Ypsilanti Citizen News Lincoln Schools

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

East or west?

Groups are beginning talks about which side of the tracks they want the platform to be on for the light rail train expected to stop in Depot Town beginning in October 2010. Photo by Christine Laughren

Groups are beginning talks about which side of the tracks they want the platform to be on for the light rail train expected to stop in Depot Town beginning in October 2010.

Discussion begins on where to place passenger train platform in Depot Town

By Christine Laughren
Feb. 19, 2009    ·    12:14 a.m.

An initial discussion has begun in Depot Town regarding the placement of a platform for the light rail passenger train expected to stop in town starting in October of 2010.

The Depot Town Association started the discussion at its monthly meeting Wednesday night regarding the regional rail service in the Ann Arbor – Detroit corridor.

The issue is whether the platform would be located on the west or the east side of the tracks. If the platform were located on the west side of the tracks passengers would likely utilize the Rice Street parking lot near Frog Island Park. If it were on the east side of the tracks passengers would use the Maple Street lot.

The City as a whole has had little discussion surrounding the issue and public meetings are in the works yet differences in opinion as to which side the platform should be on are already starting to surface.

Owners and operators of Aubree’s Pizza have said they would prefer the platform on the east side of the tracks. Andy French, son of Bill and Sandee French and chief financial officer for Aubree’s, said patrons of the restaurant typically utilize the two-hour parking behind the building on Market Place and tend to spill over into the Rice Street parking lot during peak business hours.

French said at Wednesday’s meeting, the Rice Street lot would better serve customers who are frequenting the area businesses as opposed to commuters who may not.

“We really believe that this train could be a huge benefit and a big success,” he said. “And if this is a success and we don’t plan for this properly, we could end up regretting this and putting a lot of strain and pressure on, not just ourselves, but the other businesses in Depot Town.”

Gary McKeever, president of the DTA agreed. He said when the passenger train stopped in Depot Town years ago commuters would take up parking spaces best suited for patrons of the local businesses.

“People that got on the train, went to Detroit, came home, jumped in their cars and left,” he said.

Two-hour parking was not implemented in spaces behind Aubree’s and near the freighthouse the last time the train stopped in Depot Town and City Council member Pete Murdock, D- Ward 3, said there is more than just parking to consider.

“The issues I think are bigger than just the parking,” he said. “The issues, I think, are how are we going to integrate this train to maximize the economic development of the Depot Town neighborhood.”

Murdock said he is open to having the platform on either side, but suggested people who park on the west side would be more likely to utilize Depot Town and the summer Farmers’ Market near the freighthouse.

Corinne Sikorski, general manager of the Ypsi Food Co-op, said she is concerned about parking and suggested her preference for the east lot but also raised the issues of accessibility to Depot Town.

The Maple Street lot, built by the Depot Town Development Authority, is approximately two blocks away from Depot Town, tucked into a small piece of land at the end of the street. It is a $500 fine to cross the tracks, for a more direct route to Depot Town.

Murdock said an overpass, likely constructed on the City’s dime, could be considered. He also said a pedestrian gate could also be a possibility, though, he said owners of rail lines tend to steer clear of those.

Dennis Dahlmann, who owns several hotels and office buildings in Ann Arbor, owns Ypsilanti’s former train depot. Murdock said that depot does not meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards because it is too close to the rail.

Murdock and other city officials met with the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments recently to discuss the passenger line, which will stop in Depot Town four times on weekdays and three times on Saturdays and Sundays. He said SEMCOG has no preference as to which side the platform is on, nor do owners of the rail, Norfolk Southern and Canadian National Railroads.

He said SEMCOG would like to have the city’s preference in the next three to five months. City staff is developing a process for determining the answer and plans to facilitate some meetings to hash out the issue.

Light rail background
View a video describing the Ann Arbor to Detroit Rail Service by clicking here.

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