Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Council votes down Easthope/Johnson resolution

22. March 2005 • Murph
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At tonight’s City Council meeting, the resolution by Easthope and Johnson to set aside three city-owned sites in their entirety as greenway parks was voted down, with Johnson and Easthope voting in favor and all other Council members and Mayor Hieftje voting against in front of an overflow audience.

The resolution’s advocates in the crowd exercised such tactics as calling for “everyone who supports a greenway to stand,” booing a student who spoke against the resolution, and clapping after Easthope’s opening comment on the resolution until Mayor Hieftje made them stop, and said that clapping was not appropriate during the meeting. This was followed by most of the Council members who voted against the resolution to emphasize that they were not voting against a greenway, but against the particular timing of this particular proposal.

More comment later; a number of other bloggers were in attendance, as well as Ann Arbor News and Michigan Daily reporters.

EDIT, 22 March, 10:30am:For anyone interested in watching the meeting on CTN, rebroadcasts are scheduled on Channel 16 at,

> Tuesday, 22 March, 1:30pm.
> Friday, 25 March, 7:00pm.

Public comment is at the very beginning of the meeting./EDIT

Discussion of the resolution began at 0:45-1:00 into the meeting, and ended around 1:30-1:45 into the meeting. (The meeting started 15 minutes late and there was a 15 minute closed session with the City Attorney, and I don’t know how these delays are factored into the rebroadcast, so these times are fairly imprecise.)

EDIT, 22 March, 12:45pm: The Ann Arbor News’ article on the Council’s decision, Council declines to save lot for greenway, estimates the crowd at around 180 people, and includes several quotes predicting next steps:

Margaret Wong, the co-chairwoman of Friends of the Ann Arbor Greenway, told the council after its vote that the public won’t get a real greenway unless they speak up.

“Public interest is growing fast,” Wong said. “The debate has really just begun.”

Sierra Club-Huron Valley Group Co-Chairman Doug Cowherd, who attended the meeting, said he will now rally his supporters to go to the streets to get a petition signed in favor of a full-fledged greenway.

Cowherd said the Friends of the Ann Arbor Greenway already has a petition with 600 signatures. He said the group is adding 30 supporters a day. Cowherd said he hopes to be back in front of the council in April with 2,000 signatures.

“If we continue to add support at that rate, it would be hard even for this anti-greenway council to stop a greenway,” Cowherd said. “Public response will determine whether the council’s continued stall on the greenway will be fatal or whether public interest will be so strong, they’ll be forced for the first time to hold public hearings.”
. . .
Council Member Leigh Greden, D-3rd Ward, said the city could put an artists’ center on 415 W. Washington and some residential housing on 721 N. Main St. and still have plenty of green space, too.

“I’m confident we will create a real viable greenway in this town,” Greden said. “This is not a vote for parks or development.”
. . .
Council Member Margie Teall said there had to be a middle ground.

“The real issue to me is compromise and balance,” said Teall, D-4th Ward. “In some form, this (greenway) is going to happen.”


