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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

Downtown development districts to discuss merging

Photo by Christine Laughren

The Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority held a special meeting Tuesday to discuss the vacant executive director seat left by Brian Vosburg.

Council directs city staff to create resolution

By Christine Laughren
Jun. 3, 2009    ·    3:22 a.m.

The Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority has a lot on its plate in the coming months as it works to find an interim DDA director, a person to fill a permanent position and considers the possibility of merging with the Depot Town DDA.

A subcommittee was established at a special YDDA meeting Tuesday to establish options for an interim executive director as well as develop a framework for a possible permanent director position.

John Coleman, Darryl Daniels, Mayor Paul Schreiber volunteered to be on the committee, which would work with MSU Extension Planner Teresa Gillotti and interns at the DDA office.

Board Chair Peter Rinehart said he would like to have an interim director in place by the end of the month and a full-time director lined up in four months. However, he pointed out it took six months last time an executive director was hired.

The discussion of options follows the unforeseen departure of DDA Director Brian Vosburg, who resigned unexpectedly May 21. Vosburg’s resignation came directly after a closed session meeting by the YDDA for an employee evaluation.

Members of the YDDA did not give any reason for Vosburg’s resignation other than to say he resigned. Vosburg has been unavailable for comment. The Ypsilanti Citizen has submitted a request for a copy of his resignation letter under the Michigan Freedom of Information Act

Mayor Paul Schreiber, who was out of town during the May 21 meeting, said Tuesday he is still “extremely upset” about the “abrupt departure” of Vosburg.

“I don’t believe that this board did a very good job of communicating to our executive director,” he said at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting. “The abrupt departure of Mr. Vosburg, I think, throws us wide open and leaves us without a spine.”

Schreiber pointed to several issues the board should consider as it looks for an interim director to fill the void and begins its search for a new director.

He said the direction of the Michigan Main Street status, a process recommended as part of the city’s five-year Blueprint process, is effectively up in the air.

He also said board members should not be running the day-to-day operations of the YDDA, such as spending bond money, as many on the board have “some financial interest” in what the board does, creating a potential conflict.

Rinehart agreed with the mayor. He said he, as well as many on the board, do not wish to create a conflict of interest. He also said many who serve on the board are also business owners who don’t have time it takes to fill in some duties formally carried out by Vosberg.

One of the bigger issues discussed at the meeting was the potential for the Ypsilanti DDA and the Depot Town DDA to merge. Schreiber said the director vacancy does leave an opportunity for the two to merge.

Vosburg shared 25 percent of his time as Depot Town’s DDA director for which the DTDDA paid a portion of his salary. It is the final decision of City Council as to whether the two districts merge or not, which would result in new board appointees.

Schreiber said as a DTDDA board member, he would not recommend a merge to the Depot Town board.

“I would recommend to that board we not share the director because, as far as I know, there was absolutely no communication with the Depot Town DDA as far as the abrupt departure of Mr. Vosberg or even the pending abrupt departure of Mr. Vosburg,” Schreiber said.

The topic was also discussed by City Council Tuesday night. Councilmember Peter Murdock, D-Ward 3, brought up the idea during Council-proposed business toward the end of the meeting.

He said the two districts would remain unchanged, each with its own budget. However, there would be one board to serve both DDA districts. He called the move intra-regionalization.

“If we can’t do it internally, how can we expect it to happen externally,” Murdock said.

He requested city staff to prepare a resolution. City Manager Ed Koryzno said City Council could create a resolution retiring the existing boards and then create a new board to over-see both districts.

Councilmembers Brian Robb, D-Ward 3, and Michael Bodary, D-Ward 2, voiced approval for the idea.

“I love that idea,” Robb said. “To make them work together would be fabulous.”

After the DDA meeting, Reinhart said he personally feels merging the two districts would be beneficial for the city. He also said the YDDA would not be able to hire a full time director without dipping into its reserves.

“For years we have operated with a conjoined director,” he said. “Ultimately we should say ‘what is best for Ypsi should happen’ and we need to determine what that is going to be.”

Ypsilanti DDA member Karen Maurer said she thinks the vacant position is a great opportunity for the two districts to sit down and look at merging.

“Before we even find an interim why don’t we see what their interest in and move forward,” Maurer said.

However, many on the YDDA board, including Stewart Beal, said they had never considered that option until after Vosburg submitted his resignation.

“I don’t think anybody considered that when thinking about what happened last meeting,” Beal said. “That’s way out of left field.”

A couple members of the Depot Town DDA attended Tuesday’s meeting as well. DTDDA Board Chair Dave Wheeler said his board would most likely be discussing Vosburg’s unexpected departure at its meeting Thursday morning.

Linda French, a DTDDA board member, spoke to her feelings of merging the two districts after the meeting. She said she is uncertain of the type of representation Depot Town would get with one merged district.

“Our board has always been against it,” she said.

However, she went on to say there are pros and cons and she is willing to “talk about it.”

The Depot Town DDA is scheduled to meet at 8 a.m. Thursday at the Freighthouse.

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