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

Water Street demolition begins

Photo by Dan DuChene

Ypsilanti politicians, community members and city staffers take turns demolishing a wall of the RIM building on the Water Street Project to kick-off the demolition work taking place on the site this summer.

Remaining buildings expected to be gone by August

By Dan DuChene
May. 3, 2010    ·    7:40 p.m.

More than 50 people came out to a kick-off event held to celebrate the demolition of the remaining 15 buildings on the Water Street Project.

Those who attended the event listened to opening remarks from politicians and project supervisors, watched track excavator tear down a wall and were given the opportunity to punch holes in another wall with a sledge hammer.

“It's the next step toward making Water Street attractive to developers,” Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber said.

The city has been able to amass $850,000 in grant funding from the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to demolish buildings and remediate contaminated soil on the 38-acre site.

The project manager for the demolition work, John D'Addona of Florida-based Environment Consulting and Technology, Inc., said three crews will be working on the site simultaneously though July to complete the work. He said the 15 to 20 workers on the site started removing asbestos from buildings last week.

“We're already on our way to getting started,” D'Addona said. “You're going to see things happen pretty fast.”

Depending on the amount of money spent to complete the core demolition project, and the possibility of additional grant funding, D'Addona said only some black top and fences will remain on the site. He said if there is any money left in the budget at the end of the project, further demolition can take place.

The project incorporates recycling concrete for use as fill for basements and holes, the proposed pedestrian trail through the site and bedding for future roads on the project. Additionally, D'Addona said top-soil will be placed where buildings stood and grass seed will be laid down.

The demolition work was originally expected to begin last last year and wrap up next month after City Council unanimously selected ECT to oversee the project. D'Addona said work began later than expected due to labor stipulations with the city and grant-providing agancies.

D'Addona said the Water Street Project's site should be ideal for developers as it is open space in an urban environment near two business districts with a river surrounding much of the property.

“Once these buildings go away I think developers will start seeing those attributes,” he said.

During the event, Schreiber said the project was first undertaken more than a decade ago to help “spur development downtown.” However, he said downtown has seen redevelopment independent from the stalled development project and hopes the activity down Michigan Avenue can “spur some development on Water Street.”

The city has racked up $31.2 million in debt acquiring property, paying legal fees and refinancing bonds. The city had seen two developers come and go before deciding to sell off independent parcels on the site through real-estate brokerage firm C.B. Richard Ellis. City Council rejected the first firm offer on the site last month, a proposal to build a Burger King on the northeast portion.

Councilmembers, city staff and members of the community volunteered to swing a hammer at a wall of the first building on the site being demolished, the RIM Building.

“I've been waiting a couple years for that,” former city planner Richard Murphy said after destroying a portion of wall.

D'Addona said he and city staff planned the event to garner some support for the project.

“The community has to be behind the project,” he said. “It's been a long, arduous process.”

Not everyone at the event was there to offer their support, however. Ypsilanti resident Kurt Anschuetz expressed his frustration with event and the Water Street Project after the kick-off.

“Today we were celebrating spending another $850,000 of tax dollars on the project.” Anschuetz said in an e-mail. “I thought it was a very tacky photo-op set up by Paul.”

He said the kick-off served as an event for Schreiber's bid for re-election this summer.

“The tearing down of these buildings is meant to wipe away the memories of 42 houses and businesses that were once very important to Ypsilanti.,” Anschuetz said. “Perhaps this was a time for a memorial ceremony not a time for a celebration.”

Related articles:
Progress on Water Street
No Burger King on Water Street

The Rocket

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