A crowd gathered at the farmers market for a memorial service for Michael Jennings, described in his obituary as an “unabashed Ann Arborite.”
Workers are setting up tables, chairs and decorations for an event at the farmers market – possibly a wedding? [photo] Part of the surface lot is blocked off to public parking.
Someone left behind a lovely braided garland of dandelions. [photo]
Wedding party dancing at the Ann Arbor farmers market. [photo]
Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (May 21, 2013): The meeting featured a briefing on a project to install rain gardens at Arbor Oaks Park, part of a broader effort to address drainage and flooding problems in the Bryant neighborhood in southeast Ann Arbor.
Jerry Hancock, the city’s stormwater and floodplain programs coordinator, described the project, which is being paid for out of the city’s stormwater utility fund – not the parks and recreation budget. It will involve regrading the perimeter of the park in the fall, then putting in native plants next spring. Soil excavated to create the rain gardens will be used to elevate the park’s central lawn area, which often has standing water following heavy rains. The work will be done prior to improvements planned for the park’s playground next year.
Later in the meeting, commissioners voted to recommend awarding a contract for roof replacement at the Mack indoor pool, located within the Ann Arbor Open school near the corner of Miller and Brooks. The recommendation is to select Pranam GlobalTech Inc., which put in the low bid of $193,000. A 10% construction contingency brings the project’s budget to $212,300, with a portion of that amount to be paid for by the public schools.
Also recommended was using $8,280 from the public market fund to upgrade a surface parking lot – known as the “sand lot” – on the Fourth Avenue side of the farmers market. The paving is viewed as a short-term solution, pending longer-term improvements expected at the market in a few years.
Commissioners also elected Bob Galardi as chair of PAC’s budget & finance committee. He replaces Tim Doyle as committee chair, following the end of Doyle’s term on PAC earlier this month. Jen Geer – Doyle’s replacement on PAC – was confirmed by the city council the previous evening but did not attend PAC’s May 21 meeting. Geer has worked with Galardi and councilmember Christopher Taylor – an ex-officio member of PAC – in another capacity, in the performing arts. Most recently, she was executive producer for the Ann Arbor in Concert production of Ragtime, performed at Michigan Theater on May 18. Both Taylor and Galardi were lead performers in that show.
Updates during PAC’s May 21 meeting covered a range of topics, including news that bids for construction of the new skatepark came in a little higher than anticipated. Parks staff and skatepark designer Wally Hollyday will be reviewing the bids to see what options are available. Parks and recreation manager Colin Smith reported that at PAC’s June 18 meeting, commissioners will be presented with a resolution to award a construction contract, as well as an agreement between the city and the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark related to operating the skatepark.
Other updates from Smith included the fact that parks staff is gearing up for Memorial Day weekend, with the opening of the city’s outdoor pools. He also highlighted the completed renovations of ball fields at Veterans Memorial Park, West Park and Southeast Area Park, and improvements made at Liberty Plaza. In addition to removing some bushes there, he said, “we also removed all sorts of things that were in the bushes, which are no longer there – and I’m glad they’re not.”
Other brief reports were given regarding work of PAC’s dog park and downtown park subcommittees, and public forums for the North Main-Huron River task force. Public commentary focused on input from the Library Green Conservancy, which is advocating for a park or public space atop the city’s Library Lane parking structure.
A surface parking lot at the Ann Arbor farmers market is getting an upgrade, paid for with $8,280 from the market fund balance. The city’s park advisory commission recommended the appropriation at its May 21, 2013 meeting.
The Ann Arbor public market advisory commission had recommended the work and appropriation at its April 18, 2013 meeting. According to a staff memo, the work would include “saw cutting and …
Asparagus is in! [photo]
Ann Arbor public art commission special meeting (March 7, 2013): Because attendance was low at AAPAC’s regular meeting in late February, commissioners held a special meeting the following week to wrap up items that hadn’t been addressed.
Commissioners voted to accept a memorial for Coleman Jewett as an official AAPAC project and to approve Sarah Gay as a volunteer project manager. Her duties would be to lead efforts for city council approval, donor relations and fundraising. John Kotarski advocated for less involvement from AAPAC, saying he hoped to streamline the project.
However, other commissioners felt it should be handled like other projects, with oversight by AAPAC. The proposal is for a bronze Adirondack chair at the Ann Arbor farmers market. The city’s market manager, Sarah DeWitt, attended the March 7 meeting and will help coordinate the project.
