More bad news for downtown Detroit coffee shop relying on fire hydrant for water

Wurlitzer DWSD
DWSD worker installs a meter on a fire hydrant that provides water to 1515 Broadway.

It’s bad enough that Chris Jaszczak depends on a crudely rigged fire hydrant to provide water to his downtown coffee shop and black box theater.

Jaszczak wasn’t prepared to learn this weekend that the city of Detroit won’t be repairing the water line behind his shop, 1515 Broadway, just a day after Detroit Corporation Counsel Butch Hollowell publicly pledged the city would.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Jaszczak said, nearly in tears.

1515 Broadway_8845
Chris Jaszczak, owner of 1515 Broadway

Jaszczak, who has owned 1515 Broadway for more than 25 years, was hopeful the city would soon repair the line after relying on the fire hydrant for three months. The city insisted it wouldn’t send workers to fix the water line because of the dangers of falling bricks from the chronically dangerous Wurlitzer high-rise next door.

On the day we published a story about Jaszczak relying on the hydrant, the city issued a press release saying the water line would be repaired after the Wurlitzer owners – Wayne County Circuit Judge Daphne Mean Curtis and her attorney husband Paul Curtis – removed the bricks within an expected two-week timeframe.

“Once the remediation work is completed and the site is safe, the Department of Water & Sewerage will make the necessary water main repairs and restore proper service to the businesses on Broadway,” Hollowell said.

Wurlitzer building

But as I was interviewing Jaszczak the next evening, we spotted a city worker installing a meter on the fire hydrant. Jaszczak was informed that the city was abandoning the broken water line and would eventually build a new one, so the coffee shop and theater will be forced to depend on water from the fire hydrant this winter.

Jaszczak worries that the narrow hoses connecting the fire hydrant to his shop will freeze.

In the meantime, the Wurlitzer owners have yet to remove a single dangling brick. The wall is buckling and has already torn a hole in Jaszczak’s roof, dangerously close to where his son was sleeping.

Mayor Mike Duggan’s spokesman, John Roach, said DWSD wasn’t sure where or when the new line will be built. Roach hasn’t responded yet to questions about why the city’s attorney said the line would be repaired if it wasn’t.

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.

  • Black Junior

    I’ve known Chris for quite a long time & I must say that this is truly crazy. As much as I love my city how Chris is being treated is totally nuts…… I bet if this was a Rock Financial or Bedrock Group Building the DWSD would be fixing the issue immediately!!!!!

    • Precisely. This is selection and extermination being executed through the take over of our government. We have been converted to a corporatocracy, under which monopolistic growth plows under independence. Yes we have to bring injunctive relief asap.

  • MM

    Ficano has done it again. The bundle of more than 6K properties for 3.1 million dollars takes the opportunity for the average citizen to gain home ownership right out of their hands. There should be a limit on bundles and no one person should be able to purchase thousands of properties. Let us block this before the close of the Wayne County Auction. What do you think?

  • Bluelionman England

    Surely he does not have to pay city taxes/rates if he’s not getting the services and surely the city has the power to make any building safe and charge the owners if they don’t do it themselves?

    There must be protocol for things like this why is it not being pursued?

    • bebow

      Many residents fall into the “unselected” category, and we aren’t considered worthy of receiving services.

  • So what’s next? If a sewer line on a street with only 4 or 5 occupied homes collapses will they bring in Porta-Johns rather than fix the line?

    • In the name of the financial outlook of Detroit, yes they would. This is the takeover of Detroit, turning it into a corpoRATocracy.

  • “…we spotted a city worker installing a meter on the fire hydrant…”


    You have to be kidding me.

    • Rodger RevRynd

      I wouldn’t pay my water bill until my normal water service was returned, not some cluster fuck of a fire hydrant contraption.

      • Dude, you think that’s going to change their mind? They just put a water meter on a fire hydrant and ran a “line” under some cold patch. Pretty sure they’ll just come by and pull the line, because why not? They’re already tipping the ghetto scales.

        A water meter on a fire hydrant? It’s not like the guy is filling swimming pools. It’s a coffee shop….

  • bebow

    This is the “selection” process spreading. No DWSD service for you. No DPD service for you. No DFD and EMS service for you. Let’s have the one who ordered a meter installed on that hose front and center for a little Q&A. The morally depraved actor responsible should be removed from the public payroll immediately. What’s worse? A morally depraved street criminal or a morally depraved public servant? Decent people shouldn’t relocate to Detroit, because people like us have to spend far too much time, energy, and money fighting off the depraved from all directions. It’s not a fight worth having.

    • Unless you hold these charlatan’s feet to the fire, we’ll never succeed. I think it’s a fight worth fighting.

      I’d also point out that DPW is probably right in this specific case. The owner of 1515 should sue the LLC who owns the Wurlitzer.

      • bebow

        Refusing the man a connection to the water supply, once the initial falling bricks objection is eliminated, is acceptable?

        • No, but you can’t knowingly put workers in harm’s way, either. What do you do? You sue the owner of the building.

          • frozeninthesnow

            Sueing a judge and a lawyer…sounds like a total nightmare.

          • bebow

            GP, read again. He won’t be getting a connection even after the building is secured.

          • I saw that, and don’t understand that position, but I can certainly understand not doing it currently.