Arbor Update

Ann Arbor Area Community News

Should voters give the county-wide school millage a passing grade?

Posted by Chuck Warpehoski on 17. October 2009

In just a few weeks Washtenaw County voters will decide on a proposed 2-mill enhancement millage.

If passed the millage would raise about $680 per student in the county according to Brian Marcel of the Washtenaw Intermediate School District.

The 2 mill tax mean that a homeowner with a $200,000 house with a taxable value of $100,000 would pay $200 more a year.

The campaign comes after each of Washtenaw County’s 10 traditional school districts passed resolutions asking that this be put on the ballot and as the state.

Proponents argue that the millage is important in the face of state cuts to school spending, that it is important to keep Washtenaw County’s economy from slipping further, and that per-pupil funding from the state has decreased 9 percent since 1994, after inflation.

Opponents criticize irresponsible school spending, claim that the increase is too much, and that the millage would be an example of taxation without representation.

That’s what they say. What do you say?

Comment [83]

City Council: A2D2 Yet Again

Posted by Juliew on 5. October 2009

City Council: Monday, October 5 at 7:00 pm.
Ann Arbor City HallAgenda


  • Public Hearing on A2D2 Downtown Design Guidelines
  • Resolution to Approve Agreement with Clarion Associates for Integration and Clarification of Zoning and Land Use Ordinances
  • Resolution to Establish a Sandwich Sign Board Task Force
  • Resolution to continue the Moratorium on the Installation of New Parking Meters
  • Resolution to Permit Home Football Game Parking in Frisinger Park

Comment [22]

City Council: The Return of the Return of City Place

Posted by Juliew on 21. September 2009

City Council: Monday, September 21 at 7:00 pm.
Ann Arbor City HallAgenda


  • Resolution to approve City Place Site Plan and Development Agreement
  • Near North PUD Public Hearing (continued from 9/8/09 City Council meeting)
  • Dominick’s area rezoning from R4C to PUD
  • Resolution to disclose Council e-mail from November 1, 2000 to September 8, 2009 at no public charge
  • Plastic bag ban

Comment [6]

Investing in Ability Week 2009

Posted by Patti Smith on 18. September 2009

This is a little ways off, but mark your calendars now!

Art and Abilities: Investing in Ability Week—Oct. 19 – 31, 2009

Presented by the University of Michigan Council for Disability Concerns
In collaboration with the University of Michigan Health System and the Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living

For dates, times and locations and information on all events visit
the website here

Fourth Annual Symposium on Mental Health in the Workplace: Anxiety Disorders in the Workplace: What are they and how do they influence the workplace?

Dogs, dogs, dogs…and how they help! Meet service, assistance, and therapy dogs (and pups in training).

Afterwards: Expressive Writing for Veterans: A peer support group at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System where veterans learn to use writing to work through difficult emotions. Sixteen veterans have participated in the group since May 2008.

Many Ways of Doing Art Collaboration: Observe the partnership between the UM School of Art and Design and the AACIL as people with disabilities working with art students create clay sculptures.

Adaptive Technology Computing Site Open House: Screen magnifiers/readers/scanners, including Talking Points (location info via cellphone) and Wheel-Able (provides accessibility info about UM)

Panel on Deafness: Personal Perspectives: Dr. Philip Zazove, Nan Asher, Julianne Bonta, Taurean “Tar” Burt, Alan Lobdell and Pam McGuinty.
Sign language interpreters and CART provided.

Understanding Autism and Creative Play: Working with children with autism can also teach us how to improve the quality of our lives. Michard Solomon, M.D., Medical Director of the PLAY (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters)

And more events at the website here

If accommodations are needed, contact disability@umich.

