Efforts have been underway for months among Corktown residents to have the street in front of Mudgie’s Deli and Wine Shop named in honor Greg Mudge, the beloved owner of the restaurant who died suddenly on September 5, 2021 at the age of 46.
One obstacle to making that a reality is gaining enough support from government officials.
Debra Walker, president of the East End Corktown Block Club, tells Eater that the proposed change to add Greg Mudge Street to the signage at Brooklyn and Porter streets was struck down during a public hearing last week. She and others are planning to make a final appeal in favor of the change during the public comment portion of the City Council meeting at 10 a.m., Tuesday, November 1.
“What [Greg] did was above and beyond, and it was not just an extension of his job,” said Walker of Mudge’s many contributions to the neighborhood, including tending to the care of the park across the street from his restaurant, feeding unhoused people, and finding other ways to promote good in the city. “He’s a great restaurateur — you should have great service, you should be part of your community — but he took it to the next level.”
To aid in getting the word out, Stephen Roginson, owner of Batch Brewing Company and a longtime friend of Mudge, posted on social media over the weekend some details of the campaign advocating for the secondary street naming.
In the post, Roginson urged readers to write letters to their elected officials to support the change. The group of supporters is expected to speak out in favor of the proposal during the City Council’s regularly scheduled meeting at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, November 1.
“This corner will always be Greg’s. It’s time to make it official. [T]hanks in advance,” Roginson wrote in the post.
Mudge — also an electronic music DJ and photographer — died unexpectedly in 2021, shocking his many friends, family, and followers both locally and across the state. Oakland County’s medical examiner said Mudge died of natural hypertensive cardiovascular disease.
In the wake of his death, Mudgie’s was named on the long list for Outstanding Hospitality by the 2022 James Beard Foundation Awards.
Walker tells Eater that she and other members of the East End Corktown Block Club have been leading the petition effort to have the intersection assigned a secondary street sign shortly after Mudge’s death. According to the city, a secondary street sign is one that displays a different name than the official street name for the purpose of honorary recognition.
Getting a secondary street sign requires some doing. The city’s ordinance that outlines the requirements for obtaining a secondary street sign says that a petition must be signed by at least two-thirds of individuals who own property within 300 feet of the proposed change, along with pertinent information about the honoree, a letter from the individual’s survivors, the location of the street sign, and information stating the appropriateness of the change.
Among the requirements to obtaining a secondary street name sign, in most cases, the proposed honoree must have been deceased for at least five years, according to the city ordinance; however, exceptions can be made if a City Council member requests the change and the petition receives letters of support from at least three other City Council members. No more than five secondary street names may be assigned by the elected officials per calendar year. Petitioners must also pay an application fee. Walker tells Eater that she and other residents raised the funds needed from members of the community for the name change application.
If the city’s Legislative Policy Division determines that all criteria are met, then the City Council sets a date for a public hearing, during which time residents can chime in their feedback. After that, the elected officials can vote on whether to adopt a resolution in support of the change.
Walker says that advocates for the change were able to get written support from former City Councilwoman Raquel Castañeda Lopez, who represented the city’s sixth district (that includes Corktown) through January 1, 2022.
Walker says that after Castañeda Lopez left office, incoming City Councilwoman Gabriela Santiago-Romero also showed support of the measure. Messages sent to her office by Eater on Monday, October 31, asking for comment were not immediately returned.
A day before the City Council meeting, supporters of the effort took to social media to organize carpooling from Batch Brewery to the Coleman A. Young Building on Tuesday morning so folks can attend the meeting and make their voices heard.