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There is No Other City Quite like Dearborn, MI

Much of what we should be thankful for that we have in good old Dearborn, Michigan, a city unlike all other cities.

Despite issues Dearborn faces, since Christmas will be here soon; I believe it’s time for us to appreciate all that Dearborn offers us, as there’s no other city quite like Dearborn.

In 24-1/2 square miles, we have 43 parks with amenities that most cities only wish they had.  We still have six of eight outdoor, neighborhood swimming pools open, and so far, Dearborn has more total outdoor pools than any other city in Michigan. This is something to be proud of and it should be something we also preserve for our future by telling our leaders we expect them to “Save Our Pools”.

Dearborn has nine outdoor, natural ice rinks, four outdoor inline hockey rinks, and the Dearborn Ice Skating Center (DISC), which is an award winning skating and hockey facility that offers two NHL size rinks.

Henry Ford’s hometown continues to be the only city in America that also owns its own campground in another community - Camp Dearborn. 

Since it opened, our $45 million Ford Community and Performing Arts Center continues to be the most unique recreational and cultural facility in North America.  A few elections back, Republican Presidential nominees said they had never seen such a have-it-all facility, and stated that sound quality in our larger Studio B was as great as Carnegie Hall.

To top that off, in 2009 our Recreation Department was one of only two Michigan, and one of only 88 in America earning national accreditation from the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreational Agencies (CAPRA).  To meet that standard, it took two years to complete, and involved a team of park and recreational professionals visiting Dearborn and assessing Dearborn Recreation Department's performance. Our Recreation Department fully met 36 fundamental quality standards and at least 102 of the 105 remaining standards.

Our Henry Ford Centennial Library is one of the most outstanding libraries in America, and ranks up there as high as, if not better than many larger cities libraries. We still have two of three of our smaller public libraries open, and let’s hope city leaders wake up soon and realize Snow Library needs to reopen. 

Dearborn still offers more shopping districts than most comparable and many larger communities, including west downtown, east downtown, Fairlane and all that encompasses it, Warren Avenue/Schaefer, southeast Dix/Vernor, Monroe Street and numerous other shopping areas.

The most visited tourist attraction in Michigan and the second most visited Museum in America are in Dearborn – Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, aka The Henry Ford, and other than the Smithsonian, both are loaded with more American history than any other museum and/or outdoor facility, therefore, they draw tourists from all around the world.

Our Dearborn Arab-American Museum is the only museum in the world dedicated to Arab-Americans culture and history, and affiliated with The Smithsonian.  This is one incredible museum, and if you have never visited, you have no idea what a beautiful, enlightening experience you’re missing.

Lastly, Dearborn has museums that house the rich, long history of Dearborn – The Dearborn Historical Museum and The McFadden-Ross House, overseen by the Dearborn Historical Commission.  Many years before moving back home to Dearborn; I called the Historical Museum to see if they could locate my high school varsity baseball articles. Within a few days, a woman called and stated that she had found all three years of articles and that she had mailed them to me at my California address. When I told her that I had not paid for them yet, she stated, “Don’t worry about it. Just send us the check when you receive the articles”.  To this day, I am touched by the trust and faith this museum employee exhibited towards me.

However, The Dearborn Historical Museum and McFadden-Ross House are another of our iconic gems in dire need of help.  In June 2012, the city slashed their funding by approximately two-thirds for the current fiscal year, and city leaders have stated that they are cutting off city financial support after June 2013. 

We need to do everything we can to save our wonderful city museums and other than letting our mayor and city council know that this is not something we will stand for, we also have the additional options:

  • Purchase an Annual Member Pass, with investments ranging from $25 per person for Individual Membership, up to $500 for Mayor’s Circle Membership, which includes two adult members in the same household and their children or grandchildren 18 years or younger, plus four guests per visit, and a copy of the book “Henry’s Attic”
  • With the help of hundreds of volunteer local authors, The Dearborn Historical Society has published two books that tell these authors stories about Dearborn.  The books are “Best Dearborn Stories – Voices from Henry Ford’s Hometown – Volume I & Volume II”.  All of the monies collected for these wonderful books is utilized for saving our Dearborn Historical Museum and McFadden Ross House and the investment is only $19.95 each

