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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

Rupert: Starkweather rehab needs more time

Ronald Rupert stands in front of City Council Tuesday to ask for an extension on his restoration work for the historic Starkweather House. Photo by Dan DuChene

Ronald Rupert stands in front of City Council Tuesday to ask for an extension on his restoration work for the historic Starkweather House.
Dr. Kimberly A. Rice DDS

Owner asks City Council to extend deadline to repair historic home

By Dan DuChene
Mar. 19, 2009    ·    3:12 a.m.

City Council is looking to extend the April deadline for completion on the historic Starkweather House.

Ronald Rupert, who purchased the house from the city in Sept. 2007, asked Council Tuesday to allow him until the end of the year to have the building restored.

City staff will be working with Rupert, a historic district commissioner, to bring something for Council to vote on at a later meeting. Rupert suggested adding benchmarks and periodic updates for Council in the agreement.

Rupert blamed unforeseen structural repairs and his involvement with the Ypsilanti Freighthouse for the delay.

“It is a grueling undertaking,” Rupert said.

The city received the home, which had been built nearly 170 years ago by the infamous local philanthropist Mary Ann Starkweather, as a donation from Arthur Campbell in July 2007. Campbell gifted it to the city to receive a tax write off after failed attempts to sell the house.

Before unloading the house, Campbell had plans to demolish the structure, which is split into three apartments, to construct several new buildings on the property. To stop the demolition the city placed a historic district on the home, which had been home to Ypsilanti inventor Elijah McCoy and a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Rupert beat our local developer Stewart Beal in a bid process and purchased the house from the city for $1 plus legal and administration costs. He had planned to invest $55,000 into the building in his original bid, but said he now estimates the cost will be $250,000.

He said he plans to keep the building’s existing apartments and have the building added to the National Register of Historic Places.

At the meeting Tuesday Councilmember Brian Robb, D-Ward 3, asked how the extension would effect the bid process.

Assistant City Attorney Karl Barr said the city could vote to extend the deadline, compel Rupert to finish the project through the judicial process or contract the work out and bill Rupert for the cost.

“The goal is to have the house done,” Councilmember Bill Nickels, D-Ward 2, said. “If that doesn’t work we can consider other alternatives.”

Robb expressed concern with how the extension would interfere with the already muddled 2007 bid process.

After receiving the bids from Beal and Rupert in 2007, City Council had originally voted to reject both requests in a split decision. Brian Filipiak, a former councilmember from Ward 3, said he took issue with the bid process because of a short time frame and changes made to the request.

Filipaiak was joined by Robb and Ward 1 Democratic councilmembers Lois Richardson and Trudy Swanson. Robb, however, said he voted the bids down because he was not in favor of the whole process.

"We're not in the business of flipping houses," Robb said at the 2007 meeting. "Time will pass and the house will revert back to Mr. Campbell."

The agreement reached with Campbell had a stipulation that would have had the house go back under Campbell’s ownership if the city could not sell it in six months.

However, Filipiak brought the issue back before City Council at the next meeting and voted to accept Rupert’s bid because he said his problems with the bid process had been adequately explained by staff.

Ypsilanti Historical Society
SESI Motors

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