Did Mostly-White Affluent Suburb Close Off Street To Keep Detroiters Out?
GROSSE POINTE PARK (WWJ) – A new street closure is creating controversy along the Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park border.
Grosse Pointe Park is building a concrete square for a new farmers market in the middle of Kercheval Avenue at Alter Road, a symbolic dividing line between the cities, so that traffic will no longer be able to drive straight through the east-west route.
The construction has caused many nearby residents to question whether Grosse Pointe Park — an affluent, predominantly white community — designed the square with the intention of keeping residents of bankrupt Detroit out of the suburbs.
“Well why else would they do it? You tell me,” Charleston, a life-long Detroiter, told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas. “I mean, it was straight through and now all of a sudden it’s cut off and you’ve got to go around, you’ve got to go back somehow.”
Grosse Pointe Park officials say the plan was not designed in any way to keep Detroiters out of their community. Instead, they said the plan was drawn up to increase the walkability of the area and create a pedestrian mall with new retail, dining and entertainment options. The goal, they said, is to attract young professionals to the community.
Officials also pointed out that their plan would reroute Kercheval Avenue traffic through a roundabout, and provide access to Alter Road through an alley.