  1. What a bunch of clowns. All content aside, I do not understand how the Friends think their consistently immature behavior at public meetings is going to woo anyone to their cause. Unless of course they are grown-up, mellowed-out 1960s student activists trying to re-live their glory days of taking-on “The Man” in between bouts of polishing the Volvo and shopping at Whole Foods.
       —Brandon    Mar. 22 '05 - 04:14AM    #
  2. Thanks for covering this so well, Murph. I’m a little embarrassed to hear about the behavior of the OWS/Friends advocates, but I guess the whole point of the Easthope-Johnson resolution was that public debate is inappropriate and the city ought to spend a couple million on a neighborhood park here and there without any civic dialogue.
       —Matt    Mar. 22 '05 - 04:24AM    #
  3. I’m sorry I missed it. I did stop by but was told there weren’t letting any time for open input so I ditched in favor of writing my capstone tonight. I regret that I didn’t stand in solidarity with the student that was booed, I heard the speaches against were quite articulate.
    I learned in the process that more community process could be facilitated by this blog and I think it played an important, if not decisive role. I think that we shouldn’t be complacent just because this was voted down. From my part, this wasn’t just about defending the DDA’s plan even though I preffer it, but it also started to become a dialogue on who should the city be really looking out for. The arts community in exile were mentioned as a stakeholder group possibly hurt by the exclusive greenway plan. Their plight was given lip service by the Mayor and the DDA but I think their needs require promotion by community advocates at large (us), or else it risks becoming its own straw argument. We should be watching how this debate onfolds and join with some artists in the old tech center to create support for a plan to bring to the city that includes affordable art spaces on the Washington st. service yard.
       —dsomers    Mar. 22 '05 - 05:23AM    #
  4. Well-said Murph.
    Dsomers has also hit an important thing here, and that is that opposing the greenway isn’t about hurting the quality of life in the central ann arbor area, it’s about making that quality accessible to everyone who wants to be there.
       —Dan Faichney    Mar. 22 '05 - 07:00AM    #
  5. similarly, portraying the greenway advocates as anti-development is disingenuous. being for the greenway is not begin against development. the key piece of the dda plan that is objectionable, and the only piece which overlaps with the greenway, is the parking structure at first/william.

    * i’m for creating a more livable downtown. more residences, more business, more vibrancy.

    * i’m against building in fema-denoted floodways, creating parking for needs which have yet to be quantified.

    the dda and the friends plan each deal with three parcels of land, but on only one of those is there usage conflict. it’s not either one plan or the other – both can, and likely will, be modified to accomodate additional input, and civic/community needs.
       —bob kuehne    Mar. 22 '05 - 01:35PM    #
  6. Good! I’m glad. I like the idea of a greenway and of prohibiting construction in the floodway, but this proposal was half-baked at best and didn’t address either of those issues.

    And Bob, can I request that you use your shift key please? it makes your posts hard to read otherwise. Thanks. :)
       —KGS    Mar. 22 '05 - 01:44PM    #
  7. Bob, it’s not just the Three Site Plan that the Easthope/Johnson resolution is in conflict with; as dsomers mentions, there are also other interests looking at the two city yards. There’s been talk of rehabbing some of the (historic) buildings on 415 W. Washington into studio space for artists, replacing some of that lost in the old Tech Center; there’s also been an affordable housing group interested in building on the high ground on 721 N. Main. Like the DDA, neither of these groups is anti-greenway, and all of those suggestions are not “something instead of a greenway,” or even “something instead of a park,” but instead “something in addition to a park along the greenway.”

    I found it interesting, sitting in the overflow row of Council chambers last night during their discussion, how vocally (though quietly) some of the resolution’s supporters responded to every comment by a Council member. Simple, factual statements such as, “This is not an issue of parks versus parking structures, but a park and a parking structure versus a larger park, or a park and arts space versus a larger park,” drew noises of shock and disgust from some of the people I was sitting near. At least Cowherd, sitting next to me, was sitting quietly while he took notes on which Council members dared defy him.
       —Murph    Mar. 22 '05 - 01:56PM    #
  8. Pretty interesting meeting last night.

    I learned quite a bit:

    1. Easthope told us directly…and I mean directly…that he was doing what he thought was best for his ward. I have to say that I have an awful lot of respect for him for admitting that. This is as big of a NIMBY (or is it IMBY?) smoking gun as you are ever going to see. He told us that it is every man/woman (ward) for itself in so many words. Those of you who have either taken Econ classes or Poly Sci classes that focus on negotiating….or have seen Russell Crowe’s research proposal in “Beautiful Mind”, remembering the hot blonde….know that ‘every man for himself’ leads to mediocrity and often stalemate. Not good.

