Mayor Duggan: ‘It’s obvious we can’t trust the Grosse Pointe Park leaders’

Grosse Pointe Farmer's market_739

When Grosse Pointe Park quietly blocked off a main road at the border of Detroit earlier this year, Mayor Mike Duggan took a decidedly diplomatic approach and quietly hammered out a deal with the suburban government to remove what turned out to be an illegal blockade.

But the mayor, who has fostered good relations so far with suburban leaders, bluntly criticized Grosse Pointe Park officials on Friday for missing a Nov. 30 deadline to remove the farmer’s market sheds that block Kercheval at Alter.

“It’s obvious we can’t trust the Grosse Pointe Park leaders,” Mayor Duggan told Fox 2. “They don’t mean what they say.”

Those fighting words came on the same day Grosse Pointe Park began to remove two smaller sheds. But the main one hasn’t moved, and Park officials continue to dodge questions about the blockade.

Mayor Duggan didn’t mince words.

“I’m tired of the lying and tired of the dishonesty of the Grosse Pointe Park leadership,” the mayor said. “They promised the sheds would be gone at the end of November, they promised yesterday that they would be gone today. I think at this point, we’re going to have to look at moving to the next step.”

Grosse Pointe Park officials have been deceptive about the intersection since last year. When we showed that Park crews were blocking the intersection with massive piles of snow last winter, officials dismissed rumors that the road would be blocked permanently. And then in June, crews blocked the street by erecting a farmer’s market without gaining the required approval from city council.

Residents who expressed outrage at public meetings were often brushed off, and their questions went unanswered.

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.

  • Donta Brooks

    Someone got shot in the face just one mile from Alter and Kercheval at Alter and Mack. GP was very smart to close this POS area off.

  • Anthony Rubens

    It is coming down today Kercheval is opening to traffic, the same day someone was shot in the face and killed less than a mile away near Mack and Alter.

  • Just drove by today and I didn’t see any sheds!

    • Harry Palmer

      I drove by on the way home from work Wednesday, they actually moved the sheds onto the lot that used to be the liquor store, Not sure if they’re moving them there to dismantle, or if that’s the new location?

  • RadioRon

    “Mayor Duggan has already begun cleaning up blight in the area, including razing long-abandoned houses. And that doesn’t change the fact that the sheds are clearly illegal.”
    Steve, can you please cite the addresses that have been cleaned up on Alter between Jefferson and Mack pursuant to the agreement between Detroit and GPP? And can you please also cite how the “sheds are clearly illegal? “

  • Patrick Griffith

    Is this your 15th article on this topic Steve?

    • thevillagemalcontent

      Sure wish the folks who are so upset about those sheds would just sell their houses or get out of their rentals in GPP and snap up some of the housing bargains immediately to the west (by one block) of Alter Rd. or on Mack Ave. They could make the neighborhoods nice, gentrify them, open their businesses there and hope the police would drive by once a week to see if they are still viable. But none of them are that dumb. Better to go to a suburb and tell the others how to live than help the ones in the city who can’t live as well how it could better for all.

  • maggiemay

    Instead of pointing fingers, Duggan needs to look in the mirror. Detroit hasn’t kept their part of the deal. I feel sorry for the residents on Wayburn who share an alley with Detroit. The blight is literally in their backyards. Maybe Steve needs to drive down the alley and see what these people are forced to live with. Detroit is not a good neighbor.

    • muckraker_steve

      Mayor Duggan has already begun cleaning up blight in the area, including razing long-abandoned houses. And that doesn’t change the fact that the sheds are clearly illegal.

      • maggiemay

        It’s my understanding that only 2 or 3 buildings have been razed. Also, the Deck Bar an abandoned eyesore is staying. Some beginning. If Detroit was a corporation they would be considered in default on the agreement as would GPP. Neither city has kept their end of the deal.

        • Detroiter

          The Deck Bar has been owned by the City of Grosse Pointe Park for around 10 years. It could be an attractive anchor for that intersection if only GPP wasn’t intent on demolishing it by neglect.

          • maggiemay

            If the bar is owned by GPP, why is Detroit blocking it’s removal?

          • Detroiter

            It is part of the Jefferson-Chalmers local historic district. Local historic districts have rules that are like zoning regulations – the building can’t be demolished without the permission of the Detroit Historic District Commission, based on U.S. Secretary of the Interior standards regarding historic properties. Hard to say why GPP is so resistant to redeveloping the building… they said they want to replace it with a “pocket park” which seems like a euphemism for vacant lot. Not sure how that helps improve the neighborhood for GPP or Detroit.

