While driving east on Michigan Avenue through Canton, Michigan, headed towards Detroit, one will see a large golf ball-like structure that is sure to get the "What's that?" question from any child sitting in the back seat. Nestled just behind the trees on the northeast corner of the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Geddes Road is a unique structure that will leave adults pondering their child's question.
This structure is one of only three long-range Air Route Surveillance Radar facilities in the state of Michigan. This particular facility is part of the Joint Surveillance System operated and maintained by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in concert with the United States Air Force (USAF).
The radar is a fully incorporated 3D radar system that is generally left unmanned except for when being serviced by maintenance crews. With a range of approximately 250 miles, this facility is a high performance radar tracking structure that sits right in the backyard of many businesses and residences in Canton. My bank at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Geddes Road is only about 600 feet from this facility, or approximately the length of two football fields away.
From a distance, this structure has the appearance of being a very large white ball. As one gets closer, one can begin to see a tapestry of shapes emerge on the outside shell of the sphere. These shapes closely resemble the dimples on a golf ball.
Attempts to get interviews at the facility were thwarted by signs posted at the outside of the fenced-in perimeter that clearly state that trespassing is illegal and that violators would be prosecuted. In addition to the no-trespassing signs, there are additional signs referring to the property being under the protection of the Homeland Security Act.