Commissioners also voted to increase the honorariums for artists who have been selected as finalists for a $400,000 project at the East Stadium bridge. The overall project amount remains unchanged, but honorariums were raised from $2,000 to $3,000 for each of the four finalists: Volkan Alkanoglu, based in Atlanta, Georgia; Sheila Klein of Bow, Washington; Rebar Group of San Francisco; and Catherine Widgery of Cambridge, Mass. They will be in town on April 1 for a site visit and public open house.
Another effort that’s in the early phases got a vote of support from commissioners, but no financial commitment at this point. The project will use old aluminum canoes from the city of Ann Arbor’s Argo canoe livery, which artists and community groups will turn into artwork that will be displayed throughout the downtown in 2014. Partners in the project include the Ann Arbor Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB), the Main Street Area Association (MSAA), the Arts Alliance, and the Huron River Watershed Council. AAPAC is involved only in a supportive role, to help with public engagement.
The role of public engagement was part of a discussion regarding AAPAC’s annual public art plan, which is due to the city council on April 1. Some commissioners expressed frustration at the process, given the uncertainty of the public art program’s future. Ultimately, they gave guidance to Aaron Seagraves, the city’s public art administrator, to draft a plan that includes projects in highly-visible, highly-used locations, currently underserved in terms of public art.
The March 7 meeting also included the election of officers. Bob Miller was elected the new chair, replacing Marsha Chamberlin. Kotarski abstained from voting. He noted that the commission will soon be at only 40% capacity – a reference to the fact that there are three vacancies on the nine-member commission, with an additional resignation expected by Wiltrud Simbuerger in the near future.
Two of those vacancies will likely be filled shortly. Nominations are on the city council’s March 18 agenda for confirmation: Nick Zagar, an artist and commercial real estate agent who serves on the Ann Arbor Art Center board; and Ashlee Arder, programs coordinator at ArtServe Michigan.
All of these actions come in the context of the city council’s ongoing review of the city’s public art program, which began in early December of 2012. This article begins with a report on the most recent meeting of the council’s public art committee on Friday, March 15. An update of their work will be attached to the council’s March 18 agenda as an item of communication. Their next committee meeting is scheduled for March 28.
The University of Michigan Erb Institute 2013 Follies music video “Kerrytown Parking Lot” mixes it up to promote the Ann Arbor farmers market. A sampling of lyrics: “It’s gettin’ real in the Kerrytown parking lot. You know the deal with the grass-fed beef we got. Check out what I say. It happens every day. It’s how we move in the west side of AA.” [Source]
Ann Arbor public art commission meeting (Jan. 23, 2013): Despite uncertainty about the future of the city’s public art program, commissioners discussed several projects at their most recent AAPAC meeting – including some new efforts that likely won’t use city funding.
AAPAC chair Marsha Chamberlin described a collaboration with the city’s parks system to use old canoes for a community art project. The effort also involves the Main Street Area Association and Ann Arbor Convention & Visitors Bureau. She indicated the project would seek private donations and grants, but probably not funds from the city’s Percent for Art program, which is currently under review by the city council.
The commission also heard from Linda Tenza, a resident who came to the Jan. 23 meeting to make an informal proposal for creating murals on the ceilings of the farmers market shelter. Likening it to a Sistine Chapel effect, Tenza suggested painting food-themed murals on the ceilings of the structures that cover the market aisles. Possible themes include food as medicine, the local farm community, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and the history of farming.
Although Tenza’s project is still tentative, one public art project that’s definitely coming to Ann Arbor is the Detroit Institute of Arts’ Inside|Out program, which involves installing framed reproductions from the DIA’s collection at outdoor locations on building facades or in parks. Two private Ann Arbor businesses – Zingerman’s Deli and the downtown Borders store – were part of the program in 2010. Since then the DIA has been talking periodically with AAPAC and city staff about expanded participation.
The works will be hung from late March through June at several downtown locations, including on the facade of city hall and on the wall of the fire station that faces the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum. An official announcement about the project, including a listing of all locations, will be made at a Feb. 8 DIA press conference.
In other action at AAPAC’s Jan. 23 meeting, commissioners expressed frustration with the proposed design of a sign for the Herbert Dreiseitl water sculpture in front of city hall, calling it too “busy” with text and images that are unclear. Nor were they pleased with the proposed description of the piece that’s included on the sign: “Sculpture with Water Feature.” Chamberlin agreed to discuss their concerns with Ken Clein of Quinn Evans Architects, which handled the design.
Commissioners were also updated on several ongoing projects, including the selection of public art for the East Stadium bridges. A public engagement proposal for that $400,000 project – which might serve as a template for other projects – elicited some debate. John Kotarski objected to a recommendation that part of each artist’s interview with a selection panel should be held in private. He felt strongly that the process should be open and transparent. Wiltrud Simbuerger, who presented the recommendation, felt that the selection panel needs a “safe place” for their deliberations.
