Monday, October 30, 2006

Interesting Paragraph

Rouge Park users celebrate

The Freep covered Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's decision not to sell 115 acres of parkland in Rouge Park in their Friday issue. The most interesting portion of the entire article, in my opinion, came at the very end.
(Mayoral spokeman Matt) Allen said the city is about to announce a new recreation master plan and intends to sell some parks and other surplus land for housing. The city wants to put recreation closer to the biggest population centers in the city, he said. Parks that are sold would be replaced by green space elsewhere.
We will have to watch the release of this master plan very carefully. It could be that I'm just paranoid, but there's this little voice in the back of my head that keeps saying that they're about to try selling the Ryan playground in Warrendale.

Only time will tell, though.

Rouge Park Meeting/Celebration

Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick announced last week that he is no longer planning to sell a large portion of Rouge Park. However, the Detroit City Council is still going ahead with a previously scheduled public hearing on the future of Rouge Park. This will happen on Wednesday, November 1 from 7:00 - 8:30 pm in St. Thomas Aquinas School (near Ford Road and Evergreen, go to www.rougepark.org for a map).

The Friends of Rouge Park are also hosting a party to celebrate the fact that the park has been saved for now after this hearing. The Warrendale (Detroit) Blog will, of course, be on hand for both events. You can expect to see lots of photos on-line this Thursday.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Weird Dumping Case

I've seen all kinds of things get dumped illegally in Warrendale. This one, however, is a new one for me.

Dry ice.

I have no idea where it came for or what kind of an idiot would dump it on a public sidewalk, but that's exactly what someone did.

Halloween Decorations - Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week

Blogger was off-line for awhile yesterday. (Darn those pesky servers!) As a result, my Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week for October 25, 2006 was delayed by one day.

Halloween decorations aren't exactly unique to Warrendale nor are really all that different from decorations in other neighborhoods throughout Detroit. However, I happen to think that they are exceedingly cool. Therefore, I'm using my enormous influence with this blog and declaring Halloween decorations to be the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week for October 25, 2006.

I found this house all decorated on Rosemont, just north of Whitlock. There aren't any lights involved so you can't see it all that clearly at night. Still, I think it looks darn cool during the daytime.

Detroit Will Preserve Rouge Park

Detroit will preserve park - 10/26/06 - The Detroit News Online

Loren Jackson, director of Detroit's Recreation Department, announced yesterday that the City has agreed to stop any deal to sell 115 acres of parkland in Rouge Park to developers.

This is terrific news, in my opinion, because the sale was simply a badly thought out move. However, Rouge Park is still threatened by vandalism and neglect.

I still believe that the best way to address those concerns is to transfer control of the park to a private conservancy - similiar to what was set up for Campus Martius Park and the Detroit Riverfront - and allow some residential and/or commericial development in the park; just think it's location and type through much more carefully.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Autumn in Warrendale


It's fall once again in Warrendale and that means that there are lots of leaves to be raked up.

You can bag your leaves and put them in your Courville container for our weekly pick-up. You can even keep them bagged and out of sight until our bulk trash pick-up in November.

However, being a bit of an environmentalist, I'm partial to composting the things. Yard waste makes up 20% of our landfills and by composting, you create a good fertilizing material for your lawn or garden.

You can find composting tips at http://www.montana.edu/wwwpb/pubs/mt9204.html

Mail Bag: Rouge Park Unfit for Kids

In the comments section for "My Thoughts on the Rouge Park Sale", CanoeCarver opined that Rouge Park isn't safe for children anymore because the rampant acts of sexuality that happen in public througout the park, mostly committed by gay men.

Once upon a time, his concerns were definately an issue. When I was growing up in Warrendale in the 1970s and 80s, this was a huge problem. There was an enormous amount of sexual activitity that happened in that park and, a child, I was frequently exposed to it.

However, during Mayor Dennis Archer's administration, the Detroit Police Department began to crack down on it and crack down harshly. (Harsh enough, in fact, that the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the DPD.)

Since then, DPD has grown to be much more respectful of civil rights and I haven't seen a single sexual act in Rouge Park. However, I'm only in Rouge Park every so often. It's possible that it's still going on and I'm simply not seeing it.

