The Private Pond That No One Wants to Take Care Of.

Here’s what I know about the “pond” discussed at the last council meeting. This pond is privately owned by the people who live in that area.. From what I understand this pond was deeded to each home owner  an association that’s no longer active or they just don’t care any more use to take care of this pond.. Unless they want to turn the pond into a public area that all of us can go to not sure why the City should pay to have it cleaned up. Having said that if I lived in that area I would not be happy at all.  I would be knocking on every door of my neighbors and reading just what my responsibility is to the pond. If this information is correct the people who live in that area need to get together pool their money and hire a company to do this clean up.


13 thoughts on “The Private Pond That No One Wants to Take Care Of.”

  1. Thanks for mentioning the water fountains at city hall, Priority. I had forgotten about them but now that you mention it, they’ve been “Out of Order” for quite some time now. Why haven’t they been fixed? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’ve heard the Justice Center is renting space to the Sheriff’s department. How about we move all of City Hall over to the Justice Center? The current City Hall is in bad shape, old, and needs some major fixes; one of which is a new roof. Instead of throwing good money after bad, let’s move them all to the Justice Center and have one administration building for this city. We could hold council meetings in one of the court rooms and any worries any of the council had about safety would be null and void. Everyone going to a council meeting would have to go through the scanner. Of course, we’ve already spent thousands to put up a shield at the Clerk’s office and now he quits; oh, no, wait a minute – he’s baaaaaaaaaaack! This city administration is a joke!


  2. bitsy08, how about fixing the water fountains in city hall? or may be have few filtered water dispensers (HOT/Cold)? So far $40,000.00 authorized for to study the pond issue? Do we need a city council resolution authorizing a study to fix the city hall fountains? Do you think they will be money left for the E newsletter? Or for a Facebook site? Or Tweet? Or you tube and live streaming city council meetings? Prioritization of city services depends on collective and cooperative efforts by city officials.


  3. If there is a barn there and a filled in swimming pool then there has to be some access to the pond. I have a feeling that this access must be very over-grown.

    My daughter and I felt funny about looking around too much as it might have looked like we were casing the subdivision for nefarious reasons and we were afraid we would get the police called on us. It didn’t help that my 15 year old grandson was hiding in the backseat because he was embarrassed his mom and grandma got out of the car to look around and kept popping his head up to see what we were doing.

    Wow! we saw a couple of really big bucks roaming around the backyards in broad daylight and they had huge racks of antlers.

    There is another body of water in our area that was formed by one on the springs that were plentiful back in the 1800’s. There is a pond in Woodmere Cemetery in SW Detroit (right on the border with South Dearborn). This pond was once a huge lake that was connected to Baby (or as the French first named it Baubee) creek. Baby Creek came from an underground spring located north of Patton Park. The creek ran through Patton Park, across Vernor Highway, through Woodmere Cemetery feeding the lake and ended by flowing into the Rouge River around the Fort Street/Oakwood drawbridge. Baby Creek had cement culverts put in it and was covered over in the late 1950’s and was made into a CSO. A water treatment plant was built in Patton Park take storm water and clean it before draining into the once Baby Creek. I am old enough to remember people swimming and splashing about in Baby Creek as it flowed through Patton Park.

    There is so much history in our area and learning about it is a hobby of mine. It will be a very sad day if the Dearborn Historical Museum is ever closed as a lot of Dearborn Heights history is located here.


  4. Wow. As far as I’m concerned, WHOMEVER or WHATEVER GROUP ends up being the owner of this pond is the responsible party. I am NOT OK with using my tax money to clean up someone else’s problem. We can’t have an e-newsletter but the city can contemplate spending $250,000 on a pond? Please tell me the purpose of this pond. From Grandma Suzanne, we now know why it was constructed; but does it now serve a purpose? To sum up, I’ll say this. If the homeowner’s end up being the owner, then it is their responsibility. If the city is the owner and this pond doesn’t really serve a purpose, FILL IT IN and let’s be done with it.


  5. It appear that the pond owner abandoned it and let go to tax foreclosure, its the same as abandoning your home when you can’t afford the bills anymore and no interested buyers! fill it and sell the lots for new home development and generate property taxes.


  6. That is just what I said and councilwoman Horvath is right what will other associations ask for? It is up to each home owner to take care of their property and if home owners in that area had that pond deaded to them as was stated by Councilwoman Horvath and she’s not the only one saying this the City/taxpayers have nothing to do with it. While I understand they pay taxes as home owners so do we all. I think 250,000.00 is to much fill the pond in plant some grass and call it a day… From what I’m reading in the news report the City has been putting something in the pond to kill the bugs. I can all so imagin living there is hell with the way they have discribed the condition of the pond. To have the City assume responsiability for the pond isn’t the right thing to do… If however that is what the Council decides to do then Fill it in and be done with it. No yearly up-keep and if the City does take over the pond that is now public property so we all can use it Right?


