With that pronouncement, Mayor Greg Theokas joined with Pastor Joel Wallace and pledged support to the neighborhoods that sit on both sides of the Park-Detroit border at Kercheval and Alter Road.
Wallace is founder and rector of the Abundant Faith Cathedral, located at Kercheval and Manistique, two blocks from Alter. Theokas introduced Wallace at the Monday night city council meeting, describing him as a “key player” in the redevelopment of the area.
“We had a chance to talk about our neighborhood,” Theokas told the council. “There are many areas where we can work together to remove the blight.”
Last week, Wallace gave Theokas a tour of his church, which had been the Christian Science Church for decades. Wallace retired after 42 years with General Motors Corp. and founded his church, as well as a large community outreach program, including an anti-blight program and a food bank.
He assured Theokas he wanted to work with the Park and together, “we can make this a better place.”
The council took steps Monday night to seal a partnership with the church when it offered support for Wallace’s annual Thanksgiving food drive. Wallace told the council of his annual drive to provide turkeys for the disadvantaged in the neighborhood and asked if he could donate turkeys in the name of Grosse Pointe Park. He believed the gesture would help ensure a stronger neighborhood bond.
The council endorsed the idea, and each council member pledged a donation to the program.
City attorney Dennis Levasseur also urged residents be involved, and asked that donations be sent directly to Wallace. Donations can be made to the Abundant Faith Cathedral, 14710 Kercheval, Detroit, MI 48215.
Councilman Bob Denner praised Theokas and Wallace for taking the first steps in forging a bond between the two cities.
“I’m excited for what you’re doing and I’m looking forward to working with you,” he told Wallace. Denner is running unopposed for mayor in November and pledged to continue the dialogue initiated between Theokas and Wallace.