Nearly 40 residents from Dearborn’s Cherry Hill, Fairlane and West Dearborn Center Areas met for the city’s final Wednesday night, calling for increased recreation options and an improved downtown area in the west end.
The gathering at was the last of three geographically divided to gauge residents’ opinions on their respective neighborhoods.
Unlike the previous two meetings– focusing on east Dearborn and on the Princeton-Carlysle and Edison-Snow neighborhoods–Wednesday night’s included little talk regarding rental properties. Instead, residents focused on reviving the west end’s downtown area with small businesses and creating additional parks and trails to attract more pedestrian traffic.
Resident Michele Westcott said more small businesses in the west end would help increase foot traffic, creating a snowball effect for even more shops.
“If we have lots of little stores like that, you would go to one and then go to more, even if you were running errands,” she said.
But barriers remain. The Michigan Avenue corridor’s high prices make many small business owners wary, Bridget Wilkie said. Wilkie owns Smoocheese, a gourmet cheesecake company she runs entirely online.
“I have a small business and I could never afford to be (on Michigan Avenue),” she said.
An added barrier to the shops and foot traffic so many Dearbornites want is Michigan Avenue itself, Wilkie said. The street’s 35 mph speed limit may be ideal for commuting, but it’s also another detractor for pedestrians. Wilkie said the speed limit should be lowered in the downtown area.
“Make it similar to Birmingham,” she said. “Woodward is fast and Old Woodward is slow.”
The transportation discussions didn’t end there, however. Dozens of residents agreed the city needs to become friendlier not only to pedestrians, but also to bicyclists. And to introduce student housing onto ’s campus magnify the problem.
“We’re going to have students here,” Morley Avenue resident Abhay Vadhavkar said. “And how do students get around?...That bike path behind Andiamo is not safe. It’s not well-lit.”
Along with additional bike paths, residents called for a better range of recreational options–particularly for youth. Helena Thornton, who lives near Marshall and Rosevere, suggested skate parks, canoe rentals and community ponds.
“These kids have nowhere,” she said.
A final point of interest was beautifying some of Dearborn’s busiest streets, particularly Ford Road and Telegraph Road. Among other ideas, residents suggested removing billboards and adding trees or other natural buffers between the roads and adjacent businesses.
“We have beautiful neighborhoods,” said Westcott, who lives in Dearborn Hills. “But Telegraph looks like a series of truck stops.”
A will be held at 7 p.m. on Sept. 20 at the .