(WXYZ) — A major road connecting Detroit to a Wayne County suburb is back open in both directions after years of controversy. The Grosse Pointe Park Police Department said Kercheval will open in both directions from the city to Detroit.
Last month, both cities were working out a deal to remove a physical barrier that separated them after the sale of a parcel of land. Previously, only one lane of traffic was open with traffic going from Detroit into Grosse Pointe Park.
The barrier at the intersection of Kercheval Ave. and Alter Road is symbolic according to Detroit and removing it would end long-simmering racial tensions between the wealthier and majority-white city of Grosse Pointe Park and majority-black Detroit.
“Wasn’t the most welcoming, you weren’t really sure if it was open to traffic, was it not open for traffic?” says District 4 manager Letty Azar. “That visual barrier is gone, that physical barrier is gone, but it was also an emotional barrier too.”
In 2014, Grosse Pointe Park began closing off vehicle traffic at the intersection by erecting physical structures, starting with a large barn before settling on large planters, with a stated goal of encouraging foot traffic among Kercheval Avenue businesses.
“Detroit will support these proposed developments on the city border as long as Kercheval remains open to two-way traffic,” the city said in a post online.
“It’s nice that they are doing this, back then you couldn’t come over here but now you can," says Detroit resident Marshall Thomas. “Black folks getting along with the white folks and every other other color of races. It’s real good now, it’s starting to pick up more and I think that’s very beautiful.”
“I love it. I think it’s a power move. I think it’s a good idea for everybody," says Grosse Pointe Park resident Larry Richards. “Everyone is fleeting to Detroit, it’s a new Mecca. Real estate is going up. I’m proud of it.”
Both cities would have the option to temporarily close Kercheval for special events and public programming on weekends annually between June 1 and September 30, if the proposal passes.