Trenton City Council Frustrated as Riverside Project is Called Off
Trenton City Council members voiced their opinions Monday night about the canceled construction project at the former Riverside Hospital property.
Councilman Timothy Taylor did not mince words when expressing his anger with Henry Ford Health System, which currently has deed restrictions on the dilapidated property, keeping current owner Iqbal Nasir from building what could be considered a competing medical facility.
“All those damn restrictions need to be lifted so that place can be developed, this is garbage,” Taylor said.
“Once more they stuck it up our butts by their inaction. It’s no fault of anybody here, but they’ve been sitting on that property. Even though they don’t own it any longer, they’ve kept their arm in it enough to keep the restrictions on that really (make) it very difficult for anybody to develop property that was designed for medical care. So they either have to remove those restrictions, and/or tear that building down and make it safe. This is garbage.”
Four other council members sounded off as well after Mayor Kyle Stack said Nasir, who is chief of staff at Oakwood Southshore Medical Center, informed her he no longer plans to build a $13 million skilled nursing center and assisted living facility on the property.
She said an attempt by HFHS to modify the deed restrictions was still not acceptable for Nasir, who has since put in a bid on a property in Riverview.
William LeFevre, who has been on Council since 1991, said his frustration lies with the fact that HFHS officials have not come to Trenton to speak with city officials about the matter.
“I don’t quite understand,” LeFevre said. “If they think they are 100 percent right, do they think they’re above the City of Trenton to come down here and discuss this with us.”
Councilman Robert Howey also expressed displeasure with HFHS.
“We’ve been played and quite frankly I’m disappointed with Henry Ford on this,” Howey said.
Two other council members, however, said the onus is on Nasir.
Councilwoman Timber Baun-Crooks said Nasir should take responsibility for maintaining the property, which has fallen into a state of disrepair and has become a source of controversy in Trenton.
“It’s a shame for Trenton,” Baun-Crooks said. “We’ve sat here a long time, we’ve been patient. … Dr. Nasir owns the property and at this point in time I feel it’s up to him to take care of the property he owns.”
Councilwoman MaryEllen Mcleod said Nasir is to blame for the delays with his project. Also, she said council wasted time by granting his request for help in working with HFHS to modify the deed restrictions.
“Dr. Nasir dragged his feet for a long time," Mcleod said. “(He) came here, begged us to put ourselves out there for him. “We did and we’ve been totally disappointed.”