Grosse Pointe Park builds wall of snow on busy road at border with Detroit


A main road leading from Detroit to Grosse Pointe Park has been blocked off this winter by mounds of snow – an image that recalls the blockades built to keep out black Detroiters a half century ago.

Grosse Pointe Park is dumping excess snow on Kercheval at the border of Detroit, occasionally blocking access to the suburban community’s entertainment district.

“It’s distasteful; I couldn’t believe it when I saw it,” Francis Moore, who lives in Detroit near the border, told me.

But Grosse Pointe officials said the mound of snow was placed there because the road was already blocked off due to a broken water main beneath Kercheval near Alter. Despite blocking off the street again a few days ago, city officials said Kercheval has been reopened, and it’s passable when there isn’t a mound of snow in the way.

The snow mound also happens to be where developer David Cotton wanted to block off Kercvheval to construct a building and spruce up the retail area in Grosse Pointe Park.

Whatever the case, the mound of snow comes at a sensitive time for Grosse Pointe Park, where the police department reached a reform agreement Wednesday after officers were humiliating a mentally impaired black man.

Grosse Pointe Park builds a wall of mammoth potted plants at Detroit’s border

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.

  • Rita Bailey

    I lived there in the 80’s and they built cul de sacs back then !!

  • Mike

    Wow, grossly exaggerated a mound of snow and then comparing it to blockades during the riots? No wonder the Detroit Free Press Fired you. Seems like writing for some obscure “news” website is going really well for you Steven.

  • WavyDave

    A mountain is being made of this snow hill.

  • fed up

    Who cares lets b real and stop being cowards if someone put a wall of snow between heaven and hell we would all praise it .open ur eyes and see people one city cares one dont block off the garbage the hate the murder the drugs call it what it is bottom line who wants that around the corner .

  • David

    To Grosse Pointe’s defense, there are neighborhoods within the city of Detroit that do the same thing to keep the “riff raff” out. Palmer Woods, Sherwood Forest, developing neighborhoods off E. Jefferson, all do things to prevent outsiders from coming in.

    • pat odoyle

      Harbor whats it called on jefferson, then there is the high rise by connor, and there is the exclusive old mansions and new mansions that were 1.4 million bucks circa 2000 in there also. Gated, with guards.

      You know, black guards to keep white people out.

  • Bobby Layne Carter

    I have lived in this neighborhood since my adolescence and “Yes” it can easily assumed that for whatever reason Grosse Pointe does not welcome African Americans/Blacks or any truly diverse community. I can remember when the percentage of blacks was Regular printed in the community news letter. I was eight years old and told I couldn’t play in a park located on Kercheval because I wasn’t a resident. Quote statistics on crime all you want, Bob didn’t live in Detroit… He left his wife there!

  • Rebecca Eatmon

    Seams like a good idea to me.

  • emudrummer

    People in Detroit would have no idea what it means to clear snow since their city is so painfully unable to properly remove their own. Drive on a Detroit road and you will see what I mean.

  • Andy Sant

    Reading the comments on here, I can infer that those who think the snow pile is “no big deal” are residents of Grosse Pointe.
    I work in a couple jobs between the two cities and take Kercheval on occasion.
    Before the snow pile, like Steve said, there was an unnecessarily large road blockage. Call it a water main break or whatever, it was a bit extensive to block the entire road. Currently, there is a sink hole on Jefferson and Randolf, and it is still possible to drive on both roads.
    I find it kind of funny how the blockage on Kercheval was conveniently located right near the cusp of Detroit and Grosse Pointe, and specifically past the retail area. How convenient is it that they decide to pile snow there as well? Regardless of how long the pile was there, this seems pretty underhanded.
    Grosse Pointe has always been a primarily conservative city and generally unwelcoming to outsiders. I can easily image that this incident could be part of the city’s perpetuating unwelcoming attitude, but it very well might be a coincidence.
    Thank you for the article, Steve.

  • L.a. Lewis

    Great piece of journalism, Steve, despite what the detractors may claim.

  • Telitha Fuller -Clements

    Idiots, wake up! It is a race thing, it has always been. I like to know who was the idiot that separated the city in the first place. I see money is power too. #senseless trying to get your point across to ignorant people. If u haven’t experienced it you wouldn’t know. # loss generation then and now.
    Whether this situation is race related or not do understand racism is well ALIVE!

    • pat odoyle

      No one separated the city. GP came about as a vacation spot for wealthy people to get out of the city and go to the country and have a breeze and get away from 1890s stinky down town pollution etc.