    2. Carlberg openly admitted that affordable housing, as laugable as the city’s definition of ‘affordable’ is, is impossible in the downtown area without subsidies. While I applaud her for recognizing this, I find it very difficult to understand why some of our citizens cannot see the cause and effect both their unwillingness to hold to any long term Master Planning, their strange obsession with short buildings, and their desire to make even more buildable land into parks.

    3. Pretty neat that AAIO, Arbor Update, Past the…, the Bunker, and other great local blogs have reached the point that they are fostering public discussions of local issues. Kudos.

    4. It’s also great that the Urban Planning students were recognized at the meeting. They would do well to listen to you more.

    5. Now that I have heard more about the proposed greenway: have any of you aside from Brandon (or was it Murph?) walked along the proposed route. It should be called “Indiana Jones’ Green Walk of Death”. How do they propose to widen the path, get over the myriad roads that cross its path every few hundread yards? And don’t forget the creosote. Better give your kids a bullwhip and a sidearm before you send them on a walk along this thing. OK, a little hyperbole…but I’m really hoping that they get some hard numbers together, as I’m not sure they understand how expensive this proposal will be. I’m all ears though, and I’m certainly willing and interested to hear more.

    6. We are about to get into a “Parks Arms Race”. Why council members brought up Columbus and Madison to “prove” that we had an average number of parks is beyond me. Each city has its own unique set of circumstances….fiscal health, demand for housing, state subsidies, etc. etc. It is not an apples to oranges issue, and it confuses things even more. I think in the next few years we will see neighborhoods press for greenbelt dollars so that they can add parks to their area. From the rhetoric I was hearing, citizens will look to increase the available park land by at least 25%. I don’t know how this is going to happen.

    However, I believe that this doesn’t concern many of the people in Ann Arbor, so I think that we need to get to the bottom of how much green is enough within the city for these citizens. To restate my previous position, I feel that there is adequate parkland in Central Ann Arbor. I can think of 5 parks off of the top of my head that I can reach from my place of business by foot in less than five minutes. That is enough for me. I recognize that my position is not the only one, though.

    7. The procedural confines of the city council agenda prohibits the proper debating of the issues at hand. In the spirit of finding a compromise between those wishing for more green in Ann Arbor, and those like myself who are desperate for density, I offer that we all meet at my bar at a convenient time so that the Friends of the Greenway and the supporters of the DDA proposal can discuss their perspective on things. I’m sure that Murph or Brandon can haul an Urban Planning prof. down here to host the event as they will have some experience in handling design charettes. I’m 99% sure that I can get Rene Greff down to give a detailed explanation of the DDA proposal. If the bar is open, I will donate all of the profits to the Sierra Club.

    I am forwarding this offer to Mr. Easthope, Ms. Wong, the Mayor, and the rest of the city council.

    What do you all think?
       —Todd Leopold    Mar. 22 '05 - 02:27PM    #
  9. Oops,

    Cut and paste error. I lost a paragraph in item #6 between the 1st and second paragraph. Sorry for the confusion. Ignore the second paragraph.
       —Todd Leopold    Mar. 22 '05 - 03:08PM    #
  10. That is a great idea, Todd. I agree, the council meeting’s format is not set up to really discuss the issues at hand. Personally I would love to see and take part in a design charrette on the greenway and downtown development.
       —KGS    Mar. 22 '05 - 03:14PM    #
  11. Todd: hot.

    I’ll ask Prof. Barry Checkoway if he would be interested in helping out; he’s a joint appointment in Planning and Social Work, and was on the A2 Planning Commission for a while in the late 80s/early 90s. His name is inside the front cover of . . . either the ‘88 Central Area Master Plan or the ‘92 Downtown Plan; I can’t remember which. Either way, he knows the material, and has the skills for handling potentially heated discussions of parks, parking, and puppies.

