DEARBORN HEIGHTS — Wayne County has joined forces with the city of Dearborn Heights for “Phase One” of the Ecorse Creek cleanup.
On Oct. 23, teams removed loads of debris and log jams from sections of Ecorse Creek near Swapka Park.
The event started with opening remarks from Mayor Bill Bazzi, Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans, and U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit).
The first phase of their joint Ecorse Creek Clear-Out focused primarily on the area near the city’s Richard A. Young Center and Swapka Park complex and branched out to both sides of Telegraph Road.
Our plans are already underway to continue with a Spring 2022 Phase Two Clean-Up on an even larger scale — and I’m looking forward to getting back on the ground with our partners and ultimately seeing our residents enjoy some relief. — Mayor Bill Bazzi
More than 100 county, city and contractor employees, and a handful of local officials, participated in the clean up.
The team cleared several truckloads of trash and wood debris, as well as several downed trees that resulted in log jams that have played a role in obstructing the creek’s water flow. In addition to logs and wood debris, large quantities of trash, including six shopping carts, tires, etc. were also removed.
Bazzi was pleased with the collaboration and the outcome of the project.
“Earlier this year, we formed a partnership with county, federal and private partners and began plans to aggressively tackle the longstanding flooding issues,” he said. “Saturday morning, we saw the first fruits of our efforts with the implementation of our Phase One clean-up. I am grateful for this partnership between Dearborn Heights and Wayne County, as we work together to address the flooding issue that has plagued our city for decades. A special thank you to Wayne County Executive Warren Evans and the Wayne County team and to Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib for their ongoing collaboration and dedication, and working with us on the ground as we clear the Creek.”
Bazzi said this was just the first step in a larger plan.
“This event was the first step, with plans to continue building on this momentum even more as we take additional steps in the future to rid our residents of this burden,” he said. “Flooding should not be something that residents should have to live with or remain in fear of each time it rains. Our plans are already underway to continue with a Spring 2022 Phase Two Clean-Up on an even larger scale — and I’m looking forward to getting back on the ground with our partners and ultimately seeing our residents enjoy some relief.”
Evans was equally optimistic.
“The most important thing here is the collaboration and the team effort,” he said. “We wouldn’t go ahead on a project like this if we didn’t have the teamwork from the mayor, his people, his contractors and others to help. I’ve been around the county long enough to know this is much newer behavior than it has been in the past and I’m just elated with it.”
Bazzi is also optimistic about the prospect of offering support to even more affected residents who are interested in selling their flood-prone homes to the city for demolition.
“We are currently working on securing grants to purchase homes along the creek to be replaced with detention basins/rain gardens, to further alleviate flooding and bring relief to our residents,” he said. “We are also working with our Congressional leaders, who are committed to securing federal funding as we work toward finding and implementing permanent solutions to the area’s flood-related challenges.”
Out of concern for protecting residents from both the known and potentially unknown hazards, including working in the vicinity of heavy equipment, wood chippers and chainsaws during this initiative, volunteers were not solicited to assist in the project.