(Crystal A. Proxmire, 3/20/2011)
On Monday, March 14, 2011 Tami Salisbury of the 8 Mile Boulevard Association (8MBA) gave a presentation about how the organization helps to beautify, preserve, and restore the 8 Mile corridor, which forms the southern border of our city. Ferndale is one of 13 communities that partners with the 8MBA, which started in 1993.
The Association covers 27 miles of the road, stretching from I 94 to I 273. This stretch holds around 1,700 businesses, is part of three counties, and is used by over 100,000 vehicles each day.
Salisbury spoke about the organization’s programs and accomplishments, including:
~Façade Improvement Program. “Just like blight can be contagious, so is beautification,” Salisbury said. 8MBA provides grants to give local businesses face-lifts, that benefit the whole community. Those who remember the bright yellow building at 8 Mile and John R. in Hazel Park might now rest their eyes on the multi-colored facade of Economy Appliance. This and other improved properties can be seen here – http://eightmile.org/demo/demo/Html/. Design plans are also in the works for improvement at a Ferndale business on 8 Mile, Salisbury said.
~Clean the D. This annual cleanup events brings people together from all the 8 Mile communities for special projects such as picking up trash, removing illegal signage and painting every fire hydrant along the corridor. The next Clean the D takes place May 7, 2011. The Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce is one of many participants in this tradition. Check www.eightmile.org for details as this event approaches.
~Median Lawn Cutting. Salisbury seemed particularly proud of the way 8MBA organized a plan for keeping the median of Woodward Avenue beautifully mowed. The Michigan Department of Transportation was responsible for upkeep of the medians, but due to budget restrictions the corridor was only getting mowed three times a year. The Association solicited help from the cities and now the City of Southfield regularly mows from Dequindre West, and the City of Warren mows from Dequindre East. She said that keeping the median clean and mowed makes it easier for them to ask business owners to give their properties the same care.
~Title Holding. Salisbury announced that 8 Mile Boulevard Association is now able to become title holder for properties that they are able to buy or have donated. They can fix up the buildings to be resold.
~Corridor Keeper Program. This is an intensive outreach program that encourages businesses to comply with exterior codes. The 8MBA has visited every business on 8 Mile at least twice in the past 20 months. Salisbury said that 53% of them had violations when the program started, and that the number has been reduced to 25%. 8MBA acts as a resource for businesses and a liaison between them and the Cities. “Code enforcement are excited about this program because it offers solutions, not just going after people,” she said.
~Illegal Sign Removal. Another part of the Corridor Keeper Program designed to keep the street clean is the removal of illegal signage. In a 20 month period, 8MBA took down over 11,000 illegal signs. Salisbury noted that illegal sign-posting is a $1,250 fine, and she hopes to work more with area police departments to have the ordinances enforced and violators ticketed.
~Virtual 8 Mile. At http://lunatech-3d.com/3d8mile.php visitors can do a virtual tour of the corridor and examine things like properties for sale (with easy access to details of each), bike paths, bus stops and times, and many other useful features for those hoping to get to know 8 Mile better.
Other 8MBA projects include Beautification Awards, and an annual Golf Outing Fundraiser. For more information on The 8 Mile Boulevard Association, check out their website at www.eightmile.org.