Southfield officials recall a Jewish lan- cities under 30,000 (Huntington Woods) did
downer in Lathrup Village named Salman, not. So when the final route was picked, it
who complained to city leaders that their ac-
went on the north side of Ten Mile (between
tion would affect his property for years if the Rackham Golf Course and Coolidge) because
highway department was not prepared to
of the large chunk already going through
buy his land immediately.
Oak Park (between Coolidge and Green-
"We couldn't buy land 5-10 years in ad-
vance," Rubin says.
"The Huntington Woods people were con-
"There was no federal cerned about land loss," Alexander says.
aid for that and it "Pleasant Ridge was vehemently, opposed
would have cost the and they sued every chance they had.
department hundreds Southfield and Lathrup were at each other's
of millions of dollars throats, as were Pleasant Ridge and Royal
across the state?'
Southfield city of-
"Huntington' Woods felt the freeway
ficials rescinded their would be a boon, but like everybody else we
approval and the dis- didn't want it in our area," he says.
cussion generated in-
Alexander recalls a bitter dispute he had
terest throughout the with Oak Park Mayor Joe Forbes over the
28-mile stretch of com- freeway route. Other Oak Park officials in-
munities in Oakland volved in the early freeway debates included
and Macomb counties. Mayor David Shepherd and Councilman
Southfield's action Sidney Shayne.
touched off the 30-year
The 10 Mile route figured in a lawsuit filed
civic and legal battle by Huntington Woods homeowner Stan
which would .eventu- Dorfman. Dorfman, who lived on Wales —
ally chaige the map of the first street north of 10 Mile — contended
Detroit's northern sub- subdivision deed restrictions allowed only
urbs, affect thousands single family homes in the area and
of lives, homes and prevented the state from taking land for a
businesses, and raise freeway. Dorfman, says Alexander, "was a
the cost of construction thorn in everybody's side," but the Michigan
of 1-696 from $110 Supreme Court ultimately agreed with him
million to $380 and forced the highway department to com-
pensate area home owners.
Southfield, although less developed, had
Alexander says home values on
already implemented portions of its master Wales today have returned to the level
plan, which sited the proposed civic center they were formerly at in relation to
complex along 10% Mile. City fathers, who other areas of Huntington Woods
then included Southfield's first Jewish coun- because of the berms and walls along
cilman, the late Norman Feder, voted to im- the freeway and because the construc-
plement the master plan.
tion is completed.
"The highway department's freeway route
Deed restrictions also forced the
was generally along vacant property, but state to seek waivers from the heirs
Southfield voted to allow high-rise apart- of Horace Rackham so that a half-
ments in those areas," Rubin says. "It didn't mile strip of golf course land along 10
make much sense after that not to use 11 Mile could be used for the freeway.
Mile Road's existing right of way."
Ultimately, Alexander says, Hun-
With individual cities along a 28-mile cor- tington Woods lost 56 homes to 1-696,
ridor pushing and shoving at the proposed amounting to 2 percent of the city's
route, it was not surprising that com- assessed valuation.
munities could not agree.
Irving Rubin feels a sense of satis-
Former Huntington Woods Councilman faction as the 1-696 freeway is completed.
Alexander says his city and Oak Park were
"We did everything reasonable to try to
exceptions — up to a point.
achieve voluntary acceptance by the com-
"Huntington Woods and Oak Park agreed munities," he says.
to a 10 Mile route. But then it was found
"The route is very much along what the
that cities over 30,000 population (Oak highway department originally proposed
Park) had to share in the freeway costs while and it shows that we did a good job.
Some motorists couldn't
wait until state
opened the highway. On
the eve of its opening, a
few cars were spotted
driving on the road.
PAUL KARLIN, 48, Oak Park
typesetting shop owner:
"For me, it meant nothing.
I've lived here 10 years just
to be where the Jewish
recommended for the
remaining sections of the
1.696 highway. This
marked the beginning of
several years of disputes
among state officials and
constructing the east
section of 1-696.
Martin Luther King and
Robert F. Kennedy were
26 , FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29, 1989