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Michigan Ave. gets in line for major face-lift

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Michigan Ave. gets in line for major face-lift

By Jim Lynch / The Detroit News

Kathy Milberg remembers a different Michigan Avenue than the one she sees these days, and it's upsetting.

There was a time the road was a welcoming gateway into Detroit.

That's not what the executive director of the Michigan Avenue Business Association sees.

"It's pretty depressing," she said, in describing the change she notices when she crosses the Dearborn line into Detroit.

But with the help of the state's Cool Cities program, and some major roadwork planned by the Michigan Department of Transportation, motorists soon will have a more pleasant view.

Two sections of Michigan will get a face-lift in the coming months.

The first affects the stretch between I-94 and Livernois - essentially the entrance way into Detroit from Dearborn.

Additions to that stretch will include ornamental street lighting to match that found in downtown Detroit, and decorative sidewalks.

The project budget for the I-94 to Livernois section is nearly $1.5 million, with $1.2 million coming from the federal government.

The second section that will receive attention is the Corktown area - the section of Michigan Avenue between 14th Street and Rosa Parks Boulevard, near Tiger Stadium. Additional work and money will come from the Greening of Detroit, the Greater Corktown Development Corp. and the Corktown Historical Society.

The bulk of the $228,251 for that project comes courtesy of U.S. taxpayers - to the tune of $182,601. MDOT will contribute $45,650.

Streetscape work in that area will include:

* Replacing the current sidewalks with ornamental brick and new concrete.

* Decorative trash receptacles.

* New trees, tree pits, tree guards and tree grates.

The project "could include swings or park benches, a million different things," said MDOT spokeswoman Brenda Peek.

Work on both Michigan Avenue projects will run well into 2005.

Road crews already have begun work on a $17.7 million reconstruction of two miles of Michigan Avenue between I-94 and Livernois in Detroit. The grants, coupled with the overhaul of the street conditions, should help Michigan Avenue regain some of its former glory, Milberg said.

"It's going to be clean; it's going to be pleasing to the eye," she said. "It's going to be sort of like a yellow brick road into the city."

You can reach Jim Lynch at (313) 222-2069 or [email protected]

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