Roseville City Manager Scott Adkins said the administration has tried to work closely with the Michigan Department of Transportation to share information about the construction and help mitigate negative impacts to businesses, residents and motorists, given the magnitude of the project.

Roseville City Manager Scott Adkins said the administration has tried to work closely with the Michigan Department of Transportation to share information about the construction and help mitigate negative impacts to businesses, residents and motorists, given the magnitude of the project.

Photo by Brian Louwers


Businesses eye end of ‘long summer’ amid Gratiot construction

By: Brian Louwers | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published October 4, 2021

 Roseville has placed banners near Gratiot Avenue and Utica Road to drum up support for the business community.

Roseville has placed banners near Gratiot Avenue and Utica Road to drum up support for the business community.

Photo by Brian Louwers

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ROSEVILLE — The pandemic lockdown segued into a summer of road construction discontent for businesses along Gratiot Avenue in the heart of Roseville.

“Obviously, it’s been going on all summer. They actually closed our street off, to our parking lot, for over a week,” said Jim Jasen, of Jasen’s Fine Furniture on Gratiot, between 11 Mile and 12 Mile roads. “It’s had a negative impact on all businesses, for sure, that do retail.”

Jasen said the three-generation family business that opened in its current location in 1951 did well during the pandemic after Art Van Furniture closed and low inventory levels left furniture hard to come by at some retailers. He said the construction that set in about the time pandemic restrictions were being lifted, however, may have kept some customers away.

“We’re kind of a destination shop if they need furniture. Some people did find us,” Jasen said. “They parked in the neighborhood behind the store and walked. It takes a really dedicated shopper to find you under those circumstances.”

“We survived it,” Jasen said. “Of course, it’s still going on here. Hopefully, they’ll be wrapping it up before winter. It’s been a long summer for us. I think we survived very well.”

The Michigan Department of Transportation’s two-year project to rebuild 3.4 miles of M-3, or Gratiot, between 11 Mile and 14 Mile roads in Roseville kicked off in March. Phase one, between 11 Mile and Common roads, is set to conclude in late 2021. Construction between Common and 14 Mile is on the agenda for phase two in 2022.

According to MDOT, the project includes replacement of the asphalt roadway, water line and storm sewer work, the replacement of signage, signal modernization and the installation of sidewalk ramps in compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

“I’m thinking of the beautification of it all, what they’re trying to do with the DDA here,” said Mike Coley, of Gratiot Wheel & Tire, on Gratiot north of Utica Road. “That’s when we’re going to hopefully reap the benefits of it all.”

Coley’s family business also was founded in 1951, 70 years ago, by his grandfather, Richard Teston, as a Western Auto Supply Co. franchise at the same location on Gratiot. Persevering through the pandemic and carrying on through construction left business steady but not swamped at Gratiot Wheel & Tire. He said, thankfully, his customers had access to the store from Utica Road.

“We kept rolling. We’re kind of fortunate,” Coley said. “We’re waiting for the benefit of it all. Once it’s done, it’s going to be nice. We’re just sucking it up. I’m sure it has affected some of our business.”

Jim Gammicchia is Roseville’s administrative services specialist tasked with directing community and economic development. The city has placed banners near Gratiot and Utica Road to drum up support for the business community.

“We’re trying to get people to shop local,” Gammicchia said. “Even if that’s the local Home Depot. The idea is to shop in Roseville, and we’ve also created the shop local rewards program.”

Gammicchia said the city cooperated with the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce on the rewards program, which gives shoppers the chance to win one of 10 $25 gift cards to local businesses. He said business license records were used to generate a list of more than 1,100 local businesses. Each was sent a placard and invited to participate by placing it in a window.

The city also put an insert in the Eastsider Sept. 22 that serves as a “rewards” card.

“Residents take that insert, which is the rewards card, with all the rules into the businesses when they shop. They have to spend $5,” Gammicchia said. “The cashier signs one of the stars, initials it and gives them a receipt.”

Completed rewards cards and receipts must then be sent to Roseville’s City Hall ahead of the drawing. The contest runs until Nov. 12. The drawing will be on Nov. 15.

The rewards cards are also available at City Hall. Businesses were invited to take a stack to distribute.

“We’re keeping everything local and trying to help out these businesses, because when the businesses thrive, the community thrives,” Gammicchia said.

They’re also looking for sponsors to help defray the cost of additional programs geared toward helping the local business community.

Roseville City Manager Scott Adkins said the administration has tried to work closely with MDOT to share information about the construction and help mitigate any negative impact to businesses, residents and motorists, given the magnitude of the project.

“We’ve worked with MDOT from the beginning of the project to make sure they set up a timeline of construction that would assist the businesses as much as they possibly could,” Adkins said.

That included working in the curb-side lane first, maintaining access to businesses when possible and adding signage. He said the city had addressed parking “for businesses that would otherwise be cut off.”

“We know at the end of the day, every step we take doesn’t work for every business,” Adkins said. “There are unique circumstances that have to be addressed individually. The size and scope of this project, we knew it was going to have some situations with delicate circumstances.”

Adkins said that, despite claims made on social media, phase one of the project is on schedule.

“The project is moving right as anticipated to be finished at the end of November,” Adkins said. “We’re still here to do what we can for the businesses.”

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