Neighborhood Rots Amid Fight Over Bridge to Canada

Billionaire Manuel Moroun wants to tear them down
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 13, 2016 6:40 PM CDT
Neighborhood Rots Amid Fight Over Bridge to Canada
In a photo from Jan. 6, 2015 in Detroit, the Ambassador Bridge leading into Windsor, Ontario is seen from Detroit.    (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

A Canadian neighborhood is rotting away in a dispute over who gets to control bridge traffic into the US—elected officials or a Detroit billionaire, the New York Times reports. The complex battle involves the Ambassador Bridge, which links Detroit to Windsor and is the only private road bridge between the US and Canada. Billionaire Manuel Moroun, who owns the bridge, has fought Canadian officials for years to keep them from constructing a competing bridge. He has also snapped up houses in the Sandwich neighborhood of Windsor, where he plans to build his own second bridge alongside the Ambassador. But he's let the houses fall into such disrepair that the once-thriving neighborhood is now boarded-up, burnt-out, and crumbling.

"I can't figure them out and why they decided to be a bad corporate citizen," says Windsor's mayor, Drew Dilkens. The president of a Maroun-owned company says most of the buildings were already falling apart and slated for destruction, the Windsor Star reports, but either way, the company wants to demolish 114 run-down houses to build its second span—a plan the city opposes. Now the fight has gone to the Supreme Court of Canada, which is expected to decide whether international law grants Maroun the right to ignore Windsor's wishes and bring down the houses. For their part, Canadian officials plan to build another bridge in an industrial area about three miles away. At stake is the biggest trade crossing between the two countries, the Toronto Star notes. (More Detroit stories.)

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