    Peter Pollack (a landscape architect and SNRE adjunct(?)) and Kate Warner (retired from the urban planning program to head one of the local affordable housing non-profits) were both at the Council caucus on Monday, and would also be good to invite. This is turning into quite the affair, though.
       —Murph    Mar. 22 '05 - 03:29PM    #
  12. I’ve been told that Dean Kelbaugh’s absence was known ahead of time, and there was a miscommunication. The Dean was apparently on a plane to the APA convention in SF, and had given Chris Crockett written remarks to read and give hardcopy to the Council on his behalf.

    I received this information, along with a mild scolding, when I e-mailed the MUPs to say that Dean Kelbaugh had pulled a no-show, but that letters from planning students were mentioned by Council member Lowenstein. (One might think Crockett should have signed up for speaking time in that case, considering that “speakers are not allowed to grant their reserved time to an alternate speaker” is printed in the agenda and announced at the beginning of the comment period?)
       —Murph    Mar. 22 '05 - 03:36PM    #
  13. thats a great idea todd. I would invite arstspaceannarbor, a yahoo group, as well to get their input into the mix.
       —daveSomers    Mar. 22 '05 - 03:42PM    #
  14. Bob,

    The parking lot and the greenway are not incompatible, and the mantra that they are is designed to confuse this issue. A park on the surface lot in question may or may not be a good idea, and the same for a parking lot, but this choice will not kill or save the greenway. The Friends of the Greenway ought to do us all the courtesy of honest public discourse. At the same time, I don’t agree that a greenway is necessarily elitist and anti-artist and all that, because a linear greenway with a modest footprint does not mean a large zone of no development. And I also agree with Todd—that site which I have recently explored is not going to be made green very easily.
       —Matt    Mar. 22 '05 - 04:24PM    #
  15. Todd, I’ll show up and bring some neighbors—a very reasonable group, despite the assumption to the contrary. One is an architect who has worked on this area quite a bit, one is a water resource/sewer expert, several own/manage/work in small businesses downtown, and two are artists so it is a pretty eclectic bunch. Janis Bobrin might also be a good person to invite.

    Although, as Murph said, it begins to turn into quite the affair.
       —Julie    Mar. 22 '05 - 04:28PM    #
  16. Furthermore there are at least two positions that are not getting aired in this “environmentalist” vs. DDA standoff.

    1. DDA has a lot of power here and if its plans are basically going to bring more chains, more upscale restaurants, and more high-end condos with an occasional subsidized unit or two that will revert to market rate after three years, then I think the NIMBYs have a point even though I disagree with their reasons.

    2. My biggest concern with the greenbelt, which I supported with some reluctance, was that the money would be used not as part of a master plan but as an ad hoc payoff to mobilized neighborhoods who want to stop something and turn it into a park, which there is ample precedent of doing in this town. Neighborhood reps apparently don’t like being called NIMBYs but environmentalism is a philosophy that must be applied from a regional level looking down across the whole city, not solely from how the world looks from your back deck. Cowherd speaks for parks but not, in my view, for genuine environmentalism.
       —Matt    Mar. 22 '05 - 04:32PM    #
  17. Matt, do you know anybody on the Huron Watershed Council? I’ve heard them speak in favor of density in A2 before, and am curious to hear their thoughts on Allen Creek.

    As I just said in my letter-to-the-editor to the A2News, if the Easthope/Johnson resolution comes back a year from now with a floodplain study, a parking study, a housing study, and a comprehensive master plan (though that takes 3-5 years to do) all saying that it’s a good way to meet our goals, I’m all for it.

    As Carlberg said at the meeting, “As I look at the Whereases in this, I don’t see anything I disagree with.” All the goals are good, but let’s make sure we’re actually going to be advancing them – at the moment, I’m pretty skeptical. (And, no, I don’t support groundbreaking on a DDA parking structure on 1st & William yet, either; that, too, needs more study and discussion.)
       —Murph    Mar. 22 '05 - 04:40PM    #
  18. Great idea, Todd. I know that I and many other planning students would be interested in attending, and surely know of others in the community who’d likely come as well.
       —Brandon    Mar. 22 '05 - 05:50PM    #
  19. I’ve already heard back from a few councilmembers. A few will be attending. I am hoping to to hear from Ms. Wong soon.
       —Todd Leopold    Mar. 22 '05 - 06:15PM    #
  20. Todd- When’s the meet?

