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

Fate of Thompson Block postponed

Exterior scaffolding supports the facade of the Thompson Block, all that remains of the building after a September fire gutted the former civil war barracks. Photo by Citizen File

Exterior scaffolding supports the facade of the Thompson Block, all that remains of the building after a September fire gutted the former civil war barracks.
Bombadill's

City Council to decide on extension next week

By Dan DuChene
Dec. 16, 2009    ·    9:34 a.m.


The discussion between Ypsilanti City Council and the owners of the Thompson Block became heated after nearly two hours, resulting in a postponement of a decision.

Considering a 45-day extension of the 90-day traffic control order issued after the 148-year-old building caught fire in September, City Council decided to allow more time for staff to consider a plan issued by Stewart Beal that would restore two-way traffic and pedestrian crossings at the intersection.

The decision to postpone, which was moved by Councilmember Brian Robb, D-Ward 3, during City Council’s meeting Tuesday night, was split 4-3. Mayor Paul Schreiber, Mayor Pro Tem Trudy Swanson, D-Ward 1, and Councilmember Bill Nickels, D-Ward 2, voted against the measure, which brings the matter before Council during a special meeting to be held within a week.

Wooden scaffolding has been supporting the building’s remaining façade since fire gutted the building. The scaffolding extends into the west-bound lane of Cross Street and the south-bound lane on River Street in Depot Town. Traffic in those lanes, as well as the sidewalks adjacent to the building, has been closed since.

The 90-day traffic control order allowing the temporary adjustments is set to expire Dec. 23. Any extension or amendment to the order requires a vote by City Council.

Members of the community, along with several of the nine audience members who addressed City Council about the matter, have been complaining about the impact the traffic closures have had on Depot Town business and driving convenience in the city. Additionally, pedestrian traffic is legally supposed to cross River Street north of Cross Street, as the southern portion is a right-of-way for the train.

Many audience members also expressed concern that the building could be unsafe for residents, but still appreciated its history and would like to see it saved.

Beal proposed a rough plan to City Council that would move the buttresses of the support scaffolding closer to the building and allow two lanes of traffic on both Cross and River streets. He said pedestrian traffic could also be restored, possibly through the use of sheds along the sidewalk to protect people from the building.

The scaffolding, seen as a temporary stabilizing measure for the façade, would still require a traffic control order well past the extension, as it would still be located on public property. Beal said he could not make a more permanent move until the spring.

If City Council had approved the 45-day extension of the traffic control order, Beal said the work would have been completed 15 days after the current order expires, or by Jan. 7. However, he made no promises with the postponement of a decision.

Beal said he would be willing to get to work with city staff to approve a plan the next day and begin work as soon as possible, had the extension been approved. However, he said he did not want to complete work on a design approved by staff and have to remove it if City Council chose not to extend the order a day before it is set to expire.

“It could take a good amount of time for city staff and us to cooperate to get this done,” Beal said during the meeting.

Councilmember Lois Richardson, D-Ward 1, disagreed.

“I think we have a very efficient staff,” Richardson said. “I think they could get that done in time.”

Beal said “aggressive language” had been used by city staff on the matter in the past, and he saw the extension of a traffic control order as “an olive branch.” He said he didn’t want to see City Council postpone a decision on the extension, and may not meet with city staff with out it.

“We made special effort to have this plan tonight,” Fred Beal, Stewart’s father said.

After questioning from Richardson, the Beals explained they had been under the impression they could not enter the building to do any internal stabilization because of the investigation into the cause of the fire. They said they had not received notification of the ability to work on the interior until last week.

“We have shown a lot of good faith with what we have done,” Stewart Beal said. “We have put our life into this for the past 90 days.”

He said he disagrees with statements made that nothing has been done with the building. He said his company has spent every resource on preserving the façade and stabilizing the structure.

“You’re going to meet with staff,” Councilmember Peter Murdock, D-Ward 3, said. “You’re going to deal with this problem.

“That olive branch, whatever it is, still out there,” he said. “I don’t understand what the animosity is all about.”

Stewart said there was not animosity.

Nickels said he understood why the Beals might not undertake any work without an extension and hoped to see the matter resolved quickly. He said the alternative, not approving the extension and moving forward with the abatement, would also prove more timely than just approving the extension and allowing the Beals to commence work.

Public Services Director Stan Kirton said he could have engineers review the plan in a day and get back with the Beals soon.

City Hall shuts down for the holidays the day after the special City Council meeting is to be held.

After the meeting, Kirton confirmed his statement, and said he would have staff review the plan today.

After the meeting, Stewart Beal said the decision was “unexpected,” and had no further comment.

Related Article:
Thompson Building abatement proceedings move forward



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