Detroit mulls taking Grosse Pointe Park to court over controversial blockade

Grosse Pointe Park Detroit border
On the Detroit side of the border.

Grosse Pointe Park’s decision to block a popular road at the border of Detroit with a farmer’s market may be a costly one.

A month after Motor City Muckraker revealed evidence that a new shed blocking Kercheval appears to have been built on Detroit property, Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration is considering whether legal action is warranted.

Detroit side of border. Photo by Michael Brouwer.
Detroit side of border. Photo by Michael Brouwer.

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Detroit Corporation Counsel Melvin Hollowell told the Free Press that the shed “forms a traffic hazard.”

“Also, once a driver reaches the shed, traffic is diverted across a private parking lot and through a two-way alley — part in Grosse Pointe and part in Detroit, but it’s barely wide enough for one vehicle. So we are reviewing our legal options to remove the hazard,” Hollowell said.
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Grosse Pointe Park blocked off the historic east-west street without ever consulting with Detroit – a decision that some Park council members now say they regret. The hotly contested issue drew the largest crowd in years to a Park council meeting this week as Grosse Pointe residents sounded off on the plan. Most opposed the blockade, saying it’s a symbol of division and intolerance.

Grosse Pointe Park attorney Dennis Levasseur said the Park is willing to work with Detroit on the dispute.

“If Detroit comes to us with any concerns, we’ll work with them in a collaborative manner,” Levasseur told the Free Press.

Grosse Pointe side of the farmer's market.
Grosse Pointe side of the farmer’s market.

But, he added: “Of course, we understand that Detroit has more pressing matters” and better uses for its “precious funds.”
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Mayor Duggan has declined to comment as the city investigates.

The dispute is based on a notch in the border that juts east at Kercheval. The border also cuts into an alley where traffic is being diverted.

To build on Detroit property, Grosse Pointe requires the city’s approval, which was never sought.

During the winter, Grosse Pointe Park occasionally blocked the same road with mounds of snow.

Grosse Pointe Park has closed off at least six roads at the border of Detroit near Alter, and some of the remaining streets are one-way.

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.