Michael Klinefelt addresses the crowd March 19 during his first State of the City as Eastpointe mayor.

Michael Klinefelt addresses the crowd March 19 during his first State of the City as Eastpointe mayor.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

State of the City address focuses on progress, future of Eastpointe

By: Maria Allard | Roseville-Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 1, 2024

 Christina Gibson talks to the crowd during Eastpointe’s State of the City address March 19.

Christina Gibson talks to the crowd during Eastpointe’s State of the City address March 19.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


EASTPOINTE — Mayor Michael Klinefelt officiated his first State of the City address March 19 at the Lutheran Fraternities of America Hall Post No. 57.

The luncheon gave Klinefelt the opportunity to provide highlights of the city’s progress over the past year and a look at what’s in store for the future. Eastpointe Community Schools Superintendent Christina Gibson and 38th District Court Judge Kathleen Galen also shared information.

The event — open to local dignitaries, city employees and residents — was organized by the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce. There was a fee to attend.


City of Eastpointe
Klinefelt listed a number of projects that city officials are currently working on or have finished. The elected official said there are “preliminary plans” for a new courthouse, and the city is working to secure funding for the project.

In 2023, officials formed a steering committee to work on modernizing the zoning ordinances to be more business friendly and to create an active use of commercial corridors. The mayor also touched on the $10 million Eastpointe received from the state in 2023 to replace lead water service lines. The goal is for the city to replace all lead service lines.

“We replaced 513 homes in 2023,” Klinefelt said.

A water service line runs from the water main in the street, usually under the front yard, and then into the home. The line is made of specific material such as lead or copper. Homes with lead water service lines are being tested based on the ability of the material to get into the drinking water.

Klinefelt also mentioned the work Eastpointe’s community development fellow, John Kraus, has been doing since he began working for the city in May. The community development fellow position is for 15 months, and during his time Kraus’ role is to support business and economic development; sustainable spaces and solutions; and marketing, branding and promotion activities in the city.

There were several infrastructure investments, including street resurfacing, on various residential streets.

This past year, the city hired one new police officer and filled seven vacant positions in the Fire Department.

“It’s extremely hard to find firefighters,” Klinefelt said, not only referring to Eastpointe, but other cities as well. “It’s a major success we’ve been able to fill seven positions.”

He also had good news regarding Kennedy Park. According to Klinefelt, the city acquired $1.5 million from the state to bring a splash pad to the park. He added that the Recreation Authority of Roseville & Eastpointe also will provide $300,000 for the project, bringing the funding up to $1.8 million.

“People really wanted a splash pad,” Klinefelt said. “It will be moving forward, so keep an eye out.”

He added that there used to be a pool at Kennedy, but it was shut down in 2008 because the city “could not afford to operate” it.


Eastpointe Community Schools
Gibson highlighted several topics during her speech. She said that there are more than 2,250 students in the district and nearly 300 full-time employees, making Eastpointe Community Schools the largest employer in the city.

According to the 2020 census, “There are 39,762 people in Eastpointe and over 7,000 school-age children,” Gibson said. “Is anyone noticing a gap? Our kids attend 42 different schools. This community let go of public education. This is what School of Choice has done.”

The superintendent also said that only 30% of Eastpointe High School is being utilized. EHS will turn 100 years old in 2029, and there will be discussions in the future regarding the school.

“We have to think about how we restructure and how we reinvest,” Gibson said.

Moving forward, Gibson would like to see more people get off social media and have in-person conversations instead. Gibson’s presentation also focused on the district’s strategic plan, which was adopted in early 2023.

The strategic plan focuses on five areas: student growth and achievement, learning environments and support, a working environment and high-quality staff, family and community partnerships, and resources for finances, facilities and technology.

Through the strategic plan, educators are working to improve student achievement, attendance, well-being and have behavioral interventions in place. Gibson said the district also is working to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in instructional programs and practices, and wants to enhance employee morale, satisfaction and performance.

The district is working to offer more opportunities for community engagement by having different family nights at the schools along with the occasional field trip for students during the daytime.

To celebrate March is Reading Month, the district welcomed several guest readers, including members of the Eastpointe Fire and Police departments, state Rep. Kimberly Edwards, and Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham.

During her presentation, Gibson did a quick survey via QR Code on what those in attendance would like to see in the district’s future. Skilled trades training, coming together as a community, persistence, a close-knit community and using untapped resources were among the responses.


38th District Court
Galen was elected to the bench in November 2020 to serve a six-year term that began in early 2021. She is the chief judge and presides over civil suits involving up to $25,000, adult criminal misdemeanor offenses, felony preliminary examinations, setting bail in felony and misdemeanor cases, civil infractions, landlord/tenant disputes, small claims, and more.

“Since I took office in 2021, we have had an increase in violent crimes,” she said.

Galen echoed the mayor’s comments about getting a new court building.

“A new court building is in the works,” Galen said. “We’re trying to find financing and funding for a new court.”

During the luncheon, the judge talked about the various grants the court received including a virtual backlog response docket grant to help the court address the backlog of criminal cases due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This grant got six employees to provide a virtual courtroom we do every Friday,” said Galen, who added, “We run two courtrooms, plus the virtual courtroom.”

The court also received other grants, including the Clean Slate grant, which “helps people who have a bad record.” An individual may use the Clean Slate package to have prior convictions set aside.