Northville to clear psych hospital property, repurpose for 'active recreation'

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Northville Township — The site of a former state psychiatric hospital in Northville Township will be cleared and redeveloped as an "active recreation site," after township trustees approved a $12 million bond sale to fund the work, the township announced Tuesday.

The bond funding will pay for the removal or relocation of the remaining 11 buildings on the 332-acre site, now called Legacy Park. 

The demolition phase will begin in summer 2022.

The former state psychiatric hospital in Northville Township was torn down in 2018.

Any buildings that survive it "will be clustered in a single 10-acre parcel," the township noted, "leaving 96% of the remaining property for use as an active recreation site."

Township Treasurer Jason Rhines said "the time is now" to clear the site.

"For reasons including, but not limited to, historically low interest rates and continually rising costs of demolition, this is an opportune time to proceed with this project, which has been identified as a priority by our residents," Rhines said in a statement. 

Northville Township said it will repay the bonds "with revenue collected by a Brownfield Tax Increment Financing district," and that no money from the general fund will be used.

Township voters approved the acquisition of the 300-plus acres around the property in 2009, at a cost of $23.5 million. The site, at that time, had 20 buildings, including a water tower and a power plant. Demolition began in 2012, and the "signature" building on site, the psychiatric hospital, was demolished in 2018.

More:Northville to tear down shuttered psych hospital

The former hospital had issues with trespassing in the years before it was torn down. The Northville Tunnels, which connected buildings on the site, have long been a popular site for explorers. The hospital shut down in 2003. 

More:Hiking, biking trails to take shape at former psychiatric hospital site

As for the tunnels, township spokeswoman Rene Wisely said they "are, and will remain, inaccessible."