Thursday, August 4, 2022

New security system in place at Legacy Park

A new suite of security equipment is preventing trespassers from being exposed to asbestos and other hazardous materials from the building demolition project at Legacy Park, the former state psychiatric hospital property on Seven Mile Road in Northville Township. 

Motion-detecting video cameras, sirens, strobe lights, signs, a public address system and a person monitoring the site 24 hours a day are there to ensure that uninvited guests do not violate the law by entering the demolition zone. Trespassers may trigger a phone call to the Northville Township Police Department and officers respond to the property to apprehend any violators. 

Since installation in late June, trespassers have triggered the alarms about 60 times, with the police being dispatched six times, said Police Chief Scott Hilden. (See story below.)While nothing has been stolen, the solar-powered cameras with battery packs for night use did capture someone adding graffiti to the job site, along with multiple bike riders with flashlights. 

“I hope this powerful system is a deterrent,” Hilden said. “It's a dangerous demolition site where workers wear respirators while there and we don't want anyone to get hurt simply because they are curious.” 

Asbestos Abatement Incorporated (AAI), a Lansing-based firm hired by Northville Township to remove the hazardous materials, incorporated Pro-Vigil's high-tech security because of the scope of the project and the attraction of the site to urban explorers. 

It marks the first time they have used such an extensive alarm suite, said Michael Suty, President of AAI. After observing the effectiveness of the system at Legacy Park, the company has added the equipment to another job site. 

“We expect this state-of-the-art surveillance to set the standard for future construction projects in Michigan and are currently implementing this same technology for another customer on a demolition project in Benton Harbor, which had a history similar to the Northville Township site,” Suty said. 

The abatement of the remaining 11 buildings began in late June. Once the buildings are safe from hazardous materials, they will be demolished, making way for the park's transformation into a recreation attraction, officials said. 

“While we appreciate the enthusiasm about Legacy Park's unique setting, we want our residents and any visitors safe,” said Township Supervisor Mark J. Abbo. 

Northville Township acquired the 332-acre Legacy Park property in 2009 after a millage election. It included 20 buildings, a water tower, a power plant and other infrastructure. The first buildings were demolished in 2012. The signature nine-story, 252,174-square-foot psychiatric hospital came down in 2018. 

“We are looking forward to an exciting future with Legacy Park as a beautiful asset to be enjoyed by all,” Abbo said.