Ypsilanti Citizen Community Sidetrack

Volunteers prepare for Ypsi PRIDE Day
By Mark Tower
May. 13, 2010   ·   7:09 a.m.

Volunteers and W.H. Canon employees plant flowers in Depot Town while Ypsilanti resident Mike Labadie repairs the planter's brick work on Ypsi PRIDE Day last year.

Each year, residents in and around the city of Ypsilanti carry on a tradition started by a group of community members enrolled in a city leadership program, a sort...read more

Bicycles zoom as flowers bloom
By Citizen staff
Apr. 30, 2010   ·   2:11 p.m.

Riders from last year's spring ride come in after a long trip. Bike Ypsi’s 2010 Spring Ride and Festival is from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sunday at Recreation Park (1015 Congress Street).

The weather has turned, the trees are budding and the flowers are popping out of the ground; time for a cruise through town. But don’t be so quick to hop in the...read more

Sheriff Clayton visits Ypsilanti Township
By Mark Tower
Apr. 29, 2010   ·   12:59 p.m.

Ypsilanti Township resident Kathleen Hanadel takes notes as her and other residents attempt to asses WCSO services Tuesday evening at a community forum held at the township's community center.

About 50 Ypsilanti Township residents gave the Washtenaw County Sheriff Office their input about law enforcement in the community Tuesday evening.

The information...read more

Local photographer raising funds for Ypsi Project exhibit
By Adrienne Ziegler
Apr. 20, 2010   ·   2:20 a.m.

Ypsilanti resident Nicholas Beltsos his grandson Demetrios were photographed by Project Ypsi photographer Erica Hampton during a bike ride she took Monday. A former EMU economics professor, Beltsos and his family moved to Ypsi from Dearborn in 1967.

Ypsilanti has many faces, and Erica Hampton wants to share a few of them with you.

Over the past year, Hampton created the The Ypsi Project, a series of portraits...read more

Savoy taking shape as live music venue
By Dan DuChene
Apr. 17, 2010   ·   2:38 p.m.

Local funk band Third Coast Kings play in Ypsilanti's newest live music venue, Savoy, Friday night.

Ypsilanti's newest concert venue is preparing for its grand opening weekend April 23, more than a month after its soft opening March 13.

Formerly Club Divine,...read more

Guest speaker encourages Ypsi to find niche

Brian Friedman, executive director of Northeast Shores Development Corporation of Cleavland Ohio, discusses his community's implementation of revitalization through arts and entertainment at What is That Gallery Wednesday evening. Photo by Christine Laughren

Brian Friedman, executive director of Northeast Shores Development Corporation of Cleavland Ohio, discusses his community's implementation of revitalization through arts and entertainment at What is That Gallery Wednesday evening.

Friedman discusses 'From Rust Belt to Artist Belt

By Christine Laughren
Dec. 11, 2008    ·    2:56 p.m.

Ypsilanti’s shopping districts are not going to win on the convenience factor. It is all about finding a niche, sticking to it and driving at it. Focus, focus and focus some more.

“Everything else will fall into line,” according to Brian Friedman, executive director of the Northeast Shores Development Corporation.

Friedman gave a presentation, Rust Belt to Artist Belt, organized by the Downtown Association of Ypsilanti and What is That Gallery (130 W. Michigan Ave.) Wednesday evening at the gallery. The CDC director discussed how Northeast Shores, a non-profit in a Cleveland, Ohio neighborhood, has revitalized the region into a vibrant arts community while increasing homeownership.

Friedman said after a decade of pushing his North Shores Collinwood neighborhood as an arts and entertainment community people are now coming out of the woodwork to open businesses and buy homes.

But Friedman emphasized it takes patience, persistence and focus to be successful. He also said the community has to be authentic.

“Lead your category, in our case it’s arts and entertainment, and keep it authentic,” Friedman said. “If it isn’t real, people will know.”

Northeast Shores Development Corporation has invested more than $28 million into the Collinwood neighborhood over the last 10 years according to its Web site. Friedman said he thinks the arts and entertainment marketing has been successful because it is branded by the artists and not his CDC. He said the CDC provides funds for ads and other marketing but leaves the artists to design the ads and organize events.

“I’m not the brand,” he said pointing to an examples of event ads designed by local artists. “You never saw the Northeast Shores Development Corporation logo in any of the ads.”

Friedman also said a business district needs a leader or a “quarterback” to get things happening in the community, even if not all the businesses are on board with a particular idea.

“Something happening is better than death by committee,” Friedman said to the group comprised of several downtown business owners. “Compromise boils down to generic nothingness."

Leslie Austin, co-owner of What is That Gallery, said she thinks a big problem is the City is splintered with different organizations and merchant groups. But Friedman clarified businesses should not be relying on organizations such as the Ypsilanti Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce to get people shopping in downtown.

He said it is up to the business owners to take the reigns and control their own destiny.

“You guys want the district marketed, market the district; you have to be driving at it,” Friedman said. “It is not the Chamber of Commerce’s job to drive traffic in the door.”

Marla Queen, who owns The Queen’s Residence Bed & Breakfast (220 S. Huron St.) with her husband Joe, said she wanted to see an organization like Northeast Shores in Ypsilanti.

“So the question is how do we get an organization like you here?” she asked.

Friedman said it is up to the businesses.

“You guys are here, build off that,” he told the small group of merchants, residents and community organizers who attended the event.

Finally, Frieman said businesses have to be patient and consistent with their marketing and events. He said a yearly shopping event in the Waterloo Arts and Entertainment District was poorly attended the first year and, though, that first year was a little disheartening the event has grown each year since it started.

“An event that use to take me 15 minutes to get through now takes three hours,” he said.

When the Northeast Shores Development Corporation was founded a decade ago Friedman said 60 percent of the property in the Collinwood neighborhood was vacant. But three months ago Friedman said his CDC reached the tipping point, where there are now more people interested in space than there are spaces available.

Dave Curtis, owner of Club Devine, Pub 13 and the soon to be opened J Neil's Mongolian Grill, said he agreed with Friedman and thought the conversation was exactly what businesses in Ypsilanti should have.

“A lot of the things he said were right on,” Curtis said after the meeting.

For more details Northeast Shores Development Corporation visit www.northeastshores.org.

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