Contact Person: Anna Schnitzer
E-Mail Address:
Business Phone: (734) 936-1402
Fax Number: (734) 763-1473

Comment [1]

City Council: Near North Public Hearing

Posted by Juliew on 8. September 2009

City Council: Tuesday, September 8 at 7:00 pm.
Ann Arbor City HallAgenda


  • Near North Public Hearing
  • First reading of A2D2 ordinances
  • Resolution opposing closure of the Post Office Station on South University
  • Resolution appointing South Fourth and South Fifth Avenues Historic District Study Committee
  • Resolutions accepting funds for neighborhood stabilization and low-income housing support
  • Approval of Jolly Pumpkin’s liquor license

Comment [3]

Proposed Service Reductions to Ypsi released

Posted by Chuck Warpehoski on 5. September 2009

Advance Ypsilanti has put out the call about a special Ypsi city council meeting on Tuesday, September 8:

At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 8, the Ypsilanti City Council will be considering a variety of proposals for major cuts to bus service in the city. At the meeting, officials from the Ann Arbor Transit Authority (AATA) will present City officials with several options for cuts which, if adopted, could take effect as soon as Spring 2010. These include complete or partial elimination of routes serving large portions of the city, as well as cutting days or times when service is available citywide.

They have also posted the proposed service cuts.

There’s a backstory to this. Part of the reason for the shortfall in Ypsi funding is that the AATA changed the way it charges other municipalities to provide service.

In addition to the Ypsi Council meeting, the AATA Board next meets on Sept 23 at 1:00 p.m.

What do you think should happen? Should Ypsi cough up the money? Should the AATA pony up to cover the shortfall? Should the service cuts go through?

Comment [93]

"Smart Growth Ann Arbor" calls for strong design guidelines

Posted by Murph on 3. September 2009

I received the following this afternoon from “”. SGA2 urges attendance at tonight’s community open house for the A2D2 design guidelines draft, 7-9pm at the Kerrytown Concert House (415 N. Fourth), as well as the Sept. 14 joint working session of Council, Planning Commission, and the DDA. The design guidelines draft is available from the City’s A2D2 webpages.

SGA2 pitches its take into this site’s ever popular discussion topic of downtown development and design – the message appears to be very open to new development, including large/tall development, “but again, only if there is at least some basic level of protection against future buildings that will hurt the downtown experience further,” and expresses alarm that the current draft would make design review voluntary for developers.

The complete message after the cut…

Comment [12] • Read More »

Let's Talk Conference Center

Posted by Juliew on 30. August 2009

Over the last few years, there has been a lot of talk about a conference center in downtown Ann Arbor. Although there are several places to have a meeting, there really isn’t much that really fits the conference center description, especially downtown.

In addition to published reports, rumors have swirled over the years that Bill Martin wants to build a conference center on the Brown Block, but nothing has come of that so far. More recently, there was a lot of interest over plans released for a local conference center.

As so often happens in Ann Arbor, reception to the idea of a conference center has been mixed, with people vehemently in the pro and con camps. I have heard people say they think it is the worst possible thing that could happen to downtown, while others say it is the best possible way to keep downtown viable. Reaction is so mixed that one wonders if some people are thinking of a large industrial convention center like Cobo Hall or DeVos Place while others are thinking of a smaller hotel and conference center like the Fort Shelby in Detroit or the beautiful St. Julien in Boulder (built over a 650-space public underground parking structure).

Of course, left out of much of the discussion is the plans of the University. Currently, the University has some conference space, but only 21 rooms . The other Big 10 schools have at least one hotel and conference center or several hotels within walking distance of campus. The University has lots of land and infrastructure on North Campus and married student housing is not doing well. Even if the U doesn’t want to build their own hotel, there are several hotel chains that might be willing to fund much of the building costs for an on-campus conference center. Needless to say, if they do build their own conference center, the City will not benefit anywhere nearly as much as if a conference center was built on city-owned land.

So what do you think? Does Ann Arbor need a conference center? Should it be downtown? Should the University build their own? If there is a conference center, what would you like to see be part of it? If you are opposed to it, why? If you are for it, why?

Comment [39]

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