If anyone else has seen any wanton acts of inappropriate behavior, please feel free to leave a note about it in the comments section.

Rouge Park Hearing Re-scheduled

The previously scheduled town hall meeting regarding the sale of 5 parcels of land in Rouge Park was cancelled at the last minute. The Detroit City Council has re-scheduled this town hall meeting for Wednesday, November 1 at 7 p.m. It will happen at St. Thomas Aquanis Church (southeast corner of Evergreen and Kirkwood - just north of Ford Rd.).

Everyone is invited to express their views on the proposed sale.

I haven't gotten an official confirmation, but I presume the rules will be the same as last time.
  • Everyone gets 2 minutes to speak;
  • Written copies of your testimony (15 copies for everyone on the council + staffers) are greatly appreciated.
I will be there. I look forward to seeing others as well.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Suit wants trash fee tossed

Suit wants trash fee tossed

A group of homeowners filed a lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court to block the City of Detroit from continuing to collect the $300 annual fee for trash collection.

From my limited reading of the relevant laws, I don't think they have much of a proverbial leg to stand on. However, I'm sure that it will make for an interesting story to follow as the case progresses.

As always, the latest news on this (not to mention my own opinions) will be posted to the Warrendale (Detroit) Blog.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hollywood Tobacco - Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week

Oh, what a week this has been for me personally. It started with an insanely busy weekend and isn't likely to let up for another couple of days.

Anyway, before I rush off again, I wanted to chime in with the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week for October 18, 2006. It's the soon to be opened Hollywood Tobacco Shop (19501 W. Warren Avenue).

It's spray-painted sign is tacky as all hell and I'm not a huge fan of tobacco stores in general. However, and this is the important part, the opening of Hollywood Tobacco brings us to an even dozen for the number of new businesses to have opened in Warrendale this year.

Yes, one of them - Papa Joe's Buffet - has closed its doors. Business is bad for restaurants right now in general. However, the other ones seem to be doing just fine for themselves.

Still, I think it's very cool that we've had a dozen new businesses open in Warrendale this year and three more undergo a significant expansion. When you consider how things are for the rest of Michigan - Warrendale is kicking butt and taking names.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mail Bag: Cool Thing of the Week

An anonymous reader wrote in to say:
I came across your blog while looking up information on Warrendale for a class project. I love the cool thing of the week idea. Can you tell me when and where the Warrendale Community Organization meetings are held. Are they open to Detroit residents who live outside Warrendale?
Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you like the Warrendale Cool Thing of the Week. The next one is only two days away.

As for the Warrendale Community Organization - yes, their meetings are open to everyone; even folks who don't live in the neighborhood. It meets on the first Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Activities Building of Sts. Peter & Paul Church. The church is on Sawyer, between Grandville and Westwood; there's a parking lot behind the church and the Activities Building is at the north end of said parking lot.

I look forward to seeing you at the next W.C.O. meeting on Monday, November 6 at 7 p.m.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

My Thoughts on the Sale of Rouge Park

Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick has proposed selling 5 parcels of land in River Rouge Park. For the most part, those parcels consist of everything in the park that is south of Joy Road. I think Mayor Kilpatrick deserves a certain amount of credit for trying to hold down the costs of maintaining the park and secure additional moneys for a cash-strapped city.

However, and this is the important part, I believe that his adminstration is going about it in totally the wrong way. His proposal calls for selling too much of the park, in too dense of a concentration and does it in totally the wrong way.

Housing can be developed in Rouge Park without harming the park itself. Almost every golf course in the United States has houses near it. There's no reason why we can't build golf courses near the Rouge Park Golf Course.

Commericial development can happen in Rouge Park without harming the park itself. Central Park in New York has a restaurant in it. The Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit has an Au Bon Pain in the middle of it. During its heydey, Belle Isle had snack shops on the island park. There's no reason why can't have a restaurant or two operate inside Rouge Park.

Also, it always struck me as odd that Rouge Park has 8 miles of bicycle trails as well as the only mountain bike trail in Wayne County - yet there's no place near it where you can rent a bike or get a bike that you own repaired.

