Abandoned Northville Psychiatric Hospital may soon open to public with trails

northville_12_fusedNot even the threat of $500 fines stop the trespassers.

The sprawling ruins of the Northville Psychiatric Hospital are increasingly popular to photographers, thrill seekers and vandals who are drawn to the numerous buildings still furnished with beds, a morgue, nurse stations, wheelchairs, books and artwork.

Although cops cited an average of two people a day last year for trespassing, police told us they were unable to stem the flow of people exploring the former state hospital complex on 7 Mile.

Now some township officials, including Township Manager Chip Snider, want to open the 350-acre site to the public and create biking and jogging trails. Volunteers have offered to help.

“Why deprive people of this beautiful, large area when it would be a great place to ride your bike or take a walk?” asked Donna Spitzer, a volunteer and supporter of the project. “People forget how lush this land is.”

Under the plan, which would need approval from the township board, the buildings would remain closed to the public. They are riddled with asbestos and are slated for demolition in 2015.

Last year, police cited more than 500 people for trespassing.

Check out photos of the abandoned buildings.

Got tips or suggestions? Contact Steve atsneavling@gmail.com.

Steve Neavling is an investigative journalist, a freelance reporter for Reuters and former city hall reporter for the Detroit Free Press. Living on the city’s east side, Neavling explores corruption andthe underbelly of an oft-misunderstood city.

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.