Lincoln Park is betting on new boulevards, fresh sidewalks, decorative energy-efficient lights, plantings and planters, renovated storefronts, repaved parking lots, and other changes and incentives to boost business.
The changes that are part of a streetscape project come with quite a price tag: $975,000, and the stakes are high as Lincoln Park works to show off its assets: the Detroit River, freeway access, and history. All but about $200,000 of the nearly $1 million project has been paid for by a federal transportation enhancement grant, Lincoln Park City Manager Steve Duchane says.
The streetscape project affects a wide part of the city, including its major thoroughfares of Fort and Southfield.
The improvements are in progress, some of them already done, as the city works to put on its best face for visitors and businesses.
"Our strategy is to create the proper environment for people to invest in the community," Duchane says.
In addition, he says, the city has been approved under a special state economic development program to award an additional 43 liquor licenses as a way to attract restaurants and other businesses that serve alcohol.
Besides the streetscape installation, two chuck-holed public parking lots are being resurfaced. And a facade improvement grant program approved by the Downtown Development Authority is distributing $50,000 to some 200-300 businesses to improve the fronts of their buildings, Duchane says.
The streetscape ties in to a separate venture with neighboring Allen Park and Wayne County to improve the appearance, safety and walkability of the roads that tie the communities to I-94. New lighting along the improved areas is energy efficient.
"You try to set up every asset you can so that should there be interest and the economic willingness to put some money into the community, you have the infrastructure in place to make that happen," Duchane says.
Source: Steve Duchane, city manager, Lincoln Park
Writer: Kim North Shine