Of course, while I'm on the subject of things that Rouge Park has, I should point out that the park also has:
  • 14 regulation baseball diamonds;
  • 6 basketball courts;
  • 11 outdoor tennis courts;
  • 2 football fields;
  • 1 soccer field;
  • 2 miles of fitness trails;
  • 18 holes of golf; and
  • 3 outdoor swimming pools.
Think about it. It has all of those resources yet there isn't a single sporting goods store within a one-mile radius of the park.

Housing and commericial development could, in my opinion, make Rouge Park an even better place - if it is done properly.

As a result, I don't believe the solution is for Detroit to rush into selling it this land. Rather, I think we should establish a private conservancy to manage Rouge Park and transfer control of the park to that conservancy.

Private conservancies have done a lot of good in terms of managing Detroit's most precious jewels. They bring together the best of the public, private and non-profit sectors to provide stewardship for a key resource.

The Detroit riverfront has been reborn thanks to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy. They have worked to reinvent Detroit's riverfront, from the Ambassador Bridge to the Belle Isle Bridge. Their work has produced some great results that have garnered national attention.

The Detroit 300 Conservancy has assumed control of Campus Martius Park; transforming and rebuilding a historic part of downtown Detroit. They host some terrific outdoor events throughout the year - from concerts and movies in the summer to ice skating in the winter.

My point is that a private conservancy can accomplish things that a traditional government agency or non-profit could not do. It has become a proven model for success when it comes to managing Detroit's crown jewels.

A private conservancy has worked well for the Detroit Riverfront and Campus Martius Park. It can work just as well for River Rouge Park - bringing a sense of health and vitality back to the area that, quite frankly, has been absent for far too long.

It's for this reason that I believe the best course of action Detroit could take would be to hand control of Rouge Park over to a private conservancy. That conservancy could then work to ensure that any residential and commericial development of the land improves what already exhists within the park.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Starting & Growing Your Own Business

Detroit City Council President Kenneth V. Cockrel, Jr. is sponsoring the 3rd Annual "Starting & Growing Your Own Business Forum" on Tuesday, October 17. The event will take place in the Ponders Auditorium at the Lewis College of Business (17370 Meyers Rd., between McNichols and 7 Mile). This program will start with a light dinner, served from 5 p.m. - 6 p.m., and move into the main program from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

If you have ever wanted to start your own business in the Warrendale neighborhood, or anywhere else in Detroit, this is the place for you to start.

The forum will include a panel discussion that features:If you wish to attend, you must call (313) 224-4507 to RSVP by this Friday, October 13.

Chick's Bar - Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week

One of our regular readers, Cracktown! USA, left a comment not too long ago inquiring about the local watering holes in the Warrendale neighborhood. I thought about it for a bit and have decided to launch a new feature on the Warrendale Blog: Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week.

Every Wednesday I will feature something about the Warrendale neighborhood that I think is just plain cool. It might be a local watering hole, eatery or a unique example of architecture in the area. Whatever it is that I happen to think is cool.

The opinions are purely subjective and they are totally mine. I just thought that this would be a good opportunity for us to showcase a few things about the neighborhood for folks who either haven't been here at all or who have been away for awhile. (Believe it or not, this blog has received visitors from as far away as Helsinki, Finland).

Anyway, without further ado, I give you the Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week for October 12, 2006.

Chick's Bar has been welcoming thirsty Warrendale residents and visitors alike for so long that no one really remembers them not doing it. I'm not 100% certain of this, but I am fairly confident that there was an earlier version of Chick's Bar at that location when Cadillac's expedition landed in Detroit way back in July of 1701.

It is the quintessential neighborhood tavern. The sort of place where you feel right at home from the moment you walk through its door, whether the place you call "home" is around the corner or - dare I say it - in Helsinki, Finland.

There is almost always a game playing on one of their TVs. The beer is always cold at Chick's Bar. The chairs are always comfortable and - miracle of all miracles - every one of the bartenders at Chick's Bar instinctively knows the ideal ratio of Jack Daniel's to Coca-Cola whenever I happen to walk in.

If the folks in Stockholm were to start giving away Nobel Prizes for Bartending, Chick's Bar would surely be one of the top contenders. Until that happens, however, they will have to content with merely being named Cool Warrendale Thing of the Week.

Rouge Park Signs

It's great to walk through Warrendale and see so many of the "Save Rouge Park" signs. This afternoon, in fact, I came across a series of 4 houses in a row that all had those signs on their front lawns.

