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Groesbeck Highway redesign presentation to take place virtually June 24

By: Nick Mordowanec | C&G Newspapers | Published June 23, 2020 | Updated June 24, 2020 8:44am

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Clinton Township officials are inviting residents to a virtual public presentation of a Groesbeck Highway redesign plan at 6 p.m. June 24.

Hosted by the firm MKSK, it will be broadcast via Zoom at https://mksk.zoom.us/j/96259736241.

Objectives of the guidelines include to: provide for functional, attractive new development and redevelopment of sites; encourage reinvestment in vacant and underutilized properties, while establishing pride in ownership; enhance the public realm and pedestrian experience through aesthetic improvements; and provide a transparent and consistent framework for decision-making.

This is a continuation of what has become a more detailed strategy on the M-97 corridor, which is home to residential and commercial buildings. Economic turbulence and advances in technology have had largely negative effects on the transformation that has taken place over the years.

“I was brought on board to develop a Groesbeck Highway corridor plan,” Clinton Township Planning Director Bruce Thompson stated in a press release. “The Township Board (of Trustees) has targeted Groesbeck as a reinvestment opportunity, and I’m working with MKSK — a firm that will help us to create guidelines for improvement.”

MKSK, a collective network of seven regional metropolitan studios in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, is composed of planners, urban designers and landscape architects who are working at the intersect of what the township calls “between people and places.”

When a more in-depth stance was taken in revitalizing Groesbeck, MKSK cited a lack of cohesiveness, walkability and aesthetic value as hindrances. An extensive study has led to the culmination of the soon-to-be-presented guidelines, which include a market analysis and existing conditions.

That process, accelerated by input from consultants that included a technical working group and various stakeholders, was referred to as “comprehensive in scope.” It alludes to aspects like landscaping, in terms of buffers and screening, and redeveloped building designs that take into account size, materials, lighting, signage and style.

“Applying design guidelines consistently will add value to businesses on Groesbeck,” Thompson said. “Overall aesthetics and consistent design will improve the experience of visitors, the employees working in businesses, and increase the safety of those traveling up and down the corridor,” he said.

The guidelines are supposed to “apply to all new developments and substantial building expansions, alterations or significant changes that increase, noise, the need for more parking, and other external impacts.”

Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon said the mix of residential, commercial and industrial districts on the Groesbeck corridor are “part of the problem” and will be “part of the solution.”

He referred to the fast casual Captain D’s seafood establishment, located north of 15 Mile Road, which opened June 8 where a closed Dunkin’ Donuts took up space for years.

The Captain D’s franchisee is Nehaben Patel, a Macomb County resident. She said she “knew the territory well and saw ample opportunity for the brand to grow (in Clinton Township).”

First-day sales for the fast casual restaurant were “record breaking” among the company’s entire network, Patel said.

“Groesbeck Highway is seeing a revitalization as an up-and-coming area for commercial property with retailers and restaurants popping up, and has seen an uptick in daytime traffic,” she said. “I wanted to be a part of the bigger picture, bringing a unique restaurant option to my local area and further supporting the economic development of the community.”

After eyeing Midwest expansion for years, the Clinton Township Captain D’s is the only one in Michigan. Two more locations in the metro Detroit area are expected to open by 2023.

Opening during a pandemic is not ideal, but Patel said procedures were already put in place to utilize the drive-thru, call ahead ordering for pickup, and delivery conducted through third parties like DoorDash and Uber Eats.

Inside, employee safety protocols extend to single-use dining items, sanitation procedures every 30 minutes, and Plexiglass barriers between employees and customers. The indoor dining room is not currently open to the public.

Another restaurant originally slated to open in May was Taqueria Mi Pueblo, which Cannon expects will open soon. It will serve Mexican fare at the former Pogo’s location, near Cass Avenue.

Earlier this year, a former restaurant site that sat vacant became a Major Magic’s venue.

Cannon, who is a member of the McLaren Macomb Hospital Board of Trustees, added that the hospital system is looking to do things on or near Groesbeck “that may be a game changer.”

Following the Zoom broadcast, a draft will be posted on the township website, www.clintontownship.com. Resident comments can be submitted to Thompson via email until July 8, at b.thompson@clintontownship-mi.gov.