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

HRC asks for mediation of 'Ypsitucky' discussion

Photo by Christine Laughren

The Human Relations Commission asked for more time to discuss the name of the Ypsitucky Jamboree after groups argued for and against the name.
Ypsilanti Farmers Market

Depot Town CDC to discuss name at its next meeting

By Christine Laughren
May. 19, 2009    ·    9:43 a.m.


Ypsilanti’s Human Relations Commission hopes to have a mediated discussion between those for and against the name of the Ypsitucky Jamboree.

City Council chambers at City Hall was overflowing with community members voicing their opinions surrounding the “Ypsitucky” branding of the bluegrass festival at a special HRC meeting Monday evening.

HRC Chair Clifford Larkins said it is important for the groups to have representatives arguing both sides of the issue, sit down and hash out the problem.

“There’s got to be some sort of compromise that can be made,” Larkins said after the meeting. “It’s definitely not impossible.”

As it stands, the bluegrass festival, donning the name “Ypsitucky Jamboree” is scheduled for Sept. 4 and Sept. 5 in Riverside Park. The event was created by the Depot Town Community Development Corporation, a non-profit, which operates Riverside and Frog Island parks, to raise money for the preservation and maintenance of the local parks.

Erik Dotzauer, director of the DTCDC said the name Ypsitucky ties into a destination marketing campaign the organization is attempting to do, which reaches out to a younger demographic.

“We see the term in and of itself as kind of lighthearted, tongue and cheek and somewhat humorous; it really seems to resonate with the crowd we are actively marketing to,” Dotzauer said. “One of the things we didn’t anticipate is a collective group of small people that vigorously opposed the name of the festival.”

After a brief presentation from members of the DTCDC, Deputy City Clerk
Ed Golembiewski ran through lists of dozens of area residents wishing to speak for and against the name.

Kent Baumkel said, while she is supportive of the DTCDC, she does not support the name Ypsitucky.

“I do not live in Ypsitucky I live in Ypsilanti and I want to see the Ypsilanti brand, a name which city and township share, promoted and strengthened,” Baumkel said. “I believe the Depot Town CDC exhibited poor judgment in selecting this loaded, stereotypical term used for the past 50 to 60 years to convey disrespect and contempt for Ypsilanti citizens migrating from the southern United States.”

Sheila Miller, co-owner of Simply deVine Cards & Gifts on west Michigan Avenue, said she and her husband are from the south. She said she would have “seriously reconsidered” starting a business in Ypsilanti had the name Ypsitucky been in place prior to her store opening.

“I do not feel this is in the best interest of a branding and that’s what we’re trying to do,” she said. “The one word means so much and just look at the dissention one word has brought tonight.”

Many supporting the Ypsitucky name were wearing Ypsitucky stickers provided by the Corner Brewery. Rene Greff, co-owner of the brewery said she and her husband Matt have been planning to make a bourbon called the “Ypsitucky Barrel Bourbon.”

“It didn’t dawn on us in discussing it that there would be a conflict,” she said. “And I think there is a bit of a generational thing going on that has taken people on both sides of the gap a little by surprise.

Greff said when she thinks of Ypsitucky she envisions a welcoming, down-home feel.

“It hasn’t meant having old pick-up trucks in your backyard, it has meant all of the positive things of having a southern heritage,” she said. “And I’m sure that’s what the organizers (of the jamboree) had in mind.

The DTCDC has invested a little under $1,000 in initial marketing for the jamboree. Dotzauer said the issue of the Ypsitucky name would most likely be revisited at the organizations next meeting, scheduled for Wednesday.

Assistant City Attorney Karl Barr said there is no official complaint filed against the DTCDC. He said the next step is to find representatives from the DTCDC board as well as opposing citizens who could mediate the issue.

Larkins said he would rather the two sides meet and discuss the issue as opposed to the HRC making a recommendation to City Council.

“What we would prefer to do is negotiate and figure out a compromise,” he said. “There must be a compromise I can see both sides of this issue and to me it’s fairly clear that there are some pros and cons on both sides.”



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