Ypsilanti Citizen News ]]>

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

Extension granted to Thompson Block

Local developer Stewart Beal addresses City Council Tuesday as they consider granting a 45-day extension on the traffic control order for his Thompson Block. Photo by Dan DuChene

Local developer Stewart Beal addresses City Council Tuesday as they consider granting a 45-day extension on the traffic control order for his Thompson Block.

Beal says work to be completed within 15 days

By Dan DuChene
Dec. 22, 2009    ·    10:58 a.m.

Ypsilanti City Council unanimously approved a 45-day extension for the traffic control order issued for the Thompson Block.

The vote took place during a special City Council meeting held 7:30 a.m. at city hall today. Despite the early hour, 16 people were sitting in the audience for the meeting.

Mayor Pro Tem Trudy Swanson, D-Ward 1, was absent from the meeting.

Five audience members addressed City Council on the sole item on the agenda. Most echoed previous remarks hoping to allow more time to rebuild the 148-year-old former Civil War barracks while restoring traffic through Depot Town.

One of those who spoke in support of approving the traffic control order was former Ypsilanti mayor Cheryl Farmer. She called City Council’s decision to postpone a vote on the matter last week a “Big disappointment.” She said work would already be underway if the decision had been made during the regular meeting last Tuesday.

“Please don’t sabotage the restoration of the Thompson Block,” Farmer said to City Council before the item came up for discussion.

City Council had postponed a decision on the extension last week to allow city staff time to review a plan to restore traffic in Depot Town, which was submitted by the building's owner, Stewart Beal, at the meeting. The schedule to have work completed by 15 days after the current traffic control order expires, which Beal stated during last week's meeting, did not change.

The sole person to speak against approving the extension, Barbra Hale, said she got no special treatment from the city when she redeveloped historic buildings in the city. She said the building has stood as an eyesore in Depot Town for several decades.

“I’m here to ask you to move on,” Hale said. “How many more years are you going to allow this?”

Beal worked with city staff after the extension was postponed by City Council last week to have a plan approved for submission by today’s meeting. The plan, which was approved by city staff, opens up traffic in both directions on River and Cross streets and allows pedestrian traffic to cross River Street north of Cross Street and continue north along River Street adjacent to the building or across to the south side of Cross Street.

Sheds will cover walkways adjacent to the building to protect pedestrians from potential hazards. The exterior scaffolding that has been supporting the building and extending into adjacent lanes of traffic on both River and Cross streets, closing traffic the respective lanes, since it was gutted in a September fire will be moved in closer to the building, allowing two 13.5-foot lanes in both streets.

The sidewalk along Cross Street adjacent to the building will still be closed, forcing pedestrians to cross to the sidewalk on the south side of Cross Street to continue in the same direction.

The current traffic control order is set to expire Wednesday.

Councilmember Michael Bodary, D-Ward 2, suggested 15 working days, as he could have more time to complete the project considering the upcoming holidays.

“Our resolution is just 15 days from the 23rd,” Beal said. “We’re committed to that.”

As Beal will be using the 45 days to engineer a way to stabilize the façade from the interior of the building, the scaffolding will likely still be occupying public property after the extension runs up. Beal will have to go in front of City Council to apply for another extension early next year.

In addition to engineering an internal approach to stabilizing the building, Beal will also need to find out if the Thompson Block, in its current state, still qualifies for historic tax credits the building has received since he took ownership with the intension to redevelop the building.

During the meeting, Mayor Paul Schreiber said he is expecting information on the matter soon.

Ypsilanti Fire Chief Jon Ichesco said he has not seen the actual plans for the project, but said he does approve the project from what he has heard. He said if the building were to collapse, it would likely collapse in itself because of the exterior supports.

Regardless, the resolution approved by City Council granting the extension requires the city be named on Beal’s insurance should anything happen.

The matter originated from the traffic control order issued by City Manager Ed Koryzno after the fire, as the supports were extending into roadway. As the 90-day order was running out of time, Ichesco issued an abatement notice, stemming from fire code violations, asking the building be demolished or the scaffolding replaced by permanent stabilization inside the building.

Ichesco said the traffic control order and the abatement notice are not actually tied to each other, but City Council can place conditions to move the matter forward.

“I feel good about it right now,” Ichesco said.

Related Article:
Beal works with city for Thompson Block plan

Ypsilanti Historical Society

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