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Groundbreaking for Border Patrol station set for Saturday


February 2, 2007

BY ZLATI MEYER

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection is to break ground Saturday in Gibraltar for a new Border Patrol station.

The 16,000-square-foot facility will be built to accommodate up to 70 agents who monitor that segment of the U.S.-Canada border for illegal entry. The station will replace an existing one in Trenton, which is smaller and farther from the water.

There are four stations in Michigan -- in Trenton, downtown Detroit, Sault Ste. Marie and Port Huron -- that oversee 863 miles of international water boundary, according to spokesman Kurstan Rosberg.

"The Border Patrol is expanding quite a bit nationwide," he said, adding that the government is expected to hire another 6,000 agents, some of whom will be assigned to the Detroit sector.

More than 100 agents work in the Michigan stations, but Rosberg would not say how many would be assigned to the new station, to be built on the southeast corner of Jefferson and Gibraltar.

"If you look at all the stations, they've been here for quite some time," he said. "The Trenton station and the Port Huron station were built as four-man stations. They're very small. They're the size of a small ranch house."

Gibraltar resident Julie McKenzie said she has questions about the level and type of activity that will take place at the facility.

"Do they hold people there or do they just get their vans and go? There's a small-town feel here," said McKenzie, 52. "We already have semi-trucks here. They're noisy with huge puffs of smoke. There's already a lot of traffic."

Contact ZLATI MEYER at 248-351-3291 or meyer@freepress.com.

Copyright 2006 Detroit Free Press Inc.