NORTHVILLE, Mich. – During the height of COVID, Northville decided to close off its downtown to traffic to give its restaurants a fighting chance at survival.
“We kept 96% of our businesses in business,” said Mayor Bryan Turnbull. “That stat across the country is 42% of the businesses went out of business. We did everything we could.”
People flocked downtown and ate outside in the cold. Downtown had a party atmosphere. That kind of turnout has waned since we’re past masks and forced outdoor dining.
Some residents want to see downtown reopened to traffic, and neon signs have started popping up declaring, “It’s time, let’s open Northville.”
The Northville City Council has considered whether to make a change.
“I think it is causing people to take sides, and we have enough of that already,” said Julie Cole, who owns the Great Harvest Bakery. A compromise would be terrific.”
Most, not all, of the restaurants would prefer it remain closed to cars so they can keep expanded dining outside. Other businesses say it’s hard on them, and those who live in the immediate vicinity of downtown are tired of the traffic whizzing down their residential streets.
On Monday (April 3), Northville’s City Council is expected to take a vote on what to do.
Mayor Turnbull thinks a compromise could be in the offering, closing downtown to cars during the summer months but returning to cars in the winter.