    And boy, it was odd to see Greden on the right side of an issue. Maybe there’s hope for him yet…
       —js    Mar. 22 '05 - 06:26PM    #
  21. Yeah, unless the couch ban makes another appearance a week after the end of the semester, I think I’m ready to stop calling for his head on a pike.

    Todd, what kind of timeframe are you thinking? Next week? Next month? We should also figure out what our goals are. Dialogue? Visioning? Information gathering? On greenways? Parks? Housing? Density? Downtown? The general state of Ann Arbor’s planning process? If we don’t want this to turn into a week-long conference, we need to set some limits on the scope of things.
       —Murph    Mar. 22 '05 - 07:08PM    #
  22. Murph, I don’t know if the Huron Watershed Council has an official position on the First and William site, but I don’t believe there is a watershed group in the country that would actively promote putting a parking structure in a an urban creek floodway zone. I heard Janis Bobrin (who is also on the Huron River Watershed Council) talk at the Library in her capacity as Drain Commissioner (she said she could not promote one side or the other, she could just give the facts) and it was pretty clear how she felt as the Drain Commissioner.

    Since the HRWC is now promoting the installation of rain gardens in the Allen Creek sub-watershed, my guess is that they would prefer a large rain garden at that site than an impervious surface with toxic runoff.
       —Julie    Mar. 22 '05 - 07:25PM    #
  23. On the other hand, assuming the parking structure doesn’t have a footprint larger than the existing surface lot, it won’t be dramatically worse for the watershed, no? And if the footprint is smaller (to make room for the much-derided “pocket park”), it might even be an improvement.
       —Scott    Mar. 22 '05 - 07:41PM    #
  24. IMHO, the minimum that needs to happen is a presentation of the Greenway and the DDA proposals together with a Q&A. Outside of that, I have a few ideas, including a discussion of the disappearance of local business in town.

    I would also like to do about a 10 minute compare and contrast between Boulder and Ann Arbor, to identify what mistakes were made in that town. As you know, I have some pretty unique access to both hard data and anecdotal information about that town.

    I am open to ideas, for sure.

    I would guess that if we get the cooperation of the Sierra Club we could make it happen in about a month. Just a guess.
       —Todd Leopold    Mar. 22 '05 - 08:14PM    #
  25. Julie, that’s been something I don’t think has been talked about yet enough . . . if the Friends want usable green space, are they talking grass? Would they be willing to have the site turned into a rain garden (or would people end up deriding it as “a weedy field”)? All of the native plant, stormwater control, “rain garden” style installments that I’ve ever seen (granted, only a few) involve foot-high or taller grasses and other plants that would probably prevent, say, sending your kids down to kick a soccer ball around. If people are thinking Gallup or West or Burns Parks when they talk about making these sites into parks, I don’t think these sites are going to do much for stormwater control. If we want rain gardens for heavy rainwater control (and, thinking of the park under the Broadway Bridges, especially after last year’s heavy rains, I very much think that we need to do more for stormwater control in some of our existing parks) then I think we’re going to end up with a park that might have some nice benches around the outside and paths running through it, but otherwise not be a park meant for human activity – people calling for a park for stormwater control might want to make sure they’re clear on this. (and, if I’m wrong and it’s possible to have rain gardens you can play frisbee on, I’d love to hear it.)

    Since any greenway would run along the Allen Creek valley, I would imagine that we’d want native plant rain garden style landscaping running along the length of it, but this can happen regardless of how much or how little of the area of 1st/William turns into parkland.

