Push to stop another physical barrier from being built between Grosse Pointe Park and Detroit

Posted at 5:52 PM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 18:42:16-04

(WXYZ) — If you drive along the border of Grosse Pointe Park and Detroit you might notice barriers. There are walls built right in the middle of a road at Brooks and Alter. Walkways along Mack block traffic from turning onto Wayburn.

Related: Detroit, Grosse Pointe Park working out deal to remove controversial physical barrier between cities with sale of land
“There are about 10 of them over the border between Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park,” said Graig Donnelly.

Donnelly and other protesters brought a bridge to Wayburn and Mack to send a message about those barriers on Wednesday. They called on Grosse Pointe Park to remove barriers in place and cancel plans to put up another wall as it builds a new Department of Public Works facility there.

“We are trying to build bridges and not barriers and another barrier going up is only going backward,” said Bianca Garcia, a Detroit resident who grew up in Grosse Pointe Park.

Another resident adding that there's no better time than now to remove the barriers.

“There never was a good time for any of these barriers to be built, but this is a good time for the barriers to come down,” said Frank Joyce, a Grosse Pointe Park resident

This is not the first time Grosse Pointe Park has faced such criticism. When it turned Kercheval, the entrance into downtown into a one-way road for a time in recent years, it was accused of being anti-Detroit. Gross Pointe Park Mayor Bob Denner says the city has re-opened Kercheval and partnered with Detroit on projects.

”It is important to note that all major east-west connector streets between our city are open. These include Jefferson, Kercheval, Vernor, Charlevoix and Mack,” Mayor Denner said.

As for the new barrier planned at Wayburn and Mack, the mayor says, “the new facility will not create a barrier, but instead will enhance the area as it will occupy space that currently includes a vacant lot and a dilapidated vacant building.“

The new facility will replace a nearly 100 years old facility for the Public Services Department.

Two people who own homes right next to this wall along Atlas say they want the barriers to stay.

“What it did is it stopped the traffic coming through,” said Bill Rabaut, a Grosse Pointe Park homeowner.

“I had never thought about that dividing Detroit, the Blacks from the whites, nothing like that. I stayed here for 20 years. My emotions is I want it to stay there, because my son, my grandson; I think they feel safe walking to the car,” said Eric Taylor, a Grosse Point Park Resident.