‘M-3, the place to be’

SEMCOG sets its sights on the Gratiot corridor

By: Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published November 7, 2012

EASTPOINTE/ROSEVILLE — Communities along the Gratiot corridor are working with the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments to redevelop and improve Gratiot Avenue.

SEMCOG is launching a project aimed at revitalizing the Gratiot corridor from Detroit to Mount Clemens.

“We are really still in the beginning phases of the project,” said Susan Phillips, a leader in plan and policy development at SEMCOG. “We haven’t actually started implementing anything yet, but we are reaching out to the communities along the Gratiot corridor with information on the project, and we’ll be meeting with community representatives to show them the tool kit we developed for the project.”

The tool kit was developed by SEMCOG earlier this year and hasn’t been put to use yet. It offers assistance in enhancing a transportation corridor, with the five key aspects of enhancement being sustainable development, market analysis, transportation and mobility, planning and implementation, and business assistance services.

“The communities will go through each of these tools and select the ones to fit their needs,” Phillips said. “And we will work with them to identify segments along Gratiot that would benefit from use of the tool kit.”

Officials in Eastpointe are excited about growing Gratiot.

“SEMCOG came in and told us about all the wonderful stuff in the tool kit,” said City Manager Steve Duchane. “A lot of it we already knew and have plans in place for, but we are excited about their attention on the Gratiot corridor.”

One of the plans Duchane was referring to will limit access points along Gratiot.

“It’s for traffic safety and to improve mobility,” Duchane explained. “We will combine driveways when we can and, for instance, when the Old Colonial Dodge lot is opened as something else, we will only have one driveway there.”

“Our goal is making M-3 the place to be; we’ve talked about it as a council and we want to market Gratiot as the Woodward of the east side,” he continued. “We want to make Gratiot a key economic engine for all of Macomb County.”

Phillips has been working closely with the county government on the enhancement and the county supports the idea.

“Everyone supports it,” Duchane said. “We’ve got support from the County Executive’s Office, the local businesses, all the mayors and councils up and down Gratiot — we all want to see it as a focal point.”

The project will contain aspects of marketing and developing, but Phillips was unable to release anything more specific on it.

“It’s really about creating a sense of place,” Duchane said. “And it will take time. It’s not about harvesting the whole field; it’s a matter of getting one seed out of the field. You have to have courage, confidence and persistence to keep digging, but eventually it will happen.”