A simple question posed in 1998 by then-Cloverleaf General Manager Carol Corrie to Eastpointe Police Safety Officer Tom Ostrowski went something like this:
“What would be the possibility of a Classic Car Cruise on Gratiot?”
Officer Ostrowski was polite but not encouraging. Others responded with, ‘it will never fly’ or ‘what, are you nuts?’ But Carol persevered and here’s what happened later that year and in 1999:
- Carol Corrie invited to join the Eastpointe Roseville Chamber of Commerce, then shares the idea of the Cruise
- Carol partners with Jim Winn, business owner, Eastpointe resident, and major car enthusiast
- The first Cruise was set for June 20, 1999, setting up the precedent of holding the event at the same time every year, the Saturday before Father’s Day
- The Cruise gains support of then-Mayor Harvey Curley (who is now the current Cruise President), Eastpointe City Council and City Department Heads, and Eastpointe Police and Fire Departments.
- 'Doubting' Thomas Ostrowski, along with then-Police Chief Tom Danbert and then-Inspector Mike Lauretti, are all instrumental in getting a dedicated Cruise lane through MDOT (Michigan Department of Transportation). Lauretti later became Police Chief.
- The Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce became the umbrella organization creating the Cruise.
The First Cruisin’ Gratiot Board was named in 1999. Board members included:
Executive Director, Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber
President, Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber
Eastpointe DDA Director
Public Relations, East Detroit Public Schools
Eastpointe Police Chief
Eastpointe Traffic Safety Officer
Eastpointe Police Inspector
General Manager, Cloverleaf Bar and Restaurant