Grosse Pointe Park to remove controversial blockade at Detroit border

Crews remove the controversial blockade at the border of Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park. Photo courtesy of Courtney Jo-Dempsey Burkett.
Crews remove the controversial blockade at the border of Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park. Photo courtesy of Courtney Jo-Dempsey Burkett.

Update: Mayor Duggan launched harsh criticism at Grosse Pointe Park officials. 

Grosse Pointe Park is moving the controversial sheds that have blocked off a main road at the border of Detroit all summer following an emergency session with the GPP City Council today.

The news comes just four days after we revealed that the suburban community failed to hold up its end of a deal to remove what some considered an offensive barrier to keep out Detroiters. Detroit, in return, is removing blighted buildings and cleaning up debris and trash along the border of Kercheval and Alter, where the farmer’s market sheds were erected.

The deadline to remove the sheds was the end of November.

Grosse Pointe Park workers were removing the sheds at 2 p.m., with plans to reopen traffic on northbound Kercheval. There are no current plans to reopen the southbound lane.

The Park’s council didn’t vote on taking action today but most members expressed a desire to see the sheds come down. Since there was already an agreement to remove the sheds, council approval wasn’t needed.
Detroit Corporation Counsel Melvin “Butch” Hollowell
Detroit Corporation Counsel Melvin “Butch” Hollowell

“We have been working cooperatively with the city of Grosse Pointe Park to reach a resolution on this issue,” Detroit Corporation Counsel Melvin “Butch” Hollowell said in a statement. “We are to pleased to see that significant progress is being made on the relocation of the sheds as the city of Detroit is making progress in its commitment to remove blight in the area.”

The blockade was illegal because a portion of it was built on Detroit’s property, and the GPP City Council never voted on the erecting the shed.

As part of the deal reached with Mayor Duggan earlier this year to avoid legal action, Grosse Pointe Park officials agreed to remove the sheds in exchange for Detroit eradicating blight along the border.

But on Wednesday, Detroit’s Historic District Commission rejected a plan to knock down the abandoned Deck Bar at 14901 E. Jefferson.

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.