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Misunderstanding Mercy

Nothing pleases News Hits more than when one of Detroit’s daily newspapers gets the story wrong. Last week, Detroit News reporter Darren A. Nichols wrote that Detroit’s Department of Transportation (D-DOT) will build a $5 million bus transfer station “on a portion of the now closed Mercy Hospital site at Chandler Park Drive and Conner.” That’s partially correct, says D-DOT director Al Martin. Nichols got it right when he reported that a bus transfer station will be built, but it will not necessarily go on the former Mercy Hospital grounds, says Martin.

“I told him that is our preferred location,” he says. “It’s not a done deal. It’s not finalized.”

Janet Pinkerton, vice president of region development for Trinity Health Corporation (which owns Mercy Hospital), says there have been discussions with D-DOT about the bus transfer station, but nothing is definite.

“No one talked to us,” says Pinkerton. “We were surprised as anyone else that it was in the paper.”

Mark Owens, Warren/Conner Development Coalition deputy director, was quoted in Nichols’ article as supporting the transfer station. But Owens told News Hits that his east side group opposes the plan. Community organizations have been trying to find the best use for the hospital and campus since it closed last February. They say a bus station is not appropriate because seniors live on the campus and should not have to tolerate the noise. Owens wrote Nichols a letter after the article was published stating that his group wants a bus station near the hospital grounds, but not on the property.

“From my perspective,” says Nichols, “I’m sticking by my story.”

Pinkerton says that, in fact, Boysville (a Catholic-run rehabilitation center for troubled youth), SER Metro (an education and job training program) and the YMCA have been chosen as tentative tenants for the former hospital.

But many details must be worked out and nothing is final, says Pinkerton.

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or

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