It made for a very powerful message that I'm sure anyone who sees them will notice.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Work Almost Done on the Paul Street Bridge

It looks like construction crews are nearing the end of their work on the Paul Street bridge over the Southfield Freeway. The side rails are going up. The turn around lane is being constructed. The whole thing looks like it's on track for completion by the end of this month.

All of the construction detours have been a major pain in my ass (pardon my bluntness; the word "inconvience" just didn't seem to capture the way I feel). However, I have to admit that this is one road project that r-e-a-l-l-y needed to be done. The old bridge was in really bad shape and had been for years.

For folks who aren't from the area, but who read this blog anyway, there was a certain spot on the old bridge where you'd hear a "clanking" sound when you drove over it. It was cause by some of structural elements moving when they clearly weren't supposed to.

So, at least for the time being, I'll resist the urge to stand near the bridge and scream to construction crew, "Work faster!"

Something tells me they would not appreciate it.

Southfield Service Drive Re-Opens

The Southfield Freeway service drive, between W. Warren and Ford Rd., has been closed for months as crews work on rebuilding the Paul Street bridge. Work on the bridge still isn't finished, but at long last, the service drive has been reopened.

That stretch of road might not seem like much to most folks, but to me it looks a little stretch of heaven. (Yes, I am biased because of my usual commute.)

Governor Granholm to Offer Low Rate Housing Loans to Recent College Grads

Great Lakes Politics

Governor Jennifer M. Graholm announced late last week that she is directing the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to offer low rate housing loan to recent college graduates as an incentive to keep more of them in Michigan. These loans will be 2 percentage points below the market rate, a discount that will last for 3 years after graduation for a Michigan college or university.

These loans will be offered on a "first come, first served" basis and only $10 million in loans to be made. Once that initial fund is depleted, the program is over.

I mention this here because in order to eligible for these discounted loans, not only do you have to be a recent college graduate but you have to buy your home in one of eight cities. Detroit is one of them and Warrendale is a great neighborhood for recent college graduates to buy into; with moderate housing prices and close proximity to everything that they would need.

If you know of anyone who might be interested in buying a home in Warrendale and is a recent college graduate, you can encourage them to contact MSHDA.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

100s Rally for Rouge Park

Close to one hundred Detroiters came out to a rally this afternoon to protest Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick's decision to sell most of River Rouge Park south of Joy Road. The rally was organized by the Friends of Rouge Park, with assistance from the Detroit Aero Modelers, Far West Civic Association and the West Outer Drive Civic Association.

Mayor Kilpatrick is proposing to sell 115 acres of prime parkland in our neighborhood. Five different developers have submitted bids for residentials or commericial developments on the city-owned parkland. These 115 acres of land have been divided by the City of Detroit into five parcels for development purposes.

According to Paul Stark, a former president of the Warrendale Community Organization an active participant in the campaign to block this sale, none of the five proposals are beneficial to Detroit. One of the teams to submit a bid, RAYO Development in partnership with the Sterling Group, is only offering $361,200 for all five of those parcels.

The World Deliverance Temple in Deaborn Heights offered $850,000 for a parcel off of W. Outer Drive and $1.45 million for another parcel at W. Warren and Pierson. This appeared to be the most generous of the offers that the City received for the property. However, their proposal also calls for the City to pay for new streets, sewage system, public lighting and fencing throughout the area. Those costs are expected to consume, if not exceed, what the Temple is prepared to buy the land for.

I have 64 different photos from the rally this afternoon viewable at Flickr.com. I invite you to check them out and leave a comment, if you so desire.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

480 Violators

The Warrendale Community Organization recently completed a survey of environmental issues in Warrendale, west of the Southfield Freeway. They found 480 homes in Warrendale that were in violation of one environmental ordinance or another (trash in front of the house, tall grass, etc.).

There are 9,036 homes in that section of Warrendale so that means 94.7% of Warrendale residents are in great shape. However, for the remaining 5.3%, I should point out that their list has been turned over the City of Detroit. I would expect a blitz of tickets in the very near future.

If you have bulk trash sitting in front of your house (for a pick-up that, by the way, won't be coming until November 2) or there's any other issue that you know you should have already dealt with, I would encourage you to take care of it before the City gets there. Those tickets get can really expensive.

