CITY OF GROSSE POINTE — Addressing the need to prevent customers from interacting with school children, Kroger will cover 100 percent of the cost of constructing a privacy fence between its parking lot at 16919 Kercheval and the Maire Elementary School playground.
“The Kroger Company of Michigan is proud to fully fund our shared fence with Maire Elementary School,” a statement by Kroger reads. “We recognize and understand the safety and privacy concerns of the students while on the playground and wanted to further show our commitment to the families and citizens of Grosse Pointe. We look forward to the completion of the project in the coming months.”
Replacing the current chain-link fence will be a $28,453 six-foot wooden fence along the section of lot with parking spaces that directly border the playground equipment. The section of fence between the Kroger lot driveway and ball field will remain in place in consideration of the line of sight for both drivers and children who may exit a gate there.
The fence’s construction comes after a year of advocacy for its need by the Maire PTO.
“We’re really thankful to Kroger for stepping in and helping us out with that,” Maire PTO President Eileen Proudlock said. “This was a big expense that would have eaten away at a lot of other things we like to do within our school.”
Because the fence is less than seven feet in height, it does not require state permitting. The Grosse Pointe Public School System Board of Education approved its construction 6-0 in October.
“I think going back six to eight years and various discussions about what the city might do with that piece of property or Maire parents’ concerns about the parking lot there, that chain-link fence between the parking lot and the playground has been a concern for a long period of time,” Trustee David Brumbaugh said prior to the vote, “so big kudos to the PTO and to Kroger for stepping up and looking for a solution.”
Main Street Grosse Pointe, working in collaboration with the City and school district, has long-term plans to extend the fence down the length of the alley behind Kercheval businesses, an effort which could include the incorporation of public art or similar aesthetic additions.
“One of the things that we always look at is not just how businesses and how our downtown looks from the front, but also how does it appear from the back,” MSGP Director Cindy Willcock explained, “and in these areas where there’s parking behind, we especially want to make sure that our rear alleyways and entrances are just as attractive and pedestrian-friendly and aesthetically pleasing.”
While the project likely is a few years out, she added, it is within MSGP’s five-year plan.