The cities of Eastpointe and Harper Woods were awarded $45,000 through the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments to plan improvements along a stretch of Kelly Road between Kingsville Street in Harper Woods and 10 Mile Road in Eastpointe.

The cities of Eastpointe and Harper Woods were awarded $45,000 through the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments to plan improvements along a stretch of Kelly Road between Kingsville Street in Harper Woods and 10 Mile Road in Eastpointe.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Eastpointe among cities receiving funding for planning projects

By: Brian Wells | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published August 9, 2023


EASTPOINTE — The city of Eastpointe is among several Macomb County cities receiving money through a grant program.

The Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, or SEMCOG, recently announced that it has awarded $513,750 to cities across southeast Michigan as part of its Planning Assistance Program. According to a press release, SEMCOG has allocated funding for 13 projects.

The cities of Eastpointe and Harper Woods were awarded $45,000 for the Kelly Road Complete Streets Corridor Plan, which will help the cities to establish a more pedestrian-friendly, vibrant commercial corridor between Kingsville Street in Harper Woods, which is near Moross Road, and 10 Mile Road.

“Utilizing community input and shared planning and engineering firms, the communities hope to redesign the sidewalk system and add non-motorized pathways along Kelly to promote a safer, more user-friendly road,” SEMCOG said in a press release. “The plan will also look to strategies for reducing impervious surfaces and increasing more opportunities for Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) to reduce the impact on the communities combined sewer system.”

The project will focus on establishing stronger pedestrian safety with enhancements that meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, improving crosswalks and bus stops, and adding a protected bike lane, Brigitte Smith, from planning firm McKenna, who serves as the zoning administrator and planning consultant for the cities of Eastpointe and Harper Woods, said in an email.

“With these improvements, people of all ages and abilities can better use and access businesses along Kelly Road,” she said. “The wider, better-connected sidewalks will be a great addition for safer opportunities (for) pedestrians, including families walking with strollers, as well as more space for businesses along Kelly Road to offer outdoor seating.”

Additionally, the project will include a branding and marketing plan to enhance the cohesion and collaboration of each city along Kelly Road and contribute to their economic development and visitor attraction campaigns, Smith said. This will also help to preserve the historical context of the intersection of Eight Mile and Kelly Roads. Just south of that intersection in 1859, the first new settler came to what is today Harper Woods, and by 1875, there were 11 homes forming a small farm settlement along Pumpkin Hook Road, which later became Kelly Road, according to a history on the Harper Woods website.

The project will also replace concrete with landscaping and green stormwater infrastructure and explore financing mechanisms that could be used to fund roadway improvements and support existing businesses while attracting new ones to the corridor, Smith said.

In 2019, as part of Eastpointe’s 2040 master plan, Kelly Road, along with Nine Mile Road, was identified as a corridor for local commercial and mixed use properties. Later, in 2021, Eastpointe leaders discussed establishing a social district along a portion of Kelly Road to provide the community with a center for local events and programs.

“I’d like to have somewhere in Eastpointe that feels more like a downtown area. (Then-Councilwoman Sarah Lucido) and I thought Kelly Road would be a good place for that. It has openings for businesses, and it would be an ideal location for investment,” Councilman Cardi DeMonaco said at a 2021 City Council meeting. “Some people want to socialize and meet up with their friends, and they are taking their money outside of Eastpointe to do that right now. This would create a nice spot in Eastpointe so they don’t even have to travel outside the town.”

Smith said a social district has not been discussed as part of the Kelly Road Complete Streets Corridor Plan.

“Given that this is a multi-jurisdictional plan, it will likely come at a later time once the renovations are completed,” she said.

The grants were awarded to 13 projects across six priority topics, including transportation equity planning, complete streets and corridor safety planning, trails and greenways planning, electric vehicle infrastructure planning, broadband planning, and stormwater management planning.

Smith said the funding will be used to support the next steps of the planning and development process for the project while also covering the costs of public engagement activities, engineering and conceptual renderings.

“These next steps will focus on blending both communities’ goals and visions for an improved Kelly Road Corridor and will establish an interjurisdictional action plan so construction can begin once funding for implementation is secured,” she said. “Specifically, we will solidify conceptual engineering renderings for the roadway and sidewalk improvement, as well as landscaping and additional improvements, to create a more vibrant and usable corridor.”

Smith said the project is expected to take nine months.