DETROIT — A major construction project began in May to revitalize Detroit’s historic Avenue of Fashion, stretching along Livernois from 8 Mile Road to Margareta Avenue. Although the project is intended to encourage economic development once completed in November, the intensive construction has posed financial challenges for the small businesses open along the corridor due to parking scarcity and traffic congestion.
In response, state Rep. LaTanya Garrett (D-Detroit) issued the following statement:
“Large corporations receive tax incentives and other resources to encourage development, but our local entrepreneurs are often left out of critical conversations about the differing support they require to thrive, particularly in the face of an obstacle for which they are not responsible. Due to the recent road construction project on Livernois, Kuzzo’s Chicken and Waffles has already been forced to close their doors until November, and similarly affected businesses along the historic Avenue of Fashion like Table 2, Cakes and Bakes, Teasers Boutique and Simply Casual have reported a decrease in business. The decline in foot traffic is adversely affecting their bottom lines, which may result in some businesses having to close their doors for good. To many of these local businesses, this isn’t about convenience, it’s about their survival. I will continue working with local stakeholders and city officials to ensure our small businesses and area entrepreneurs are not harmed further.”
In addition, state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit) issued the following statement:
“Michigan’s economic success greatly depends on our small businesses, and they deserve the same level of support as downtown development does. On projects of this magnitude, stakeholders should take into account from the beginning the potential impact that the project will have on all members of our community, and provide as part of their program execution the appropriate tools and financial support necessary to mitigate any problems. Unfortunately, the Avenue of Fashion is a reflection of what is looming for Grand River businesses from Berg Road to Southfield Freeway. My office has reached out to MDOT and Detroit officials to express any projects currently scheduled along Grand River must be pushed back until business owners are given more certainty about construction timelines and the support that will be available so this does not repeat itself. We are closely monitoring this situation and will be walking from the Spirit of Detroit Statue to the 8th House District on Detroit’s 318th Birthday, Wednesday, July 24, 7 a.m., to lift up the importance of neighborhood reinvestment. To join our efforts, call (517) 373-3815.”