DETROIT, MI – The Michigan Central Train Station. Icon to Eyesore. It opened 100 years ago on Dec. 26, 1913 and its last train pulled from the station in 1988. Its insides have been picked through like that of a Christmas Day turkey. The shell stands to remind us of a once grander time.
Scrappers, urban explorers and others can be pointed at for its current unsightly look that towers over Corktown and the rest of Detroit. However, the biggest and most responsible for its sad reminders is Manuel “Matty” Moroun. Moroun bought the property in 1996 and has allowed it to sink further and further into disrepair. This is not unusual for a person who owns over 300 properties in Detroit and is well known as one of, if not the biggest slum lords in the area.
Headlines on the Detroit News website and The Detroit Free Press site today are screaming that Moroun is going to dump $15-$20 Million in the property. That would be a drop in the bucket on the positive side if Uncle Matty keeps his word. But we all know his history in that arena. This is not the first time that hopes for the train station have gone up to new heights only to come crashing down even further than where they were before the stories were published. An interesting look at the numbers then and now published on The Detroit Free Press site gives a wonderful focus of what reality is.
Does it really matter to Matty Moroun what the general public thinks or perceives of him? Apparently not. Articles like this have been written time and time again. The public’s perception is one of absolute greed, a bad neighbor, slum lord, manipulative, liar to name just a few. He continues to pile on the negative perception.
So why should we as the general public think that anything is going to change with the one property. What has changed or is changing to make his want to put millions into the old central train station? Or is he just giving us another Christmas wish and we will once again toss a larger lump of coal in his stocking next year?
We need concrete, stricter laws to deal with those who think or feel its no big deal if they own property and let it rot around the rest of us. Maybe we could take a bridge in the means of payment for what he continues to lay before us. That would sure hurt him.