Gas prices soar; Nicole Curtis rehab for sale; Belle Isle zoo revamp?; Fires + more
Plus ESPN to showcase Hamtramck & Detroit with Saturday's Detroit City FC match
Hey, it’s Jer.
First, thanks so much to all the people that we met at Ferndale Pride! Hundreds of you signed up for the newsletter and podcast, so welcome aboard.
Second, thanks to the people who came to our 1,000th episode happy hour on Friday. We filled up the deck at The Congregation on Rosa Parks Boulevard. Extra shout out to someone who came all the way from Toledo.
Finally, thanks to you for showing up here. As always, my thoughts on the stories below are in italics.
Fueling is the news…
» AAA announced that Michigan has the tenth-highest gas prices in the country, topping $5 a gallon. In the days since, gas prices have continued to skyrocket to a state average of $5.21. [AAA]
Experts called this “improbable” in the spring, but it’s likely now we will hit $6 a gallon by the end of the summer.
This is forcing some law enforcement agencies to pull back on the number of runs as they’re literally running out of money for gas. [Freep]
Last week, Uber and Lyft drivers held a protest at Metro Airport. Important as we don’t have strong transit connections from our airport, so there are few alternatives. [ClickOnDetroit]
38% of Michiganders were already not making their bills, according to a state report provided during a housing panel at the Mackinac Policy Conference.
My two cents: The reasons for these high prices are complex, but the bottom line for us is that in Michigan (and specifically Metro Detroit) we’re held hostage a bit more than other places because we don’t have many viable alternatives to driving. Much of our area is set up where people have to drive to get groceries, go to work or do anything; with limited transit or walkability.
What to know…
» The long-abandoned zoo on Belle Isle may get new life, but your input is needed. A survey by the Michigan DNR and MSU is looking for your thoughts on a number of ideas. We discussed the project ideas with the DNR’s Amanda Treadwell on the podcast. [Survey]
» The tower on the former Hudson’s site is ballooning in cost, and builders want more tax breaks. The all-in cost is now up to $1.4 billion, and Bedrock Real Estate is looking for another $60 million in breaks on top of the $192m+ already granted. On the flip side, a Detroit city council document claims the city will still be $71 million to the good on revenue. City council is delaying a vote on the measure to “educate residents,” with 5 of 9 indicating support. [Bridge Detroit] [Detroit News] [Crain’s] [Freep]
» What’s next for transit in Metro Detroit? In an exclusive interview, the new-ish head of SMART Dwight Ferrell joined me on the podcast to talk about the plans for the future that would take the service beyond buses; and focus on the services suburban communities want. BTW, there’s an important millage renewal vote this year.
» Ford is telling dealers to temporarily stop selling the Mustang Mach-E. The electric SUV is in high demand, but about half of them have an issue where they’ll just stop because the high-voltage connectors overheat. [CNBC]
» Detroit’s longest-running LGTBQ+ bar burned Tuesday. The Woodward Cocktail Bar just east of Woodward and south of Grand Boulevard may be a total loss. It opened in 1951. No one is believed to have been hurt. [Metro Times]
» A kitchen fire at Somerset Mall in Troy looked worse than it was. The kitchen of the Capital Grille caught fire, sending smoke billowing through the ventilation system into the food court above and causing an evacuation of the north side. The mall is mostly back open for business today. No one was injured. [Freep] [ClickonDetroit]
» We have a local James Beard Award winner! Warda Bouguettaya, who owns Warda Pâtisserie, took home top honors for outstanding pastry chef. [Eater]
If you haven’t been to Warda in midtown, now, you really have few excuses. I can personally vouch that the place is cute and tasty even before this honor.
» How do we fix flooding, for good? In a wide-ranging conversation with Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller, I talk with her about the responsibility to invest in our sewage and drainage system for future generations, a new trash collection pilot, higher water levels, and why she decided to leave congress and come back home to serve in local office.
