DETROIT (AP) – Michigan has hired a New York City firm to look at ways to revive Historic Fort Wayne, a long underused 96-acre site along the Detroit River.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. in January hired HR&A Advisors Inc. for $235,000 with the goal of coming up with a realistic plan that would maintain the fort’s historic nature while incorporating other uses for the property, The Detroit News reported.

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“We hope a vision plan will be delivered by the end of the year, hopefully, well before the end of the year,” said Andrew Doctoroff, a special projects adviser to Gov. Rick Snyder

Housing, office or industrial uses are possibilities for the site. Workers with HR&A Advisors visited Historic Fort Wayne last week, the newspaper said. A 2003 study of Historic Fort Wayne estimated that it would cost at least $58 million to restore the site.

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The military fort in southwest Detroit was built between 1842 and 1851. The grounds also contain a Native American burial site dating back more than 1,000 years. The Historic Fort Wayne site is on the federal National Register of Historic Places.

Detroit controls 83 acres, including the original fort and a number of buildings. The remaining area is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a boatyard. The site is near a planned new bridge across the Detroit River to connect the city with Windsor, Ontario.
The fort has gradually fallen into disrepair, with some buildings decaying while grass grows on the roofs of others. Upkeep is largely entrusted to volunteers with the Historic Fort Wayne Coalition who spend their time painting, repairing and cleaning the site.

“Right now, we only use a handful of the buildings,” said James Conway, a city of Detroit employee, who is Fort Wayne’s project manager and historian.

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