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Summer on Mainstreet

Downtown Grosse Pointe

When the Village of Grosse Pointe was accepted into the Michigan Main Street program, which assists in revitalizing downtowns, it had four goals: helping businesses grow and prosper; increasing job opportunities; encouraging and supporting development in the community; and contributing to the overall economic stability of the community. 

In March of 2021, Cindy Willcock, who has a certification in Community Transformation and Leadership Development from the Main Street America Institute, was brought on board as executive director to work towards fulfilling these goals. “I love Main Street,” she says. “I love small businesses and entrepreneurs and what they stand for. And I love working with volunteers - Main Street is a volunteer-driven organization.”

Cindy explains that the streetscapes downtown were already in good shape physically, but she and her team needed to figure out how to take it to the next level to really create that destination that everybody from in and out of the area wants to visit.  

“It should never be one person’s vision,” she says. “The reason Main Street works is because of community input and all the stakeholders sharing their ideas.”

Although there is a five-year track to get all of the goals accomplished, changes are already evident. The majority of the benches were replaced in the Village last year to encourage people to stay for a while. “For a small downtown, we've got great public gathering areas that are underutilized,” says Cindy. “So, how do we make those more attractive and encourage people to come and hang in the Village? Well, we have some fun things planned.

“We're currently partnering with an Eagle Scout candidate who’s working on a project to make some game tables for us, so we’ll have chess boards and checkerboards with drawers to store pieces. People can come out and play a game.” 

They’ve also been working on more streetscaping enhancements, such as upgrading lighting and holiday décor, adding speakers, and installing public Wi-Fi. Improving parking is on the agenda as well. 

In addition, Main Street Grosse Pointe is looking forward to bringing back events that have been on hiatus due to COVID. “We’ll have music on the Plaza on Thursday evenings from July 14th through August 18th,” she says. “That rolls right into our sidewalk Sale-Ebration weekend. We’ll have the windows of storefronts painted with the theme of ‘Things with Wings.’ The interpretations will be interesting and we’ll have a contest for both kids and adults.”

She adds, “We're creating an atmosphere where people want to spend a day, and not just go to their favorite place and leave. We want them to discover something new, meet some new people, and have some new experiences.”

Growing up and living in small towns herself, she understands the culture. “People communicate differently and have different relationships with their elected officials and their shop owners, which is neat,” says Cindy. “The residents of Grosse Pointe embrace and are so proud of their heritage and the history here.”

She is committed to ensuring this pride continues in a bustling and lively downtown. To find out more, go to