          • maggiemay

            The Jefferson-Chalmers district is filled with abandoned, crumbling buildings and has been for years despite sporadic attempts to improve it. Driving down Jefferson, it looks like a war zone and has one of the highest crime rates in the city. How could a park not be an improvement?

          • RadioRon

            GPP bought the Deck Bar the party store with the plan of tearing them down and building a new bus turn around for DDOT and then swapping property for the current turn around at Wayburn. The Wayburn property would be added to other city property at Jefferson and Maryland for development. GPP had verbal agreement from DDOT. Demo permits we’re obtained from Detroit and the building was remediated and scrapped for demo. The demo company erected fences on a Friday morning and Friday afternoon the permit was pulled at the direction of the Historic Commission for a review of its historic status. While the structure is fairly sound structurally, it is an empty shell and GPP has been unable to find a buyer with the structure in its current state.

          • maggiemay

            Because Detroit has decided it is historical. GPP says it’s too far gone to be restored and wants to tear it down and develop the corner to benefit both cities, but Detroit is blocking this. It wasn’t deemed historical when GPP bought it in 2004, but apparently Detroit changed their minds.

          • maggiemay

            When GPP bought the Deck Bar is was not deemed historic by the city of Detroit. Now it is and Detroit will not allow it to be torn down.

      • MickinDetroit

        but per Duggan’s agreement, it was all to be completed by November. So he’s “lying” too.

        Is it really so hard to actually read the agreement?

        Also, there is nothing “illegal” about the sheds placement. Stop saying that, you should at least attempt to hide your bias.

      • Steve, do you know which specific properties have been de-blighted since the agreement has been signed?

      • Harry Palmer

        Maybe GPP is waiting till Duggan makes Alter Rd look like a mini replica of Big Beaver, complete with a Somerset mall…You would think that as a “good faith” gesture to the new Duggan administration and Detroit coming out of bankruptcy, GPP would want to look like they’re trying to be a good “neighbor” in helping Detroit clean it’s house.
        Or at least not look dick-ish.
        Maybe GPP should state what they consider to be sufficient “progress”, before they take down their little dime store framers market…

    • maggiemay

      Also, interesting to note that the streets in Palmer Woods were blocked when Duggan became mayor. Coincidence?

      • Harry Palmer

        If Palmer Park was a majority white suburb, and not a majority Black neighborhood within the city, you’re analogy would work.
        Doesn’t really work here.

        • maggiemay

          It works because it’s another upper class neighborhood surrounded by crime. Doesn’t matter if they’re Black or White, they’re both trying to preserve their neighborhood. Just saying perhaps it became more important in Palmer Woods when Duggan moved there from Livonia. I don’t see how he can point fingers at GPP when his neighborhood did the same thing.

  • bebow

    “Every neighborhood has a future,” said Duggan. Was that the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

    • disqus_vhLozcit3f

      That was initially the title of a presentation that was originally ‘Every Neighborhood Has A Future?’ Early on in the campaign, the Mayor opted to make that his campaign slogan in the form of a statement rather than a query. Yes, every neighborhood has a future, it’s just not that it’s going to be what that area perhaps historically has been. I know that there’s a lot of passion and emotion surrounding this topic, but the fact of the matter is that as the delivery of city services improves, and I think we have the initial indications that they indeed are, we’ll get to a point where even the historically neglected areas outside of downtown/midtown will start to see organic and sustainable growth occur. It’s going to be messy, and it’s not going to be either even or equitable all the time, but growth will do more for the neighborhoods than anything we’ve seen in the past half century. If you’re incredulous, I don’t blame you. There’s a difference between talking about growth and its intended effects, and actually seeing it. To date, we haven’t seen a whole lot of it outside downtown/midtown. But, soon, I think we will.

      • maggiemay

        Steve, drive out Gratiot to the east side and drive out Grand River to the west side and look at the scope of the ruin in the city. I can’t believe I’ll see any great change in my lifetime. Hope I’m wrong.

        • Boe Seph

          Going after the small guy who lives in the city with a home is a lot easier than going after a big guy with commercial property that is waiting for the big pay day and lives outside of the city.

      • bebow

        My expectations are very simple:

        1. Remove the blight.

        2. Remove the dopeman and his DPD enablers.

        • disqus_vhLozcit3f

          I agree with Bebow.

          • bebow

            Then, show me you agree by taking the following action:

            1. Resume demolition activity in my neighborhood, and hold those suburban contractors accountable for completing the work by withholding payment and/or terminating agreements.

            2. Compel corrupt and/or incompetent members of the DPD to act on information provided or face termination.

            You is or you ain’t. No one is expecting the colonials to wait in excess of 8 years for trickle down basic services to arrive, so why expect that of me? My neighborhood wasn’t “historically neglected” until the colonial invasion began.