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July 22, 2014

Roseville's Gratiot Cruise expands

By Kevin Bunch
C & G Staff Writer

ROSEVILLE — Gratiot Avenue will be filled with classic cars July 26 as the Roseville Gratiot Cruise returns for its second year.

The cruise has expanded, both in geographic size and in scope. It will now extend from 10 Mile Road all the way north to 13 Mile, with events along Gratiot at a number of local businesses, Marketing Manager Amelia Hinds said.

“At 11:30 a.m. is when we do our kickoff, which is grand-marshaled by Mark Hackel and John Chirkun, our mayor,” Hinds said. “Then we’ll have the national anthem, and then Christian Financial Credit Union, our presenting sponsor, will kick off the actual cruise.”

At that time, a “parade” will leave the City Hall area and head out onto Gratiot, though Hinds said the road is not going to be closed for the kickoff or the cruise; rather, cruisers will be able to use any lane while intermingled with traffic.

The cruise will run officially until 6 p.m., and a number of local businesses along the road have related events planned. Roseville High School is teaming up with the Collex Collision at 12 Mile and Gratiot to have a “Hot Rod High School Reunion,” Hinds said, which will focus on vehicles from 1967 and newer.

That particular event will support the Drive One program, spun out of the school’s auto shop and expanded to meet year-round and include former students as mentors, as well as kids beyond Roseville.

Additionally, the Midas of Roseville is going to be offering up its property for an all-new “Kids Zone,” Hinds said. Bounce and Slide, the company who is putting it on, is going to be putting it up at no charge to the cruise, she added.

“They have a big, huge lot behind them, and they are brand new business owners who bought the property last year. They wanted to participate and do something for the community,” Hinds said. “We’re turning it into a kid zone with all kinds of inflatables: a bounce house, slides and obstacle courses.”

Mike Riehl’s Chrysler Jeep is hosting a classic car lot to raise money for Vets Returning Home, a nonprofit that just opened in Roseville focused on helping veterans find homes and jobs. The nonprofit is holding an open house that day, as well, Hinds said, at its location at the former Red Cross building.

The cruise will play host to a scavenger hunt at a number of local businesses, Hinds said. Participants get a list of eight local businesses and have to pick up preselected items at each of them. Those who succeed can win a commemorative T-shirt, she said, adding that some businesses are north of 13 Mile.

Public safety will be out in full force to ensure the cruise goes smoothly. City Manager Scott Adkins said that police officers, fire personnel and emergency services will be on hand to make sure traffic keeps moving and that there are no problems.

“It’s a very detailed and comprehensive event, and it takes a large number of safety resources for us to do that,” Adkins said. “Those costs are covered by the Heritage Foundation. They reimbursed the city for the costs, but it takes a full complement from the Police and Fire departments to be able to ensure safety at the event.”

Hinds said the total cost for public safety ended up around $26,000.

Adkins said side streets crossing Gratiot will be closed at all nontraffic signal crossings, and police have the authority to close side streets entirely if there are congestion problems. Cars also will not be allowed to park on Gratiot for the duration of the cruise, so people are encouraged to park offsite or on side streets to reach businesses.

Adkins added that some churches and businesses are opening their lots for cruise parking, though he asked people to watch for postings indicating whether or not parking is only for customers. After 6 p.m., police will remove the barriers at cross-streets.

Cruise watching will be allowed on both sides of Gratiot, but not in the median, Adkins said, for public safety reasons. Cruisers also are asked to keep up with the flow of traffic, since all lanes are open to the classic cars this year.

For additional information on the cruise, visit the website at www.rosevillegratiotcruise.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Kevin Bunch at kbunch@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1030.