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Grosse Pointe Park Fortifies Detroit Border with Massive Pots

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Photos by <a href="http://www.michelleandchrisgerard.com/"> Michelle and Chris Gerard</a><br>
Photos by Michelle and Chris Gerard

Grosse Pointe Park has added twenty 5-foot-tall planters to its border with Detroit at Kercheval and Alter. When the work crew were asked about the new arrivals, they said that the pots were a custom special order from California. Workers at the site were reluctant to discuss the new pots, which are also 5 feet in diameter and described as "the size of a front loader." While no one wanted to comment on the record, one of the crew told our tipster that the pots were installed because Grosse Point Park's city manager wants "to block off the area from Detroit." Calls to the city manager's office were not returned.

Since Grosse Pointe Park erected a set of farmers' market sheds—and even before—the idea of blocking access to the Pointes from Detroit has been met with outrage and charges of racism. Last year, after GPP promised the sheds at Kercheval and Alter would come down, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan told Fox Detroit that he was "tired of the lying" from GPP officials: "I'm tired of the lying and tired of the dishonesty of the Grosse Pointe Park leadership," he said. "It's obvious we can't trust the Grosse Pointe Park leaders - they don't mean what they say."

Months later, the sheds finally came down, but the concrete plaza at the border of Detroit and GPP remains, now with twenty massive tree-filled fiberglass pots serving sentry duty. As we reported last year, the property the sheds stood on is actually owned by the city of Detroit, so their removal wasn't exactly a gesture of friendship, but rather something Mayor Duggan told them was gonna happen…and then it happened. Part of the deal to dump the sheds was that Detroit should develop the border area. This seems in line with other city development plans involving "bleeding edges." A good deal of the $100 development commitment JP Morgan Chase has with the city will be spent on "bleeding edges," or areas where successful development touch run down areas in need of rehabilitation.

In its short, troubled tenure, the barricade area has been the site of a car crash, and other (terrible) plans for the border site call for a "European style" building to occupy the area. Maybe the answer for GPP and Detroit would be for a smart developer to make the Detroit side of the border the enviable side? Time will tell.

·New Planters on Grosse Pointe Detroit Border [Metro Times]
·Duggan "Tired of lying" [Fox 4 News]
·Summer of the Barricade Comes to an End [Curbed Detroit]
·"Detroiters stay out": Racial Blockades Divide a City and its Surburbs [The Guardian]
·Shed Barricade Smacked by Car [Curbed Detroit]
·Huge Building to Replace Grosse Pointe Park Sheds [Curbed Detroit]
·Developing the City Along "Bleeding Edges" [Curbed Detroit]