      Detroit border was not near GP when GP came to be. Detroit, evil vile, detroit, annexed a dozen towns, and crept up to the border of GP.

      Talk about ignorant.

    • pat odoyle

      Its snow related. What happens when the snow melts?

      Holy hell you people are short sighted.

  • Don

    “A main road leading from Detroit to Grosse Pointe Park has been blocked off this winter by mounds of snow.”

    This winter or for a few hours for snow removal? What about all the other roads in and out?

    You are scum.

  • Gorgio

    Thanks for the bullshit story lib

  • Diana b.

    What is wrong with a little snowball fight wall?

  • Sorry GP-ers, but its not just a “perception” – the racism is real. How many of the side streets (and not every other!) are one -way the wrong way if you are coming from Detroit? And I attended a school board meeting about a year ago where the issue of opening up the district to Detroit students (who could afford to pay the extra $3000 per year to attend GP Schools) was “discussed” and I thought I had fallen back in time to Birmingham, Alabama in the 1950’s. Why has it suddenly become important for white high school students to attend GP South instead of GP North (which is shared with all those black Harper Woods students). I’m sure it’s not everyone, but you can’t pretend it ain’t there.

    • Ricky Bobby

      “How many of the side streets (and not every other!) are one -way the wrong way if you are coming from Detroit”

      Please indulge us with these “one way streets” that are blocking entrance to the city.

      Appears to me Whittier is the only one I can come up with. But Vernor is one way against entering Detroit.

  • Lee Sprague

    That is going to make it difficult to throw a bag of corn over.

  • ReaganLogan

    Saugatuck also did this same thing this past week, they do this to put the snow into one place and then scoop it up to remove it. that is all

  • Sean

    They have road blocks up (the 3-foot tall concrete kind) on some of the side streets when there’s no snow, too. I think they should just build a wall and get it over with. Which do you thinks better, “Iron Curtain: Part 2” or the “Detroit Wall”?

  • Warren McAlpine

    Don’t black folks live in Grosse Pointe Park and elsewhere throughout the Pointes? Ijs

    • pat odoyle

      Yep. Many of the pointes are now 10-12% black. Which is diverse by many peoples standards. Now Detroit is different, its more black then DC or NO. The problem is detroit blacks grow up around other black folks and think there are way more blacks then really exist. This is a real psychological thing. Blacks basically exist in 20 big cities. And thats it.

      The Grosse Pointes basically now mirror the demographics of the country in terms of blacks as a percent of the population. Not a ton of latin folks, but trust me, i have latin friends that have been in GP since the early 1950s (well their dads and grandpas).

  • Nancy Leggett Tuuri

    go away motor city muckraker! quit trying to incite a riot!

  • Cynthia Johnson

    I’m supposed to be politically correct in what I say, since after all I am a candidate for State Representative, House District #5. Ok….I don’t know how else to say…That’s F’d UP!!

    • Ballsy Terri

      We needs folks like you to get involved and keep this things from happening. I wish you was running in West Side

    • Ricky Bobby

      No, it’s not really the F’d UP. And it’s not that much of a detour.

  • Jeff

    Childish, and a huge liability issue blocking a throughfare in the event of Fire or Medical emergency. Until we can find educated and sane people to run for office, and get elected, this is the new ‘status quo’!

    • pat odoyle

      Is this a joke? You are allowed to make a dead end anywhere you want. There are culdesacs dead ends, streets that end into a park.

      Also who is going in that direction for medical, you go to st johns which is on mack. You turn left, head down a couple hundred yards, and then no streets are blocked.

      LOL this has to be a joke.

  • Chace Wakefield

    This mound of snow was there about a month and a half ago (Jan 8) for about a day. This is pretty weak journalism. Drive through there today. No snow whatsoever. The conspiracy theories are rediculous.

    • Abigail Shah

      That mound of snow was removed yesterday. That’s not true.

    • DetroitMixtape

      Actually, that mound of snow has been there off and on for weeks. I three separate occasions a few weeks apart I tried to drive up Kercheval to GPP. It’s hugely inconvenient when what you need is just on the other side of the wall. I also don’t think being sensitive to historical context is race-baiting, but that’s just me.

      • Chace Wakefield

        Try going down one block and turning. Not that far out of the way

      • Beth

        Inconvenience does not equal racism.

    • pat odoyle

      We will have equality the day detroit is judged this harshly.

      Until then, i am being oppressed.

