Romulus seeks to revitalize its historic city center

ROMULUS, Mich. – The City of Romulus seeks to bring life back to its historic city center. Like many other communities, the COVID-19 pandemic has hit businesses hard, forcing some to close permanently.

If you drove the stretch of Goddard Roadyou will notice that several of the storefronts seen in the video player above are empty.

The city’s Downtown Development Authority is working to change that by buying up old buildings, fixing them up and renting them out to small business owners looking to expand.

Romulus Mayor Robert McCraight says he sees opportunities where others see vacancies.

“The city made the investment about 15 years ago,” McCraight said. “To reinvest with all new infrastructure, brick pavements and road works.”

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The construction process slowed down some businesses, then the pandemic hit, causing many others to close.

Now, high-end warehouse salon owners Carol and Vincent Lewis are gearing up to reopen.

” We went Detroit to get live entertainment, food and drink,” Carol Lewis said.

The once-destroyed building seen in the video player above was bought and renovated by the Lewises which would become what they were looking for, a place to eat, drink and enjoy live music at their establishment.

“When I first moved in, every storefront was built up,” Art Herber said.

A few minutes away, Local 4 met Herber at Artisan Reserve Inc., which happens to be one of his favorite craft breweries.

“From one economic downturn to the next, it just started to go away,” Herber said.

McCraighter sees the possibilities, as does Brian Bush of Artisan Reserve Inc.

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“Romulus is open for business,” Bush said. “The city is big; the community and people are great.

Bush and his mentor, Richard Kasaba, turned their passion for brewing into a brick-and-mortar business by renting space in the city.

When he looks out, Bush says he sees endless possibilities.

“The sky’s the limit,” Bush said.

City leaders are hoping to bring more incubator companies like Artisan Reserve to town, and they’re finding federal funds to help bring life and people back.

“Anyone who has a great idea and a viable business solution that works and will bring people to our downtown, that’s who we’re looking to attract,” McCraight said.

On June 3, The Upscale Warehouse Lounge will reopen at 5 p.m. with Sharon Love Jones and Friends performing at 9 p.m.

The Lewises hope more small business owners will join them in providing spaces for residents.

City leaders don’t yet have a date for the job fair, but say residents have expressed a lot of interest in the retail spaces and restaurants.

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David H. Henry