Grants could fund safety improvements in area of Mack and Vernier

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published February 22, 2023


GROSSE POINTE WOODS — As motorists and pedestrians know, the intersection of Mack Avenue and Vernier Road in Grosse Pointe Woods is extremely busy and can be dangerous, especially when students from Parcells Middle School and even nearby Mason Elementary School are dismissed for the day.

Officials in Grosse Pointe Woods and the Grosse Pointe Public School System hope to make that stretch of roadway less hazardous in the near future.

Woods City Administrator Frank Schulte told the Woods City Council that the city received a $720,000 federal safety grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation to make changes at the intersection that are geared toward enhancing safety.

“We’ve been working with the school system for quite some time,” Schulte said.

In addition, Schulte said the city is awaiting approval of an additional grant of $660,000 in American Rescue Plan Act dollars from Wayne County.

He said the school district would be applying for a state Safe Routes to School grant on Feb. 22 that could bring in another $600,000, which would be split as $300,000 apiece for Parcells and Mason. There’s no required match for this grant, but Schulte said the city needed to approve a resolution in favor of the project that would be included with the district’s grant application.

During a meeting Feb. 6, the Woods City Council unanimously approved the resolution.

The project would involve safety improvements at Mack and Vernier, as well as Sunningdale Drive, which spills out onto Vernier.

City Councilwoman Angela Coletti Brown asked Schulte “in terms of timing” when the work might be done.

Schulte said he anticipated construction taking place as soon as school let out for the summer in 2025.

“The majority of the work would be done in the summer,” Schulte said.

With the rising costs of labor and materials, City Councilman Kenneth Gafa wondered if grant money would cover the estimated cost of the project.

“Are we going to be able to secure our costs and labor at the time (work is done)?” Gafa asked.

Schulte said they tried to come up with an estimate that assumes what the project will cost in the coming years, but he couldn’t guarantee that the estimate would match the actual cost.

“First, we need to secure the grants,” Schulte said. “Then, we go out to bid” to get actual prices from contractors.

Schulte said they’re hopeful this project can be completed without the use of any city money. He said it would be included in the 2024-25 fiscal year budget.