  • Beth

    Way to race-bait, Steve!! We need more of that in this world! Good job!

    • I appreciate your contribution to the ongoing and ever-evolving discussion.

      • Beth

        Yeah, it’s no problem! I just thought someone needed to point out that the author seems to be creating racial tension where it does not exist. Happy to help.

      • Don’t get snippy when you get called out for it. If you’re going to do it, you can’t let the haters (like me) bother you.

        This is clearly race baiting, especially in the context you’ve have presented it in. It was clearly intentional to present this temporary snow pile in the context of de facto segregation.

        You got called out for trying to make a mountain out of molehill. Deal with it.

  • PDB

    Hmmm, wasn’t the last murder in GP committed by one of your self-important, sex master residents who had his sex slave dump his wife’s dead body in Detroit. I highly doubt this snow mound as built to keep Detroit residents out, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

  • disqus_yPeLaK0cQx

    This article is pointless. I live a few houses away from this mound of snow. My observation of it is very different than was is stated in this article. The mound of snow was there for a couple of hours as city crews did a very thorough job of cleaning up excess snow after a snowstorm. I remember this clearly because they started early in the morning and were finished by the afternoon. The mound of snow actually blocked off kercheval and wayburn, which is grosse pointe. I also have seen this happen one other time this winter after a snowstorm. Where should they put all the snow? The first time I saw this I was headed out to get coffee and was concerned that they would just leave it there making it impossible to get to my wayburn residence from kercheval. But by the time I got back it (snow mound) was magically gone. This is not an issue of keeping detroiters out, this is a snow issue and the last time I checked we live in michigan and we all know it snows here.

    • Derek Kaiser

      I guess this “journalist” is better at cowering behind a computer screen then standing by the words in his article and replying to locals comments. If your gonna write something have the balls to back it up and defend it.

    • Carol Hackleman

      If Muckraking is fun, then take a look at this example of street closings just around the corner in Detroit! For over a decade now, eastbound Essex has been the ONLY street into Victoria Park off of Dickerson.

  • I can only laugh at this madness. Thank God I left Detroit. And I have family in Grosse Pointe and their black daughters attend Grosse Pointe schools and they always have stories about the blatant racism they deal with. SMH…

    • bdcanuck

      I didn’t know you left… well I did, but then I thought when you came back you were back…

  • Stevo

    yeah considering there’s more than one road into the city, this is kinda dumb, i saw walls like this in parking lots too, but i didn’t assume whitess were trying to separate themselves from blacks in the parking lot.

  • Derek Kaiser

    I live at Maryland and Kercheval in the Park. That mound you’re talking about 1 out 5 entrances from mack to Jefferson into the Park from Alter. so how is blocking 1 entrance made of snow really gonna stop someone. stop with the BS and write about some real issues. All your trying to do is stir up the racial tension and make people feel bad about wanting to be safe.

  • Em

    No, Steve. “At least one police officer humiliating a homeless person”
    is not “context”. It’s selectively inserting irrelevant information in
    an attempt to stereotype Grosse Pointe based on the actions of “at least
    one officer”. It basically amounts of anecdotal evidence.

    If you
    actually wanted to place this into context, it would read something
    like, “This mound of snow comes at a time where Detroit experienced 333
    criminal homicides last year alone, compared to Grosse Pointe’s first
    murder last year in the last decade.”

    • muckraker_steve

      So you are in favor of the wall because of the murders?

      • Em

        There isn’t a wall. But if I lived in Grosse Pointe, I would be in favor of a wall because of the murders, rapes, muggings, arson, etc.

        • Ella

          Then go live in a dictatorship.

        • PDB

          Em, the last murder in GP was committed by one of their own…a self-important, sex master residents who had his sex slave dump his wife’s dead body in Detroit. I highly doubt this snow mound as built to keep Detroit residents out, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

  • John

    You feel the need to bring up police officers hassling a black man when discussing a mound of snow for what reason? Get a life, Steve. You’re a horrible excuse for a “journalist.”

    • muckraker_steve

      Context, John. Context.

      • jmusa

        Call them out! Those G.P.P. are a nasty bunch!

      • jmusa

        Call them out! Those G.P.P. are a nasty bunch!

  • Tammy Barbour

    For those who attack Steve Neavling about getting the facts right, please re-read the story. He asked a question then spoke about perceptions. He quoted the perception of a Detroiter on the other side. Whether you like it or not, there is a perception that black people are not wanted in Grosse Pointe Park. The perception comes from past events and also rumors. When we manage our brand, be that our resume, our product, our name, or our community, we have to manage perceptions as well. For what it’s worth, both Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park could use some new marketing in terms of both the perception and reality of how residents behave towards one another and their neighbors. IJS.