  7. According to the news and city the attorney, there was a foreclosure on the pond in 2011 for non paid tax! Here we are, the county own the pond in this situation and can offer the pond to the city to buy for the what ever tax liability on it, or sell in the auction if the city refuse to acquire it. Some body was paying taxes on the pond, who they are? and how come the assessor records have no record of the owners or tax payers? 1+1 = 2 common calculation? Both council members who questioned the issue must know about the ownership of that pond? On the same note: how many other ponds are in the city? and how many of them needs maintenance? You can’t have an association private pond supported by tax dollars to increase a private homeowners properties value on the back of the general population of a city. If the neighborhood association abandoned the pond then may be and if possible to be filled by dirt and turn to small public play ground. End of story. The city should apply for DNR grant or other assistance for green initiatives at that site or see if qualified for wet-land assistance.


  8. Times-Herald Newspapers – July 14, 2014

    The Old Orchard Pond in the River Oaks Subdivision is being evaluated by engineers to determine what can be done to increase the current of water and amount of marine life to try to combat the ongoing mosquito problem that has caused many residents to complain to the city of potential health issues and ask for assistance. The city is also working to determine who owns the pond.

    After over an hour of discussion, the city council authorized the mayor to prepare design plans and specification, acquire the necessary permits for construction and advertise for bids not to exceed $40,000 for the restoration of the Old Orchard Pond in the River Oaks Subdivision and authorized Corporation Counsel Gary Miotke to find out who owns the pond.

    The decisions came at the July 8 council meeting.

    Residents in the subdivision, which has over 200 houses and is located northwest of Ford Road and Evergreen, have been complaining to the city that the drainage of water from the pond into nearby creeks is blocked, causing standing water issues that have made the pond a breeding ground for mosquitos, which makes it difficult to leave their residences without being attacked and facing health issues due to bug bites.

    Wade Trim Project Engineer Mark Pribak addressed the council stating that the pond is not completely blocked and that the issue is the depth of the pond rather than it’s current into neighboring waterways.

    “In terms of restoration, what we’re left with is increasing the depth of the pond,” Pribak said. “You increase that and we can get other species living in the pond that will eat the insect nests.”

    Pribak said that increasing the depth can either be done by dredging the pond to remove sediment from its bottom or by raising the water level.

    “Our best solution would probably be a combination of the two,” Pribak said.

    Pribak also recommended the removal of dead and fallen trees and stabilizing the banks with vegetation, rehabilitating the pond outlet structure to establish proper detention of storm water run-off, creating a forebay area in the pond to enhance future treatment for sediment removal and to reverse the ongoing degradation within the pond to control stormwater and improve water quality in the pond.

    The total cost of the project is expected to be around $250,000 but city officials stated that they could not be sure of the total cost until after the area is professionally inspected and proposals are submitted.

    After the initial costs and work, Pribak said that maintenance work would need to be performed every five to ten years depending on construction in the area. Residents argue that because it is a drainage issue, it is the city’s responsibility to fix it.

    While all members of the city council have agreed that the bug problem needs to be resolved, the question of who should pay for it was raised by council members Joseph Kosinski and Marge Horvath, who stated that the pond is privately owned by the neighborhood association in River Oaks, not by the city.

    “It’s not our pond, it’s private property,” Horvath said. “If we go in there and pay $250,000, what is the next subdivision going to ask for?”

    Councilman Thomas Berry said that regardless of who owns the pond, the city has to protect its residents.

    “They live in this community and pay taxes to the city,” Berry said. “We own the responsibility of making sure that their health and well-being are cared for.”

    Miotke said that the ownership of the pond will have to be investigated because the city’s Assessor’s Office had the pond registered to the neighborhood association but also showed that it had gone into tax foreclosure in 2011.

    “There’s a lack of clarity in terms of who actually owns the pond,” Miotke said. “We have to ascertain who actually owns the property because we would need permission from that owner to do any work on the property. If this property belongs to the association there could be some requirement that it end up taking care of this to a certain degree.”

    He added that the investigation should only take a couple of weeks and that it would be alright for the city to have the pond checked and get recommendations for restoration without verifying ownership but that no repair work should be done without it.

    Councilman Ned Apigian said that while he agreed that the study should be done at the pond to determine what should be done to repair it, his main concern was the immediate affect facing residents due to the bugs.

    “No matter what we do or who pays for it, these people need some relief,” Apigian said.

    Mayor Dan Paletko said that the city has been dropping mosquito killing pellets into the pond to cut down on the problem but was looking into new ways that would offer more relief while the restoration plans and engineer work begins. Many residents from the subdivision were in attendance at the council meeting to discuss the problem and what solutions are available, including River Oaks Community Association President Rick Marra.

    “This is a major issue to us,” Marra said. “I live 6 blocks from the pond and it’s a disaster. We’re not asking you to rid us of this problem, we want you to reduce it.”

    Tony Bumbaca, the treasurer of the association whose property borders the pond, said that residents want the issue to be resolved soon.

