(CBS DETROIT) - The historical marker for all to see symbolizes the importance of the building United Sound Systems Recording Studios. But the hum of construction just steps away is a symbol of its eminent relocation.
With a history going back to 1939 United Sound System was one of Detroit's first independent recording studios. Greats like Dizzie Gillespie, Jackie Wilson, and many more recorded there.
Now, it's owned by the Michigan Department of Transportation. Terry Stepanski, senior project manager of their I-94 Project explained that the studio is right in the path of the project's construction. And that work must happen.
"Motorists are experiencing a higher rate of crashes along that corridor than they should be because it really is built to the 1950s standards," said Stepanski. " What we're going to do is upgrade the I-94 roadway in that area to modern standards to make it safer. It really is a safety project."
Janis Hazel has also been fighting to save the studio. She does not want it to be relocated.
"Far too often, black people in Detroit and other urban areas have been displaced in the name of progress. At a certain point in time, history needs to be retained," said Hazel. "I don't think that this building should be sacrificed for the freeway, the off-ramp, or whatever it is that MDOT wants to do.
We want this building to stay where it is because the studio, a marvelous studio, is in the basement and you can't lift a basement structure out."
"I know our historians are taking a very, very close look at that," said Stepanski. "I've been down there myself and I'm sure that there was a lot of great activity that took place down there. And we want to recreate the sound studio as close as we possibly can to what it is now."
Stepanski said MDOT purchased the building to save it, but so far doesn't have enough information as to how much that will cost and what will happen to the basement of the studio.
But one thing is certain, the i-94 project continues and so does the fight for this Detroit treasure.
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