC and Avoca-based Limb Walkers Tree & Snow, LLC got a pair of $1.51 million contracts to remove trees that aren’t in the right of way. 

More funding is also going toward fueling expansion of the Joe Louis Greenway, a proposed 27.5-mile looping pathway allowing pedestrians and cyclists to travel between McNichols Avenue and the riverfront. 

The council awarded DLZ Michigan, Inc. a $1.5 million contract for construction, engineering and inspection services for part of the pathway heading north from Tireman Avenue. The first concrete section was poured earlier this month, and the state of Michigan included $40 million for the Joe Louis Greenway in its fiscal year 2023 budget. 

In another greenway-related move, the council approved a $1 million contract for Interface Studio, LLC, a Philadelphia urban planning company, to provide community engagement, including public meetings, neighborhood outreach and study the potential impact of the Joe Louis Greenway on surrounding communities.

In efforts to aid in city housing initiatives, Southwest Counseling Solutions was awarded $1.2 million to help Detroiters experiencing homenessness or who are at risk of losing their home. 

Another $456,000 was directed to increase multiple contracts with legal groups participating in the city’s Right to Counsel initiative. The firms were already contracted to serve as legal counsel for Detroiters facing eviction through a new program that guarantees free representation to low-income tenants who often lack resources to defend themselves in court. 

The city’s Housing and Revitalization Department will receive assistance with its housing resource navigation programs through a $1 million contract with CHN Housing Partners. City documents show CHN will work with the city “to undertake a realignment of how housing

services are delivered to Detroit residents,” in part by making programs easier to access.

Roof replacement at up to 800 properties will be paid for through four contracts with Detroit construction companies. Up to 1,100 homeowners are expected to have their roofs repaired through the city’s “Renew Detroit” program, a $30 million initiative funded with ARPA dollars. 

Presidential, Inc. and DMC Consultants were each awarded $864,000 and Troy-based Great Lakes Roofing and Redford-based Renaissance Contracting each secured $576,000 contracts. All four companies are obligated to to replace roofs at 200 properties apiece before the end of 2023.

Spalding DeDecker Associates, Inc. was awarded a $733,400 contract to prepare industrial and commercial sites for blight remediation. At-Large Council Member Mary Waters was the lone dissenting vote. The Rochester Hills firm is responsible for evaluating up to 150 sites identified by the city for clean up, demolition and new development. The inventory will update the list of sites included in a pipeline of blight remediation projects funded through ARPA dollars and develop cost estimates.

The council also approved a $545,300 contract with DSSI, LLC out of Farmington Hills for consulting on procurement projects.

Additionally, the Tireman-Minock Park will be built on Detroit’s west side through a $500,000 contract with Detroit-based Premier Group Associates, LC.

Four contracts were approved to support the city’s blight remediation efforts. Each of the four companies was awarded $270,000 to perform engineering studies and environmental cleanup at multiple sites. 

Repairs to a Detroit police helicopter were approved through a $241,150 contract with Great Lakes Aviation Services, LLC. The Kimball-based company is required to overhaul the engine, replace turbines and wheels and perform other work on a 1972 helicopter to increase DPD’s traffic enforcement abilities. The helicopter currently is not flyable. 
And, 96 radar speed signs will be placed around the city through a $207,360 contract with Georgia-based Radarsign, LLC. The digital signs are solar powered, weather resistant and bullet resistant, according to city documents.

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