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Detroit City Council member Raquel Castañeda-López.

On Tuesday, officials from the United States and Canada held the groundbreaking for the new Gordie Howe International Bridge. Set for construction in early October 2020, the project has been subject of much debate, especially how it will affect residents of the Delray neighborhood in Detroit. City Council member Raquel Castañeda-López, who represents District 6 where the new bridge will be built, has been an advocate for the neighborhood and was excited about the news.

“After more than 15 years of speculation and negotiation, I am happy the groundbreaking for the Gordie Howe Bridge is happening today,” said Castañeda-López. “Today’s event symbolizes a hopeful new day for Delray and that hope rests on how well the city, state, Canada, and Bridging North America work together to make sure every step of the process moving forward is fair and equitable.

“The new public bridge will bring tremendous opportunity to our community and city in the form of economic development and jobs – increasing the ease of trade and safety for workers and residents crossing the border. More than that, this project has the potential to transform the lives of the people living just next door – the families and children of Delray & southwest Detroit.”

She went on to add:

“For the past 15 years, the community has been fighting in the trenches to protect the dignity and well-being of every single family living in Delray. Together, we have been fighting for common sense solutions that protect our right to breath clean air, so our kids can play outside without fear of harmful dust, have safe streets where we don’t have to worry about truck traffic or blight and to ensure our neighbors can stay in their homes, and access living wage jobs to thrive in Delray, rather than just survive.

“I look forward to working with the community, Mayor’s Office, Bridging North America, State and WDBA to develop common sense solutions that support.”

With a major project such as the Gordie Howe International Bridge coming to the Delray neighborhood, Castaneda-Lopez and others have fought to assure Delray residents have access to decent homes, for renters and homeowners that choose to stay, through home repair programs, clean air and the reduction of dust and noise pollution through the re-planting of the 4,000 trees being cut down to build the bridge, diesel mitigation programs and ongoing health impact assessments, training local residents for the jobs to come and using local contractors for things like catering, landscaping, etc., families being able to visit the riverfront and learn about our country’s history at Ft. Wayne, and ensuring everyone has access to the park.

“I know Detroit City Council, the mayor’s office, the state, Bridging North America, and Canada are dedicated to ensuring that all residents are able to live a dignified life in a safe, healthy and, thriving community. The success of this project rests on our ability to do so,” said Castaneda-Lopez. “I look forward to partnering with Detroit, the state of Michigan, Canada, and Bridging North America to creating a beautiful gateway into our countries that highlights the promise and potential we share as Americans and Canadians.”

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