Written by Detroit Documenters Amelia Benavides-Colón, Anna Harris, Bridget Scallen, Colleen Cirocco, Perry Sylvester and Sherrie Smith
This week, we’ve got dispatches from recent meetings about Highland Park development, changes to the Joe Louis Greenway route in Southwest Detroit, water infrastructure funding and more.
We don’t have info from the Detroit/Wayne County Stadium Authority’s latest meeting after it was canceled for the fourth time in a row. But we still have the dispatches — shoutout to Documenters A J Johnson and Perry Sylvester, who weren’t deterred by the abrupt cancelation.
Sylvester, having already arrived and paid for parking, took the time to meet and interview a gentleman who had shown up to give public comment. With no meeting notes to submit, Johnson dug through public audit reports and submitted what she found about the authority’s finances instead.
For the rest of your weekly public meetings digest, read on.
Highland Park City Council voted to save a thriving community garden, cultivated by community activist Mama Shu and her nonprofit Avalon Village — from being sold to an out-of-state investor. California-based investor Rick Lopez’s Premier Michigan Properties owns 40 homes in Highland Park, although only 15 have been fully renovated. Lopez applied to buy a vacant lot next to a property in Avalon Village, on a block that Mama Shu has transformed “from blight to beauty.” After weeks of debate, the council denied Premier the sale of the lot.
The council was gridlocked when voting on an affordable housing development. The proposal was to sell 15 vacant lots to the North End Woodward Community Coalition to build 30 affordable homes. Citing a lack of detail, Councilmember Khursheed Ash-Shafii walked out of the room during the vote, resulting in a stalemate.
9/5/2023 Highland Park City Council
Documented by B W and Colleen Cirocco
9/5/2023 Detroit City Council, Formal Session: Councilmembers approved a $3 million increase for a down-payment assistance program.
Documented by Matt Schoner and Sherrie Smith
Detroit’s General Services Department (GSD) presented changes to the Joe Louis Greenway expansion into Clark Park in Southwest Detroit on Wednesday. Based on prior feedback from residents, the route has moved from West Vernor Highway to West Lafayette Street, and not to Fort Street to avoid traffic. Some of the bike paths will be off-street entirely, and some will be incorporated into existing streets.
As another method of capturing public feedback, the department had printed copies of the route map, asking residents to draw or write out their comments.
Residents were interested in other forms of traffic calming measures — one person noted that fast-moving traffic can make even protected bike lanes feel unsafe. The community benefits fund of $1 million Canadian dollars from the Gordie Howe International Bridge project can only be used for bike infrastructure, but GSD representatives said they will discuss traffic calming with the project’s planners. This fund must be spent by March 2025, so decisions will be made this fall.
GSD will present at the September District 6 Department of Neighborhoods DONCast, where residents can continue to share their opinion on how the funds should be spent.
9/6/2023 GSD, Joe Louis Greenway Hubbard Farms Community Meeting
Documented by Anna Harris, Deandrea White and Marianna Alva-Wies
9/6/2023 Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, Board of Water Commissioners, committee meetings: Funds allocated to solve drowning catch basins; data shows new demographic responsible for past due bills.
Documented by Amelia Benavides-Colón and Sonja Stuckey
9/6/2023 SEMCOG, Transportation Safety Action Committee: Committee members discussed the ClearGuide Safety tool, which SEMCOG purchased to track time and geographical data of speeding vehicles.
Documented by Bridget Scallen and Gina McPherson
9/7/2023 Detroit/Wayne County Stadium Authority: Board fails to meet for a fourth consecutive time, but a member of the public is still determined to have his say.
Documented by A J Johnson and Perry Sylvester
9/7/2023 Detroit Board of Police Commissioners: Commissioners push back against the chief investigator’s report detailing police misconduct cases still under investigation.
Documented by Amelia Benavides-Colón and Janelle James
For more on the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners, check out the latest BOPC Watch.