DETROIT – The divide between the Grosse Pointes and Detroit has always been stark, but Friday night a lot of people were wondering what was up with a newly constructed building that seems to purposely separate the two cities.
It's at Kercheval Avenue and Alter Road. Grosse Pointe Park closed off Kercheval for a big new development, and that move is not entirely welcome.
It's been that uncomfortable elephant in the room for at least a generation. On one block: Boarded-up blight and a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store. The next: Trendy restaurants, families on bikes and decorative string lights.
A Detroiter by the name of Ann was surprised to find the barn on Kercheval.
"I have a doctor's office that is actually down this street so I don't know they were actually closing this off," said Ann.
Kercheval runs east to west. On the other side of the barn there is a new roundabout going north and south meant for traffic, but only occasionally.
"To me, it's their way of keeping certain people out, Detroiters out," Ann said.
On the Grosse Pointe Park side, they aren't buying it.
Mayor Pro Tem Greg Theokas told Local 4 on the phone that exclusion is not at play here.
"No, it's designed to create a space where there can be foot traffic so that we can close it off during the weekend and holidays, and have an open-air area," said Theokas.
The newly opened Atwater in the Park biergarten was jammed Friday night. There was lots of foot traffic and the desired effect of creating a Royal Oak-type atmosphere is taking hold, not old racial tensions.
Resident Mike Trudel said the new marketplace will be there for everyone.
"To come over from either side of the border, anyone can take advantage of the great opportunities that are going to be happening here," said Trudel.