Ypsilanti Citizen News Sidetrack

City Council approves all mayor's re-appointments
By Dan DuChene
Jun. 16, 2010   ·   3:42 a.m.

Jone Coleman, president of downtown business LookInTheAttic, shares his thoughts with City Council about the discussion and procedure taken to pass mayoral re-appointments, which he was being considered for the Downtown Development Authority.

After much procedure, Ypsilanti City Council approved six mayoral re-appointments to city boards and committees Tuesday, including the two postponed from earlier...read more

Council postpones two reappointments
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   4:57 p.m.

Two of Ypsilanti's volunteer board members were not reappointed on schedule Tuesday night, owing to a 4-2 vote by City Council to delay the appointments until...read more

Downtown properties to be rehabilitated
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   10:40 a.m.

The three properties located at 120, 122 and 124 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti will soon be rebuilt into commercial and office space and loft apartments, thanks to a planned $1.7 million investment by developers.

Three recently-vacated properties in downtown Ypsilanti, two of them condemned, will soon be renovated owing to recent purchase by a local development company and...read more

Ypsilanti Township authorizes litigation against Liberty Square
By Mark Tower
May. 28, 2010   ·   6:53 p.m.

Many of the homes in the Liberty Square complex on Grove Street in Ypsilanti Township are already boarded and ready for foreclosure sale. All 151 units, some of which are still occupied, will be condemned Tuesday, Ypsilanti Township has resolved.

Residents living in the Liberty Square complex of townhouses will see a sticker appear on their homes Tuesday, when the Ypsilanti Township Building Department places...read more

Ford plant granted tax exemption by township
By Mark Tower
May. 24, 2010   ·   5:44 p.m.

Ford Motor Company's Rawsonville Plan, located at the intersection of Textile and Bridge Roads in Ypsilanti Township, will soon be the new home for production of Ford's Electric Focus batteries, formerly produced in Mexico.

New machines and equipment will soon be wheeled into Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township as it begins manufacturing a line of batteries for the new global...read more

Council to dedicate more time to Water Street next year

Assistant City Manager April McGrath stands in front of City Council Monday night during a special meeting to discuss Water Street. Potential developers, new committees and plans to demolish existing buildings were talked about at the meeting. Photo by Dan DuChene

Assistant City Manager April McGrath stands in front of City Council Monday night during a special meeting to discuss Water Street. Potential developers, new committees and plans to demolish existing buildings were talked about at the meeting.
Ypsilanti Farmers Market

One meeting a month set aside for discussions on stalled project

By Dan DuChene
Dec. 16, 2008    ·    4:45 a.m.

Starting in January, City Council will be dedicating one meeting a month for Water Street discussions.

In a motion adopted unanimously by City Council last night, the group decided to meet on the fourth Tuesday of each month until June for special Water Street work sessions. They will be held at 7 p.m. on each evening.

There are two stipulations, however. The first session will be held on the third Tuesday, Jan. 20. Finally, Democratic 1st Ward representatives Lois Richardson and Mayor Pro Tem Trudy Swanson were absent at the meeting. The dates and times will need to be run by them as well.

Assistant City Manager April McGrath, who has been working on the project with City Planner Richard Murphy and other city staff, recommended the measure for City Council approval.

“This is the only time in my life I’m actually excited to create more meetings,” McGrath said to City Council. “Murphy and I already have January’s agenda full.”

The meeting last night was a special session dedicated to the discussion of Water Street. At the meeting a progress report was given, based on a City Council approved action plan for the site from May.

In September, city staff worked with the Ypsilanti Planning Commission to amend the city’s Master Plan, which allowed for the 38-acre site to be divided into several plots and developed independently. A zoning concept is expected to be put in front of City Council early next year which will stream-line zoning and usage approval based on previous concepts for Water Street.

In addition, McGrath said staff are creating an “ad-hoc advisory group” to deal with vetting development proposals presented to the city. She said local and regional developers and professionals have been discussed for the group, but no formal offers have been made.

She said this group would make recommendations to City Council regarding approving site plans.

“That’s all it will be, a recommendation,” McGrath said.

The criteria she said the group would evaluate could include viability, sustainability, quality and reusability. This group could vet any proposals that come arise from current offers for development.

Aside from discussing potential developers on the site, the City Council also unanimously approved options to clear the remaining buildings off the site.

Since June 2007, McGrath said more than $34,000 has been spent keeping the site clean through lawn maintenance and securing abandoned buildings. She said the fire department has spent nearly 300 hours on inspections and fire calls and police are forced to patrol regularly to stem criminal activity.

“A lot of man hours are going into these buildings,” McGrath said.

Aside from the cost to keep the buildings, it was also pointed out that the buildings on the site could actually be deterring potential developers away from the property.

The city applied for $600,000 worth of grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last month. McGrath estimates an additional $300,000 will be needed to complete clearing the site if the city is awarded those grants in April.

“Clearing the site means nothing more than tearing building down and minimal remediation,” she said.

Aside from demolition from EPA and city funds, two pull-barns on the property could be sold off. Additionally, there are some buildings on the site that the fire department could use for live-burn training.

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The Rocket

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