- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

DETROIT (AP) - The owners of the Ambassador Bridge have acquired some city land that could be used to build a twin span from Detroit to Windsor, Ontario.

The 3-acre parcel is part of a land swap deal approved the Detroit City Council approved 7-2 on Tuesday. It is in southwest Detroit where the Moroun family wants to build its new bridge adjacent to the Ambassador Bridge.

Detroit gets nearly 5 acres of land that it will use to expand Riverside Park. The bridge company also will pay $3 million for park improvements.

“The children and families of southwest Detroit are going to get a beautiful waterfront park,” Mayor Mike Duggan said. “We will start moving as quickly as possible to build the kind of Riverside Park the community is now expecting.”

State and federal officials still have to approve the land deal.

The need for the land swap might have been greater for the Morouns whose new bridge - if built - would compete with a $2.1 billion bridge planned by the state of Michigan and the Canadian government.

The family also appears to be trying to mend fences in the city. They own the Michigan Central train depot - Detroit’s most well-known eyesore. Some have criticized the family for not doing enough to keep up the structure which was built in 1913, but fell into disrepair after rail service ended in 1988.

Manuel (Matty) Moroun bought the building in the 1990s.

“We’ve committed to a number of important things to the city including the opportunity to provide for a second span to the bridge,” said Moroun’s son, Matthew.

Matthew Moroun is the Ambassador Bridge’s vice chair.

“We look at this as an opportunity to demonstrate our ability to fulfill our commitments to the city in a way that greatly improves Riverside Park, our relationship with city government and our standing in the community,” he said.


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