    Also, I think that developing the other sites away from parking would provide a net decrease in runoff; the current parking lots (and most older structures) have no stormwater control (except “get it off site quickly”), but new development has much stricter requirements. The new Whole Foods, for example (and this is one of the rare times you’ll hear anything positive out of a planning student on it) has a few million dollars worth of stormwater retention installed under the parking lot.

    I’m personally 100% in favor of jacking up the storm drain taxes on unmitigated impermeable surfaces. Devote half of the increased revenue to improving the municipal system, and the other half to subsidizing on-site mitigation (grants/assistance with rain gardens, rain barrels, permeable tile driveways, etc.). But I should probably shut up before we turn this wholly into a discussion on rain.
       —Murph    Mar. 22 '05 - 08:16PM    #
  26. Hey, if you’re going to talk about Boulder, you should try and get Prof. Rick Hills at the U-M Law School. during the greenbelt debate, he used his experiences in Boulder and Portland to great effect, IMO. I recycle it a lot…
       —Scott    Mar. 22 '05 - 08:26PM    #
  27. Is it actually possible to have a discussion about Ann Arbor without comparing it to other places, especially Boulder?

    Ann Arbor and Boulder, while similar in some ways, are also vastly different in so many others. I’ve lived in both and have a lot of ties to both and I think it is a big mistake to assume that something that worked or did not work for one city will work or not work for another.

    No offense, but I would much rather have a discussion about Ann Arbor, with Ann Arbor information, than have a discussion about what doesn’t work in Boulder.
       —Julie    Mar. 22 '05 - 10:19PM    #
  28. Principles of things like economics and urban planning aren’t localized—they’re applicable in many places. That’s why when you get a degree from the University of Michigan, you can work in more than just Ann Arbor. When appropriate, let’s look at the successes and failures of other cities of a similar class.
       —Dale    Mar. 23 '05 - 03:39AM    #
  29. Julie,

    No offense taken.

    Yes, it is certainly possible to discuss Ann Arbor in a vacuum. We can do that.

    Still no word from either the Sierra Club or the Friends of the Greenway.
       —Todd Leopold    Mar. 23 '05 - 01:40PM    #
  30. Todd, who’d you contact in those groups? (Wondering if you have actual e-mail addrs for folks, or were hitting “info@” addrs or something.) Let me know when somebody answers; I’d like to invite one of the Friends’ members to join the planning process for this meeting, so that they don’t feel like they’re coming into hostile territory.

    I think case studies for comparison are useful, as long as they’re treated as real, actual places, with good and bad things, and not as shining cities on a hill for us to fawn over. (Which is how Boulder is usually brought into this…) I don’t really care how many acres of parkland per person Columbus has, honestly, or whether or not that counts OSU’s campus, or whether or not Ann Arbor has a “Central Park” or whether or not comparisons to NYC are completely ridiculous. (It is considered the greenest city in the country, of course.)
       —Murph    Mar. 23 '05 - 02:17PM    #
  31. For the Sierra Club I contacted Michael Sklar. Scott and I have worked with him quite a bit.

    I did indeed hit the info button for the Friends of the Greenway. If you have another address it would be great.

    I’m way ahead of you with the planning part….that is, making sure that the Friends and the Sierra Club have a hand in putting this together.

    The purpose of the meeting is to foster discussion all sides of the issues at hand. I can tell you that all will be welcome at my house. This is not territory that is hostile to anyone.
       —Todd Leopold    Mar. 23 '05 - 02:30PM    #
  32. Yes, a discussion of successes and failures and possible reasons for each in multiple similar cities is imperative. In my experience, that is a different and more productive conversation than comparing one city to another.
       —Julie    Mar. 23 '05 - 02:31PM    #
  33. Julie,

    I’ll put a phone call into the Boulder City Planner. He gave a talk in Madison a few months ago….they invited him up because they, too, are facing many of the same issues that Ann Arbor and Boulder are.

    I am sure that he is now familiar with the situation in Madison.