Save Dearborn’s rich cultural history by purchasing an Annual Membership Pass or by ordering one or both “Best Dearborn Stories” books today.  Make all checks payable to the Dearborn Historical Museum, 915 S. Brady Street, Dearborn, MI 48124.  You can also visit the Historical Museum Tuesday through Friday from 9:00am until 4:00pm and pay by cash, check or credit/debit card.  If you have questions, telephone 313-565-3000 or email dhm@ci.dearborn.mi.us.

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Michael D. Albano January 17, 2013 at 01:15 PM
Yet some of the schools that have high immigrant student populations are still struggling in some areas. Another thing DPS and Whiston did was immerse English challenged students into English classes, which is one reason the scores improved. Now the state is making the tests even more difficult, so test scores may suffer for awhile, as they will in most Michigan school districts. However, I believe DPS is on the right track in improving schools. Another issue you need to remember is that DPS is a magnet school district for Special Needs children. Many Wayne County school districts send their Special needs children to DPS because our programs are so good. 20% of our students are Special Needs, and unlike in my day, their test scores are included in DPS MEAP and MME scores, which brings our average test scores down. However, this is a state mandated, and worthwhile program to mainstream handicapped children, instead of keeping them segregated in separate schools as they did back in my day.
Michael D. Albano January 17, 2013 at 01:15 PM
While I've noticed some homes in Dearborn not looking up to what I'd like to see, in my numerous drives around the city, I still believe the city residences are pretty well taken care of, taken care of far better than most surrounding cities. Since the city started going after financial institutions that owned foreclosed homes that they were neglecting, many of these homes now have the grass cut, and the exterior fixed up. If the home looks real run down, the city follows-up with an interior inspection to make sure the home is up to code, and that there are no hazards inside. Other than vacant business retail suites, which does not please me, I haven't noticed Michigan Avenue and Telegraph looking run down, and I drive by these areas most days of the week. Therefore, perhaps you could give me some examples.
Michael D. Albano January 17, 2013 at 01:16 PM
Either way, if you're upset with anything about our residential neighborhoods call Residential Services Director Nick Siroskey at 313.943.2150. If you're not happy with our business/commercial districts on Michigan Avenue, Telegraph, or in any other business areas, or you witness garbage issues, contact our DPW Director Jim Murray at 313-943.2085. When they hear your complaints, they will look into and address the issues you mention. I realize we have issues in this city that need addressing, as you do. However, I still think it is a great city. If I have failed to address anything you've mentioned, let me know. While I've noticed some homes in Dearborn not looking up to what I'd like to see, in my numerous drives around the city, I still believe the city residences are pretty well taken care of, taken care of far better than most surrounding cities. Since the city started going after financial institutions that owned foreclosed homes that they were neglecting, many of these homes now have the grass cut, and the exterior fixed up. If the home looks real run down, the city follows-up with an interior inspection to make sure the home is up to code, and that there are no hazards inside.
Michael D. Albano January 17, 2013 at 01:16 PM
Other than vacant business retail suites, which does not please me, I haven't noticed Michigan Avenue and Telegraph looking run down, and I drive by these areas most days of the week. Therefore, perhaps you could give me some examples. Either way, if you're upset with anything about our residential neighborhoods call Residential Services Director Nick Siroskey at 313.943.2150. If you're not happy with our business/commercial districts on Michigan Avenue, Telegraph, or in any other business areas, or you witness garbage issues, contact our DPW Director Jim Murray at 313-943.2085. When they hear your complaints, they will look into and address the issues you mention. I realize we have issues in this city that need addressing, as you do. However, I still think it is a great city. If I have failed to address anything you've mentioned, let me know.
Michael D. Albano January 17, 2013 at 01:21 PM
Sorry Linda, but some of my posts were somewhat redundant, and it's too late to change them now. And I was also wrong, in that it took me far more than 2 comments to address your questions.

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