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Business strips in 23 Detroit neighborhoods could get facelifts

Tracy Samilton
Michigan Radio
Jevana Watson is opening a business on McNichols near Livernois

Twenty-three Detroit neighborhoods could see their business strips revitalized and made more walkable under a plan proposed by Mayor Mike Duggan.

The plan involves selling $125-million worth of bonds to fix the roadways, add medians and bike paths, and plant trees, among other improvements.

Jevana Watson is opening a coffee shop, Detroit Sip, on McNichols road near Livernois on the west side of the city, one of the neighborhoods that would get a facelift.

Credit City of Detroit
Current view of McNichols business strip in Detroit
Credit City of Detroit
Proposal to remodel business strip at McNichols and Livernois in Detroit

She says the plan could help the neighborhood thrive and grow.

"I think this bond, if approved, would help us all," she says.  "We need to raise the quality of life for our children so they understand this is their neighborhood, they need to invest in it."

Watson says the project would hopefully encourage active business owners to locate near her.

Detroit resident Stephanie Harbin says when she was a kid, Detroit was a walkable city with viable neighborhood businesses. She wants to see that way of life restored.

"I did not have to catch the bus out to the suburbs to go shopping," says Harbin of her childhood.  "So it's important for us to build this business corridor up, and for our children to be able to walk or ride their bikes."

Work on the McNichols/Livernois strip would begin in late 2019 if City Council approves the plan.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.