The Fight to Save Rouge Park

Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick has proposed selling 115 acres of land in River Rouge Park and the Friends of Rouge Park are organizing to stop it. They came to last night's Warrendale Community Organization membership meeting, explained their position and answered questions from the community.

They are planning a protest rally this Saturday at Joy Road and Spinoza in the park, starting at noon.

In addition, the Detroit City Council will have a public hearing on Mayor Kilpatrick's proposal on Tuesday, October 17 at 7 p.m. in Lessenger Middle School (map available here). Members of the public are invited to speak for two minutes at this hearing. A written copy of your remarks, with 15 copies for everyone at the hearing, is also appreciated.

JSCDC - Bringing Health Care to Warrendale

Joseph Ellison of the Joy-Southfield Community Development Corporation addressed the Warrendale Community Organization at last night's membership meeting. He discussed the various projects that they have, most notably their health care program.

The Joy-Southfield CDC operates a walk-in clinic for individuals who don't have health insurance and can't afford to pay for it on their own. They welcome all patients and simply ask that you pay whatever you can afford. The clinic is located at 18917 Joy Rd., between Stahelin and Artesian.

They offer:
  • Primary health care for adults;
  • Physical exams for school and work;
  • Chronic disease management;
  • Diabetes, cholesterol, hypertension and prostate cancer screening;
  • Laboratory services;
  • Referrals to out-patient diagnostic testing;
  • Assistance with locating additional health care resources;
  • Preventive health education;
  • Referrals to specialists.
The clinic is open on Tuesdays from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. They are also open on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Re-write the Detroit's Budget

AnnualBudgetMgtFlyer.pdf (application/pdf Object)

Ever wish you could re-write the City of Detroit's Budget? Just completely change our priorities to reflect a stronger emphasis on public safety, recreation or whatever?

The City of Detroit will host a pair of Budget Meetings this month where residents are invited to share their thoughts on just what the City's budget priorities should be and to learn about changes within the City of Detroit.

These meetings will happen on Tuesday, October 17 in the Lasky Recreation Center and on Thursday, October 19 at the Herman Kiefer Complex. Both of these meetings will start at 6 p.m. Maps for both locations are available by clicking the related hyperlink.

There is supposed to an on-line survey that you can take to indicate your opinion of what Detroit's priorities should be. However, as of 5 p.m. today - that link isn't working.

You can check it yourself later to see if they've fixed it.

http://www.ci.detroit.mi.us/default.htm

Save the Warrendale Radio Patrol

Due to a cut in funding from the City of Detroit, as a change in how those funds are allocated, the Warrendale Radio Patrol is danger of closing in November of this year. In order to continue operating they need to increase the number of patrols they do each month. As a result, they are looking for volunteers to step up and lend a hand.

The Warrendale Radio Patrol is the oldest radio patrol in Detroit. They patrol our neighborhood two nights each week for three or four hours each night. They keep an eye on the neighborhood; serving as the eyes and ears of the police.

If you are able to volunteer even two nights a month, please call Bob Franko (President of the Warrendale Radio Patrol) at (313) 336-8758. Volunteers receive a small stipend for their time and gas.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Good Bye, Bloglet - Hello, FeedBlitz

A couple of months ago, I installed a function for folks to add their email addresses into a Bloglet form and get an email every time that I add a new post to this blog. The problem, however, is that shorly after I installed it, the whole Bloglet service pretty much went out of business.

Anyway, I have replaced Bloglet with a new service called FeedBlitz. For those readers who already signed up with Bloglet, you don't have to worry. Your email addresses are still safe and you don't have to do anything. You should start getting those email alerts right away from the new sender.

Anyone who wants to get an email alert can sign up for them in the right-hand column, just below the Google search box.

Those who perfer to simply check the site from time to time and read my posts directly from the site can pretty much ignore this whole thing. Nothing is changing for you. This is simply an optional function for those who are interested in it.

Crackhead Repellant

Okay - one of my fellow bloggers has developed a strategy that she says is almost guaranteed to get rid of the crackheads.

Music.

Specifically, death metal music.

Check her posting out at the Cractivist Blog.