As the City of Dearborn moves forward with plans to transition to a new city hall building by 2014, efforts to incorporate Dearborn Public Schools into that plan have stalled.
Mayor Jack O'Reilly said in meetings last week that he had hoped to apply for a grant through the state's Competitive Grant Assistance Program, which rewards municipalities for mergers and partnerships with other cities and entities aimed at saving all parties considered significant funds.
The grant would have provided up to $800,000 for the project.
The deadline O'Reilly had hoped to reach for applying for the grant in regard to the city-schools location merger was Dec. 3.
"If the grant comes, we have to decide if we're doing it or not," he said in a meeting with Dearborn City Council last Tuesday. "It's still speculative, but it's still proceeding."
However, Dearborn Public Schools spokesman David Mustonen confirmed that the district's Board of Education feels that the timing isn't right to proceed with a move of the district's administrative offices.
The offices are currently located inside the Ten Eyck building on Audette, which is also where Board of Education meetings are held.
"Our board at this time feels like we don’t want to be involved with the project," Mustonen said.
"There’s a lot going on in the district right now," he added, "and there’s a lot of need in our schools."
According to the Dearborn Times-Herald, Supt. Brian Whiston and the Board of Education said after a meeting Nov. 27 that they felt that more information was needed before proceeding with a merger of spaces.
“The board felt like they didn’t have enough information to commit to a grant with the city and schools,” Whiston told the Times-Herald.
The board ultimately voted against applying for the competitive assistance grant.
Mustonen stressed that the decision not to merge is not a final one, and that the district will revisit the issue in the future.
"It’s not that we wouldn’t consider it down the line," he added.
The decision from the district will not affect the city's plan to move into the new building, which is located on Michigan Avenue just west of the Henry Ford Centennial Library, by early 2014.
The city purchased the building—formerly occupied by ADP—for $3.2 million this year. The national nonprofit Artspace has signed a letter of intent to buy the current Dearborn City Hall and turn it into live-work space for artists, though no deal has been formalized.
Do you think Dearborn Public Schools should consolidate their offices into the new city hall building? An unscientific poll of Patch readers earlier this year found that 51 percent said no. Tell us what you think in the comments!