The city building going up on Van Dyke, north of Nine Mile, will include a new library, a mini police station and ancillary city offices. The site will also include a playground with accommodations for children with special needs.

The city building going up on Van Dyke, north of Nine Mile, will include a new library, a mini police station and ancillary city offices. The site will also include a playground with accommodations for children with special needs.

Photo by Brian Louwers


Fall completion eyed for new south Warren city complex

By: Brian Louwers | Warren Weekly | Published February 1, 2019

WARREN — Construction of a new multi-use municipal facility featuring a library, a mini police station, ancillary city offices and a playground on Van Dyke Avenue, just north of Nine Mile Road, is reportedly on schedule and could wrap up by late September.

“We’re a little bit ahead of schedule. All is going well,” said Tom Bommarito, director of Warren’s Department of Community, Economic & Downtown Development.  

Ground was broken at the long-vacant site on the west side of Van Dyke, between Lozier and Continental avenues, in October 2017. The property was acquired by Warren’s Tax Increment Finance Authority. An April 2019 opening date was originally reported, but Bommarito said that early timetable was adjusted once the bid process was completed and the construction schedule became clear.  

Bommarito said the development, totaling just under $5 million, will include the land allocation and $1.5 million through the TIFA, $1 million from Warren’s Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and $2.3 million from the Warren Public Library’s budget.  

The new library will replace the existing Maybelle Burnette Branch on Van Dyke, south of Nine Mile Road. Bommarito said the facility was designed by Partners in Architecture LLC, the same firm that designed the new Dorothy Busch Branch Library on Ryan Road, south of Nine Mile Road, and the recent improvements at Warren’s Lincoln High School. Dailey Co. is the project’s general contractor.

The building, which Warren Mayor Jim Fouts has called a “mini City Hall,” will also include space for use by the Warren Police Department and ancillary municipal offices.  

The plan for the site includes the permanent closure of Republic Avenue, just west of Van Dyke, between Lozier and Continental. A special-needs playground will be built on the site.

“I know the mayor and the council are interested in having maybe weekly or monthly outreach meetings. It’s going to be a City Hall annex office, a little City Hall,” Bommarito said. “We’re going to have our TIFA meetings there. We’ll be doing more neighborhood meetings. The Police Department is planning much more community policing activities, maybe bike patrols.”

Bommarito said the development is part of a comprehensive plan to improve the Van Dyke corridor in the southern section of the city, where other private investments are starting to unfold. Other factors include a facade improvement program for local businesses, multimodal transportation improvements and, potentially, child care services.

“So the stuff we’ve been doing — putting in trees and park benches, and garbage cans —  and building the city center is starting to spur interest, where property is being sold and new businesses move in,” Bommarito said. “That’s the ultimate goal. We hope to keep that ball rolling.”

He said discussions with the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments and other public and private stakeholders, including General Motors Co., are ongoing. The key, he said, will be to create improvements and inspire investments that help raise residential property values in the area.

Warren Public Library Director Oksana Urban said having a new, modern library at that location will be a “shot in the arm” for the area, with access to 21 computer stations and research materials, E-books and magazine collections, and a community room.

“I look forward to this happening,” Urban said.

Officials said a later phase of development at the site will include the addition of a new Warren fire station. Bommarito said the city will pursue any available grant funding for that phase, and that feasibility studies will help determine the schedule of further construction.