    “This didn’t happen overnight, we’ve got years and years of accumulation that have caused this,” Bumbaca said. “I don’t know why we’re having so much trouble getting the council to approve the dredging of the pond.”

    Bumbaca also invited any council members questioning the severity of the mosquito issue to visit the pond themselves.

    “I can’t believe that any of them have been here if they don’t recognize how big of an issue this is,” Bumbaca said. “You can’t be outside for more than a minute without being eaten alive.”

    (Bob Oliver can be reached at


  9. So who own the pond? Who pay taxes on it? Is’t exempt? Is the city codes ordinance are applicable to that property? is’t health and safety? Is the county health department should be called and informed about any possible danger to the population health that live around that area? Is the property fall under the DNA regulations? Is the property a historic site under the state regulations? No matter what, the city should deal with the issue and resolve the matter.


  10. Did some more research on the “pond”. Went Google flying and got a bird’s eye view. This pond is in terrible shape and will need a lot of work before they can even begin to address the mosquito issue.

    According to Wade and Trim, the pond is going to need dredging because it has become muck filled and overgrown with trees and plants. The pond outlet to the Rouge River is not blocked.

    When the River Oaks subdivision was built the people in that subdivision took care of the pond; however, after the original owners left or passed away subsequent owners of homes in the subdivision did not have the same feelings toward the pond as the original owners did and thus we have the situation the pond is in today. This issue of who owns the pond and who has the responsibility to take care of it has been on-going for decades. I learned that as of last Tuesday it still can’t be confirmed as to who really owns the pond and that a title search is being undertaken.

    Henry Ford had an estate built there for a close friend and his wife that was called the Dahlinger Estate. What is now River Oaks subdivision was a (horse) racetrack that Henry Ford built for his friend’s wife because she loved riding. The pond was part of the racetrack. The pond was created by Henry Ford probably using one of the many spring like wells that were very prominent in that part of Dearborn and Dearborn Heights before they were developed.

    Because of the serious health issue I would not be waiting for the city or anyone else. I would be knocking on my neighbor’s doors and get everyone to ante up and start some serious clean up of that pond. I heard that the income level in this subdivision is too high to be approved for block grants for the pond clean up.

    In south Dearborn Heights where I live, we have a day every year for cleaning up the Ecorse Creek. People get down and dirty hauling debris out of the creek so the flow will increase and mosquitos can’t breed and our basements will stay dry. In southwest Dearborn Heights they have had several days this year where the residents get out and clean up their city parks. I personally don’t have any problems with using some of my tax dollars to help these people but they need to at least meet this obligation for the pond half way either by collecting money to have someone do the work for them or just roll up their sleeves like we do in the south end and get the job done ourselves.


  11. The Old Orchard Pond is how this body of water was labeled on the council minutes of July 14th.. I believe it is around the area of Greenfield and Ford Road, but not for sure. Would someone here tell us exactly where it is located and how many acres it is? Was this pond already there when the houses were built or was it created (retention or detention basin) to help drainage in this area so houses could be built so their streets and basements would not flood?

    At the council meeting of Tuesday, July 14th, city attorney, Mr. Miotke was supposed to look up who actually owns the pond. Has anyone heard the results of his search?

    I can understand that many residents who do not live near this pond do not want to pay to correct the situation, especially if the people living around it own it. I live in the southeast end of Dearborn Heights so this really doesn’t affect me. There was a severe rat and blight problem in the southwest end of Dearborn Heights that really didn’t affect me either. I am rallying for both causes because we must remember that we are a community of Dearborn Heights and not just a bunch of associations, neighborhoods or individual homes, we all need to support each other. The attitude of ” the problem isn’t in my area of the city so I don’t care” is exactly what this city administration counts on. United we stand and divided we fall”

    However, this matter of a stagnant pond is a serious health issue and one that cannot be ignored. Mosquitos carry deadly diseases and their source of breeding and habitation in this pond needs to be addressed.

    I did a little research on the subject and it sounds like aeration is the best solution. Water that is disturbed from a fountain like spray stops the mosquitos from laying their larvae. It would cost about $50,000.00 to buy and install one aerator. The number of aerators is determined by how big the pond is. Then you have to factor in the maintenance of this system.

    I am suggesting that the mowing of the grass around the pond could either by done by the residents (buy a used lawn tractor and take turns mowing the grass) or they could pay someone to do it. Cutting down grass and weeds would also cut down on the mosquitos. The pond’s outlet to the Rouge River needs to be inspected as it could be partially blocked which could impede the outflow and the rate of water exchange in the pond. This should be done by a professional as it would be tragic for a resident to be sucked into the drainage pipe and drown.

    If the residents own the pond I see no reason why they can’t be helped by the rest of us. The city pays for half the cost of installation and maintenance of the aeration system and the residents pay the other half.


  12. Where is pond located and what is wrong with it? I have had a pond for twenty years complete with pump and filter and it really maintains itself.


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