Comments on: 618 S. Main Project Gets Planning Support it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Jim Rees Jim Rees Tue, 31 Jan 2012 02:38:14 +0000 In the ten years I lived on Washington on the banks of the Allen Creek, we had three 50 year floods. But that was apparently due in part to a blockage in the drain where it goes between two houses from the Krause lot to Washington. After the county fixed that, it hasn’t flooded since.

Much of our current blight seems to be from developers who like to close or tear down the old then abandon the site without building the new. The City likes to do this too, for example at the Washington garage or the Y lot.

By: Vince Caruso Vince Caruso Mon, 30 Jan 2012 02:28:36 +0000 We have asked the city for historical rain data but received recent and incomplete data in mixed formats. I’m not sure we even have any rain gauges in Allen’s Creek even though we were told ‘a few’ would be installed.

I’ve grabbed realtime NEXRAD images with total estimations off the web, when we have large rain falls (events), for the last 5-7 years from around Northern OH and Southern MI just to have something of record. NexRad seems to be fairly accurate with relation to our home rain gauge. You can buy this same historical info. from some web sites.

So far we have only found that basic data is available but not in the detail we would like to have, without cost.

By: Vivienne Armentrout Vivienne Armentrout Sun, 29 Jan 2012 19:24:53 +0000 Tom always sums thing up perfectly. If we look at Ann Arbor with clear (even if affectionate) eyes, we’ll see many areas that look discouraged and “blighted” and the last 10 years with a pro-development City Council and a DDA bent on concentrating development within its taxing boundaries have left us with a rather sorry landscape in many places. Fortunately we have a historic district on Main Street, which is one of the few places, along with the Law Quad, that are usually seen in promotional videos of Ann Arbor. Oh, and selected parts of the Old West Side and Kerrytown – also beneficiaries of historic districts.

By: Tom Whitaker Tom Whitaker Sun, 29 Jan 2012 17:43:52 +0000 I think it was a bit of hyperbole, to say the least, for my friend Ray Detter to call the South Main site “blighted”–a term thrown out all too easily by developers and others to justify destruction of older buildings. This site houses three very long-term, Ann Arbor retail establishments (a fourth, Fox Tent and Awning recently closed) and, with the possible exception of the old chain link fence around the parking lot, I don’t see anything here that I’d call blight. Not the most attractive retail strip in town, but far from the worst.

If one wants to see real examples of blight, just take a walk down NORTH Main and look at the abandoned building that once housed the Greek congregation, or further north to see the row of boarded up and burned out houses that ironically have been sitting empty for years waiting for a low-income housing project to be built. While there, look across the street to the City of Ann Arbor’s contribution to blight on North Main–the decrepit old Fleet Services facility, that if only cleaned up, would make a significant link in the Allen Creek Greenway.

Last night we met a couple from Brighton who were in town for the Folk Festival and we were talking about living in Ann Arbor. The first thing they wanted to know was what was going on with North Main Street and why did it look like a decaying neighborhood in Detroit. We had no good answer.

Sad that in the name of “progress,” Ann Arbor has allowed established retail to be chased away from South University, Broadway, Glen and Ann, and now, South Main. Strange that people think these projects will attract more retail, when 411 Lofts took years to find tenants for its commercial space (still partly vacant) and The Varsity and this new project on Main are not including any retail space at all.

I wouldn’t hold my breath expecting these three existing South Main businesses to return to this area anytime soon, whether this project actually gets built or not. Best of luck to them in their new locations.

By: Steve Bean Steve Bean Sun, 29 Jan 2012 17:29:02 +0000 Vince, would you share where your rainfall information is from? That is, did you just note those events over time as they occurred, or is there a web site that has (perhaps searchable) historical data?

By: Vince Caruso Vince Caruso Sun, 29 Jan 2012 03:44:03 +0000 The 8″ rains are happening in many locations around Ann Arbor. We have been lucky not to get hit. Garden City was hit last summer with a 100 year rain by a storm that went right over Ann Arbor.

100 year storms are very common now in Southern MI. Climate predictions for MI are for more intense rains than we have has historically – this from UM Pellston Labs, Union of Concerned Scientists and USEPA, and others.

Ann Arbor just had the wettest year on record in 2011 dating back to 1880, 2006 was the 2nd wettest.

I don’t think Ann Arbor has a record of a 8″ rain. The huge 1968 flood was about a 4″ rain.

By: Rod Johnson Rod Johnson Sun, 29 Jan 2012 03:21:27 +0000 8″ rains are common in SEM? (I’m assuming that means Southeast Michigan.) Is that true? It’s surprisingly hard to find this information, but have we ever had an 8″ rainfall here?

By: Jim Rees Jim Rees Sat, 28 Jan 2012 14:18:39 +0000 I used to live in the Allen Creek floodplain, and once had a foot of water inside my Cadillac. I also lived downtown without a car for a while, back when there were stores downtown, not just bars and restaurants. I hate to see more parking go in but with the state of our downtown and transit options, the tenants will bring cars, and they will park them somewhere. I hope with all the new housing going in we’ll see a return of retail and services to downtown and campus.

By: Vince Caruso Vince Caruso Sat, 28 Jan 2012 03:03:42 +0000 I attended one of the public meetings and noted how close this site is to the Allen’s Creek Floodplain. Others have made similar comment at this and other public meetings for the building. We were told by the developer team that it was many feet above it. It seems from checking elevations on Google Earth that part of the building will only be about 2 feet above the current questionable floodplain map elevations.

Without a real understanding of this floodplain (no recent real data to guide planning) I hope we are not again putting more unknowing people in harms way during a large rain event.

With little data and Global Warming causing more intense rains predictions are that the old floodplain maps will not be very good guidance.

People died in Northern Ohio in recent years trying to get cars out of a lower parking deck in a major rain event when they were trapped by floodwater.

1,300 parked cars were flooded and 13 bridges were washed out in West Michigan recently due to a 500 year rain event. 8″ rains and larger are now common in SEM when about a 4″ rain is considered a 100 year rain for Ann Arbor.

Wishing for it to be different will not do much good when the floodwaters are rising.