» East side canal closures? Plans are coming together to close two of three of Detroit’s east side canals from the Detroit river to lower the flooding risk. Residents are paying far higher insurance; and federal dollars for projects are blocked for projects until the Jefferson-Chalmers area stops being a FEMA floodplain. We discuss on the podcast.
» Roseville is getting an Amazon Fresh location, as the online retail giant looks to get in the grocery game with not just delivery, but physical stores. This will be at Gratiot and Masonic, and would join stores underway in St. Clair Shores, Livonia, Troy and Rochester Hills. [Crain’s]
» Swim-up bars are now legal in Michigan. The bi-partisan law signed Tuesday provides guidelines including non-breakable containers, lifeguards, and pool filtration standards. [ClickOnDetroit]
» There’s a new Qamaria coffee location open in Allen Park. [Map]
The flavors of some of the menu items are different than your usual big chain, but embrace it. I’ll talk more about it on the podcast Friday with Devon. Below is a little Instagram reel I made about it so you can take a look. Extra points for embracing the midcentury modern vibes of the building.
» A woman in Highland Park has had her fence smashed more than ten times by drivers coming off the Davison. She’s even been hit by a car in her own yard. The reporter suggests reflective tape as a solution. [ClickOnDetroit]
I suggest bollards. A redesign of the road, too. I’ve driven this intersection. It’s near the old Highland Park Ford plant (among other things) and is far too large for today’s traffic volumes. [YouTube]
» Also in Highland Park, their city council has voted unanimously ask for the Michigan State Police and Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the seizure by city officials of a former church that was being used to legally grow medical marijuana in 2020. [WXYZ-TV]
» Three bedrooms, two baths, and nearly two million dollars: Part of the Ransom-Gillis house that was redone by Nicole Curtis a few years ago is up for sale. Brush Park, if you look at more of the listings, is becoming the city’s millionaire’s row again. [Listing] [Crain’s]
» Little Caesars is now the official pizza of the NFL. [PR Newswire]
I’m only including this to remind you that whatever you think of Little Caesars (it has a place in the pizza world), their product is NOT Detroit-style pizza. I’ve seen this confusion more than a few times. Detroit-style looks more like Loui’s in Hazel Park (my personal favorite), Buddy’s, etc. There’s a book I can’t wait to come out about the subject called “Doughtown.” [More here]
Where to go…
» Discover stories of Black Bottom ahead of Juneteenth. Angela Dillard, chair of the History Department at U of M, will lead a virtual discussion Thursday hosted by the Detroit Historical Museum about Black Bottom. It was a bastion of anti-slavery leadership and place of new beginnings for thousands of Detroiters making their way to Canada. [Free with registration]
» Speaking of Jefferson-Chalmers, Jazzin’ at the Vanity is this weekend. The free two-day jazz and blues street festival celebrates the culture and history of the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood and the historic Vanity Ballroom. Check it out on Jefferson between Newport & Lakewood on Saturday and Sunday. [Website + Lineup]
» Detroit City FC is playing El Paso Locomotive on Saturday at noon. The game will be broadcast from Hamtramck on ESPN, a first for the USL Championship. Some tickets are still available, and we have a match preview from Fletcher Sharpe on the podcast.
» Juneteenth Freedom Fest in Eastern Market. On Sunday, the Metro-Detroit Black Business alliance is commemorating the day of liberation for African Americans in our country in partnership with the city of Detroit and others. [Eventbrite]
» The immersive Van Gogh exhibit is open in downtown Detroit. Might be a good way to enjoy something and beat the heat if that’s your sort of thing. [Website]
Couple of things before I let you go. If you’ve not been here before, consider signing up for the newsletter. I try to make each newsletter count and keep you up on what’s interesting and happening in Metro Detroit.
If you value what we’re doing and can spare it, join the awesome people who have bought us a coffee for the work.
Stay cool these next couple of days, ok? It’s gonna be a scorcher feeling like more than a hundred degrees Wednesday. Check in on your people.
Remember that you are somebody, and until next time — I’ll see you around Detroit.