    • Derek Kaiser

      You need to re-read it. no where there does he “ask questions”. the entire article is an implication that the mound is there to keep out black detroiters.

  • Dean Siewert

    How do you know it was Grosse Point that build the wall? Maybe it was the Detroit plow trucks.

  • Gregory Watson

    Steve, relative to the construction of the walls-of-separation, I’m pretty sure that took place in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s rather than during the 1960’s. (Especially Goethe and Alter, Windmill Point and Alter, as well as Wayburn and Mack).

    • javierjuanmanuel

      ok those i am familar with. That has nothing to do with race, unless someone thinks only blacks live in detroit, and only blacks commit smash and grab crimes.

      The point of the streets that run into fox creek is to make smash and grab guys have to go to mack or three mile. You are steering your prey to two traps, and you know they have to go there. They can’t just drive three blocks into grosse pointe, muscle open a corner homes garage, and steal 3 bikes, a lawn mower, and a snow blower, get in the van and drive a couple hundred yards back to detroit.

      This is only racial if the person saying it think s only blacks do this, and in particular only blacks from detroit.

      Its a detroit thing, as when they get to detroit nothing happens. There were black people north of 8 mile when they made these streets dead ends. Its just the north of 8 mile blacks from harper woods, east pointe, roseville, warren etc did not live in lawless communities.

      This is not racist, its the most minor risk mitigation to put up a couple thousand dollars of cement, and make it not each to blast over the border to detroit.

      You can see the same thing happening in harper woods right now. Harper woods i think is half black. Yet the stores on the harper woods side of kelly, are constantly victims to smash and grabs and stick up men from over the border. No race involved.

      The resale shop, had to move to exoctic super exclusive east pointe (also half black) to 9 mile.

      How does moving from 7 mile to 9 mile make such a difference ? Because across the street from 9 mile store is not detroit border.

      This is fact. Steve, nor any race baiter can refute this.

      • muckraker_steve

        Javier, I respect your opinion on this issue. Just please refrain from name-calling. We’re trying to keep the dialogue civil. We’re all adults.

    • That’s a great point. There were walls in the ’60s, just after the famous court case exposed the Pointes for the point system. But like you said, the walls were more prevalent in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Thanks for the comment.

  • Gregory Watson

    Neal, relative to the construction of the walls-of-separation, I’m pretty sure that took place in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s rather than during the 1960’s. (Especially Goethe and Alter, Windmill Point and Alter, as well as Wayburn and Mack).

  • Scott Held

    The mound of snow was removed Wednesday and Kercheval, save a section near Wayburn is passable now. The road had been closed to through traffic since the fall and the snow mound had been there since the first big snowfall several weeks ago.
    I’d expect this kind of hysterical connecting of dots on DetroitYes.

  • javierjuanmanuel

    Neal please stop the pandering. This sounds like its personal. How the hell does a wall keep out a race? Now or the one you reference before my time, in the 60s. I can only assume you mean during the riots ? Your objection sounds like you support peoples homes being looted, people raped, people shot, cars torched etc. You left out the info, so i have to assume because you said 60s, this event is riot related.

    Were barricades in detroit during the riots race based ?

    This sort of thing if you bring it up, needs some substance behind it. Explain in detail how this works.

    This is not communist east germany, there is not an actual wall around the city, with armed guards, and guards with dogs.

    You can get to detroit on jefferson or mack. Even if they had armed guards at every side street from mack to jefferson, THAT cannot keep anyone in or out. Something like 40-50,000 cars per day drive on mack and jefferson. Even if there was a wall all the way to nine mile around all the pointes, any black dude could drive to 9 mile then double back. This is insanity!

    Ohh and there is the minor detail of many of the pointes are now more then 10% black.

    You can do good work, this is below you.

    • Marc Wigle

      Who’s Neal??!!

    • Why is that the snow removal practices of GPP put under such scrutiny?

      This mound of snow is deposited there and trucked off. This is what municipalities do and why we pay taxes. The other day there was a mound of snow at Lakepointe and Kercheval. I didn’t polish my cross and nail myself to it in front of city hall, so why are you?

      Seriously, it’s a mound of snow, not some ice wall patrolled by the Night’s Watch. Get a grip.