Dozens of angry residents demanded answers from the Grosse Pointe Park City Council on Monday for quietly building a new farmer’s market that blocks off a historic east-west route at the border of Detroit on Kercheval near Alter.
It was the largest crowd to attend a Grosse Pointe Park council meeting in years, officials said.
“I moved here because it was progressive,” one resident told council members. “And this is very anti-progressive and makes me feel like I made a huge mistake about where I decided to live.”
Some Detroiters and even Grosse Pointe residents are calling for a boycott of Park businesses.
“We hear Grosse Pointe loud and clear: They don’t want us hear,” Bob Collins, who lives near the border in Detroit, said. “So we’ll spend our money in Detroit.”
Monday’s meeting drew Grosse Pointers who expressed outrage that their community would block the sixth road along Detroit’s border at Alter, saying it sends a message that the community is intolerant.
“Many of us young professionals who recently chose GPP as the place we want to raise our families expressed a sense of embarrassment that our new city has chosen to erect a symbol that tells Detroiters they’re not welcome,” Grosse Pointe resident Graig Donnelly.
Some council members acknowledged they handled the closure poorly and pledged to involve residents next time.
Mayor Mike Duggan has been largely quiet about the controversy but said he doesn’t like that Detroit was never consulted about the plan. The city is still investigating whether the Grosse Pointe Park built the farmer’s market on land that belongs to Detroit because of an anomaly on historic maps.
During the winter, Grosse Pointe Park occasionally blocked the same road with mounds of snow.
The road closure comes at a time when the community is still trying to overcome a police scandal in which white officers were humiliating a mentally impaired black man.
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.