City Hall Move Could Result in Relocation of Hubbard Statue, War Memorial
Should the city create a veterans memorial park near the site of the new city hall?
The city is looking to sell the current structure to nonprofit group Artspace, which would turn the complex into a live-work space for artists. Meanwhile, Dearborn City Council on May 22 approved the $3.2 million purchase of the former ADP building on Michigan Avenue for the purpose of turning into a new City Hall.
Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly confirmed that although no concrete decision has been made, the city is leaning toward moving the war memorial, Veterans Plaza, and statue of longtime Dearborn Mayor Orville Hubbard to a new location, too.
“We’ll be engaging veterans and … the Hubbard family as to what their desire would be and what they’d like to see,” O’Reilly said, adding that the committee that raised the funds for the Hubbard statue would also be consulted.
O’Reilly said that the city could request to leave the memorials and Veterans Plaza in tact surrounding the old City Hall building–even if Artspace or another buyer were to take possession of the complex–but that preliminary discussions have indicated that most are for moving the features to the city-owned green space just east of the ADP building.
The resulting space–landscaped, and with sitting and walking areas–would be renamed something along the lines of Hubbard Park, or Veterans Memorial Park.
“My expectation is that (veterans are) going to want to have a sense of place,” O’Reilly said. “My notion is we would … take that natural environment and make it a walking park that would focus on veterans and what their contribution has been.”
Front and center to that park could potentially be the statue of Hubbard–a move that his daughter, City Council member Nancy Hubbard, is supportive of.
“I think that would be a good idea,” Hubbard said. “I don’t see anything wrong with that at all.”
Hubbard added that the moving of City Hall–like the moving of the statue of her father–was a tough decision for her to support, but one she felt was right.
“I think most Dearborn residents, once it’s done, will be happy with it,” she said. “I know there’s a lot of mixed feelings. It was a hard decision to make, but you’ve got to look at the big picture. I think in the long run, it’s going to work out fine.”
Negotiations on the ADP purchase are still pending, as city contractors conduct an evaluation of the building. That $13,500 contract to URS was approved Tuesday by City Council, with Council President Tom Tafelski dissenting.