Comments on: Greenbelt, Park Commissions Strategize it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: James D'Amour James D'Amour Tue, 20 Apr 2010 18:02:43 +0000 @LiberalNIMBY and to all:

Fuller Park, including the portion of it south of Fuller Road where the Fuller Road Station is slated to be built, appears on page G4 of the current version (2006-2011) of the City of Ann Arbor Parks and Recreation Open Space Plan (PROS), is mapped indeed as city parkland. On the southern portion of the site, a soccer field currently exists and a parking lot that has been leased by university on a short term basis since the early 1990s when Fuller Road was reconfigured.

This area has seen extensive change since I first saw Ann Arbor when my sister attended this university. I remember this parcel being part of a city golf course. The entrance to the hospital (as well as the hospital itself) saw enormous reconstruction (two new bridges) in the early 1980s. The stone wall that you see on northside of road was rebuilt but never with the same prominence.

In short, Fuller Park has changed a lot over the years, but it is indeed bonafide city land designated as parkland. What is controversial is a new extended use suggested by the university that appears to circumvent in spirit to place the issue before voters on a ballot.

By: Alice Ralph Alice Ralph Sun, 18 Apr 2010 18:58:26 +0000 Since “The county really gets things done.” (Kohring) and residents also fund County Parks, perhaps the next joint meeting could be modestly expanded to good effect.
The County B2B Trail runs right through Ann Arbor, contiguous, in fact to the Fuller Road Station proposed for designated city parkland. If the FRS diminshes our city parkland, what is the effect on the B2B trail? Good community connection, or barrier to enjoyment?
I’m glad that Nystuen reminded the group that city floodway land is supposed to be designated as parkland, foundational to the Allen Creek Greenway and flood mitigation, etc. But it isn’t yet. Acquisition cost? Zero. Value? Priceless.

By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Sat, 17 Apr 2010 13:32:08 +0000 It sounds to me as though Bloomer is making a strategic argument against the small farms initiative. It is a concept that competes with buying the rights to the larger tracts and since it is not able to use Federal grant money is probably more expensive per acre. Also, I’m guessing that many of the “small farms” will be in Ann Arbor Township, rather than in Bloomer’s Webster Township.

Personally, I’m glad to see the GAC move away from (only) supporting commodity farms where most of the product is shipped out of the county and even the country. [This type of statement is what Bloomer is objecting to when he says "we protect the land, (not) the business"]. Locally produced fresh fruits and vegetables, and also smaller poultry and livestock operations, are what we need to provide a dependable supply of local food. T

As a counter to his economics argument, I’d like to put forth DuRussell’s Potatoes (Freedom Township), a very successful vegetable business that sells to Meijer’s and other supermarket chains. They produce many herbs and greens in addition to potatoes and strawberries. I’ve had a chance to visit and I would estimate that no more than 160 acres are actually in production, perhaps less. (There are also some processing and living quarters on the property.)

By: John Q. John Q. Fri, 16 Apr 2010 20:06:14 +0000 I wonder if Bloomer’s point was that smaller operations, even if they provide a living to the owners, don’t generate enough demand to support business that support agricultural activities, his reference to agricultural economy? I agree that there’s smaller and specialty farming operations that can be profitable on less than 1000 acres. But I don’t know enough about the economics of the AG business to know if these are enough to support the suppliers of farm equipment, etc. in an area in the way that having a base of larger farms will do.

By: LiberalNIMBY LiberalNIMBY Fri, 16 Apr 2010 14:21:20 +0000 “Fuller Road Station is a joint project with the city of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan, located near UM’s medical complex on city-owned land that’s designated as parkland.”

Is this the case? I remember hearing that while it’s city land, it was never officially designated as — or planned to be — “parkland” (just, “parking land”).

By: Matt Matt Fri, 16 Apr 2010 14:10:11 +0000 A comment in this article by Tom Bloomer slightly offended me. “Bloomer said that small farms alone won’t support an agricultural economy in Washtenaw. It takes 1,000 to 1,500 acres to earn a living, he said – smaller than that, and it’s likely a hobby.”

I’d just like to point out that this is his opinion, from his perspective as a large-scale commodities farmer. I personally know many farmers who farm between 5-40 acres of fruit or vegetable crops, and not only make a living for their family, but employ several to a dozen seasonal workers. I wouldn’t call that a hobby. I agree with the first part of the statement, that it takes farms of all types and sizes to create a healthy agricultural economy. But just go down to the Ann Arbor farmer’s market, which has well over a hundred vendors, only a handful of which farm over a hundred acres, and 90% of those at the market are making a full time living from their acreage. And there is a growing market for local vegetables.