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Detroit City Council to vote on tax breaks for Henry Ford Health Hospital expansion

Detroit City Council to vote on tax breaks for Henry Ford Health Hospital expansion
Detroit City Council to vote on tax breaks for Henry Ford Health Hospital expansion 02:09

(CBS DETROIT) – On Tuesday, the Detroit City Council will vote on whether to green-light tax breaks for a project that would change the New Center neighborhood in the coming years.

Developers are asking for $296 million in incentives as part of the Henry Ford Health Hospital expansion.

Since Henry Ford Health is a nonprofit, it isn't incentives for its initiative called the "Future of Health," but one of its partners, the Detroit Pistons, is asking for a good chunk of the tax breaks to build three apartment buildings

Chris McKnight/CBS Detroit

But community advocates don't believe it'll be money well spent.

Since last spring, the Sugar Law Center for Economic and Social Justice has demanded these four requests from developers:"

  • Annual donation to Detroit's Affordable Housing Trust Fund
  • Reimburse funds for schools and libraries
  • Transportation services for seniors
  • Transfer ownership of Fairbanks Elementary School

so in their eyes, the community can benefit if the city council were to pass the tax breaks that would last over 35 years.

"It's not equitable. It's not responsible to take the tax dollars the least of these are paying and divert them away from public use to subsidize a billionaire owner's wealth. That's not right," Tonya Myers Phillips, Community Partnerships & Development Director at the Sugar Law Center, said. "We're not anti-hospital expansion. What we are asking for is fairness and equity and for our public servants to use our money for public good."

Henry Ford Health says there are extensive community benefits in the project that surpass the value of the incentives.

This includes creating more than 700 permanent jobs, housing for various income levels, and state-of-the-art healthcare and research facilities.

If the incentive package doesn't pass Tuesday, the project could face delays.

"We don't see this project being successful without all three components. And so we would work, you know, diligently to try to make that delay less, you know, the least amount of time possible, if that were the case so that we would be able to find a way to have the project, you know, be fulfilled the way we vision," said Denise Brooks-Williams, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Care Delivery System Operations at Henry Ford Health. 

The hope is that it passes so they can break ground in the next month or two.

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