    So…..will it work if I can discuss what has worked and what hasn’t worked in these three cities? I don’t have the time to do more.
       —Todd Leopold    Mar. 23 '05 - 02:57PM    #
  34. Todd, sounds good for now. Later it would be helpful to find information on cities that don’t have the significant geographical features of Madison and Boulder.
       —Julie    Mar. 23 '05 - 03:52PM    #
  35. I keep seeing these numbers showing that Madison has much more parkland per capita and as a percentage of total area when compared to Ann Arbor and I wanted to mention a few reasons why these figures are a little misleading.

    1. Municipal Golf Courses are included in the total acres of parkland. Madison has 4 muni courses (one 9-hole, two 18-holes, and a huge 36-hole course) for a total of 27,386 yards of play. Plus three of the four have driving ranges which adds a lot of area. Ann Arbor has two 18 hole muni courses with a total of 11,662 yards of play. Now, I don’t know the total area of the courses but I think it’s safe to assume that length of play is proportional to the area of a course. So, a much bigger chunk of the total acres of parkland in Madison is devoted to golf courses and should not really be considered park space.

    2. Madison’s park system includes several very large regional parks on the outskirts of town. These are larger, more wildernessy parks that you drive to for hiking and whatnot. They are very different from small neighborhood parks that are in walking distance and have swingsets and basketball courts and such. The Metroparks system in the Ann Arbor area provides amenities equivalent to Madison’s big parks. But, the Metroparks are not included when total city parkland is tallied up. So Ann Arbor and Madison both have the big regional parks but Ann Arbor’s are not included in the number used for city comparisons because they are not in the city park system.

    3. City operated cemeteries are included in the comparisons. Madison and Ann Arbor both have one municipal cemetery but Ann Arbor’s Fairview is 8 acres while Madison’s Forest Hill is 135 acres. Again, more acres in the park system that should not really be counted as park.

    4. Large conservation areas. Several “parks” in Madison are actually conservation areas intended to serve as growth management tools or wildlife sanctuaries. One of them is a huge marsh with little public access. These areas serve important purposes but are not really parks in the sense of being recreational amenities.

    5. Ballparks. Madison’s minor league baseball team plays in a somewhat large ballpark that is part of the city park system. Again, it’s nice to have the team in town but the ballpark and surrounding parking is not really parkland in the traditional sense. Plus, the Madison park system owns the Breese-Stevens stadium which is another fairly large nonpark included in the park system total acreage.

    6. The lakes. As Julie mentioned above, Madison is very different in it’s geographical features. The city has lakes on all sides and within and as you would expect has created parks on its lakeshores. Ann Arbor of course has the Huron River but the amount of total shoreline is much less.

    Yikes, this is getting long. Anyway, the point is that using this total amount of parkland that Easthope and others keep mentioning is not really accurate when comparing Madison and Ann Arbor.
       —Dan Kennelly    Mar. 23 '05 - 07:15PM    #
  36. Park acreage: do the figures also include the very large Washtenaw County Farm Park located on Washtenaw Ave.? It is not a city park, but it is wholly within the city.

    The proposed parking stucture does not add new parking. It consolidates existing parking. People in Ann Arbor have cars. That is the reality, and we have to deal with it.

    Don’t forget, when talking about storm water mangement, that the DDA plan calls for moving and enlarging the drain, to improve the water flow and quality.

    The city, in 1999, foolishly bought Doug Cowherd’s argument that we should burden the General Fund with operations and maintenance for city parks. This was a mistake, considering the fiscal crisis that the city is facing. We should revise the parks millage to go back to what it used to be – to help support operations and maintenance. See the article in this month’s Ann Arbor Observer about city finances.

    Ann Arbor’s “jewel in the crown” is the connectivity of the parks along the river, which will eventually join the county parks system and parks of other communities. We should not lose sight of this idea.
       —Leah    Mar. 26 '05 - 08:13PM    #