Thursday, June 16, 2022

Northville downtown streets to remain closed

Members of the Northville City Council voted unanimously at their June 6 meeting to continue the closure of two downtown streets through Nov. 7.

The vote came following a recommendation from members of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) to reopen North Center Street from Main to Dunlap as soon as possible but keep East Main Street closed from Center to Hutton streets.

The streets were closed in mid-2020 in response to the hardships COVID restrictions placed on downtown businesses. The closures have been extended by officials several times to provide wider access to restaurants and businesses downtown. Officials also approved a social district which permitted individuals walk through the area with alcoholic beverages as part of the effort to help local businesses.

“We gave a commitment to every business person in town to go to November,” Mayor Brian Turnbull said. “Absolutely we'll commit today to November.”

His comments were seconded by other members of the council who supported the closure but recognized that the issue will return to them later this year.

Mayor Pro tem Barbara Moroski-Browne said the traffic on Center Street and Main Street was a problem in the city prior to the COVID epidemic and would have to be addressed by council members if the streets were to be reopened

“I don't want to keep kicking the decision on the road closure down the road,” she said.

Officials requested that the DDA provide data regarding traffic, pedestrian safety, maintenance costs and other factors to aid in discussion of any future closures of the streets, periodically or seasonally, after the November date. Councilmembers John Carter and Andrew Krentz said one of the understated benefits of street closures was that it provided a safe place for families to visit, especially those with young children. 

Krentz commented that because of the unique situation in Northville, the city had become a destination for many diners and shoppers. He said the downtown area offered an atmosphere other communities have not been able to provide. 

The council members also took the opportunity to thank the more than 4,000 people who responded to a recent survey of public opinion regarding the closures. Council members also noted that downtown Northville had only a few business closings due to COVID-19.