The Jan. 23 meeting included a discussion of officer elections, which AAPAC’s bylaws call for in January. The elections were ultimately postponed because only four commissioners were present at that point in the 2.5-hour meeting. Chamberlin has been serving as chair since April of 2011. Malverne Winborne is vice chair.
Also factoring into the issue of officer elections was the uncertainty of AAPAC’s future. The city council has suspended expenditures for future projects pending review of the public art program by a council committee appointed last December. Chamberlin, who has attended all meetings of that committee, gave an update to commissioners, but noted that no decisions have yet been made. The committee is expected to give its recommendations to the full council in mid-February – its next meeting is on Feb. 7. This report includes a summary of the committee’s most recent deliberations.
Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (March 15, 2011): A meeting packed with presentations also included a last-minute addition to the agenda: Resolutions recommending support of the city’s application for grants from the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources Trust Fund. The grants – for $300,000 each – would help fund the Ann Arbor skatepark and upgrades to the Gallup canoe livery and park.
The resolution for Gallup passed unanimously, but commissioner Sam Offen – without comment – cast a vote against the resolution for the skatepark grant.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, commissioner Gwen Nystuen suggested forming a committee to look more closely at the Fuller Road Station project – she felt that as stewards of the city’s parkland, PAC should take a more active role in examining the proposed parking structure, bus depot and possible train station. The project, a joint effort between the city and the University of Michigan, would be located on land that’s previously been designated as parkland, though it’s been leased to the university as a surface parking lot since the early 1990s. Nystuen did not put forward a formal resolution, and commissioners took no action on the idea.
The meeting included five presentations from various groups, including updates on the city’s two golf courses, the new Give 365 volunteer program, and a restoration project for a stretch of Malletts Creek near Huron Parkway. Commissioners also heard a proposal for a new Wednesday night farmers market, and got a mid-year financial report on the open space and parkland preservation millage.
Ann Arbor public market advisory commission meeting (March 10, 2011): A nighttime farmers market in Ann Arbor is in the works as a pilot program to start on Wednesdays in July.
Market manager Molly Notarianni is proposing a producers-only market from 4:30-8:30 p.m., operating as a separate entity from the existing Saturday and Wednesday daytime markets. The significance of having a separate application process is that it would eliminate the seniority system that exists at the other markets. The seniority system makes it difficult for new vendors to get spots in those markets.
Members of the city’s public market advisory commission seemed generally supportive of the idea – they’ll likely weigh in officially at their meeting in May.
The group also discussed revisions to the market vendor application form – including a proposed requirement for lease verification.
The commission is still short two members, a situation that has presented some challenges in the last few months. All three current members need to attend in order to achieve a quorum, and scheduling difficulties have led to cancellation of several of their monthly meetings. The March meeting was rescheduled from Tuesday to Thursday of last week – because of that change, the meeting was not broadcast by Community Television Network (CTN).
Openings remain on the commission for the category of: (1) a market shopper; and (2) someone who lives or works in the Kerrytown district, where the market is located. Applications are available on the market’s website. They must be sent to the mayor, who makes nominations that are then voted on by the city council.
Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission meeting (June 15, 2010): A temporary venue change led more than two dozen people to the Community Television Network studios for this month’s PAC meeting.
The main agenda item was consideration of two resolutions regarding Fuller Road Station, and many people who attended the meeting were there to address commissioners on that topic – most of them protesting the use of city parkland for what will, at least initially, be a large parking structure and bus depot, built in partnership with the University of Michigan.
Park commissioners have expressed concerns about the project, and resolutions were crafted to address those issues, including a possible financial loss to the parks system and a lack of transparency in the process.
At several points during deliberations, Christopher Taylor – a city councilmember and ex-officio member of PAC – defended the process, indicating that while it was a misstep that PAC wasn’t formally asked for input, there had been many opportunities for public participation.
PAC ultimately approved a resolution that asks city council to make available a complete plan of Fuller Road Station – including any significant proposed agreements, such as what the university will pay the city for use of the structure – allowing sufficient time for a presentation at a televised PAC meeting before council votes on the project. The resolution also asks that staff and council ensure the project results in a net revenue gain for the parks system.
Several other speakers during public commentary addressed the issue of Huron Hills Golf Course, and expressed concerns that the city would seek to privatize it. During his manager’s report, Colin Smith told commissioners that a draft request for proposals (RFP) regarding Huron Hills won’t be finished until August at the earliest, and will be brought to PAC for review before being issued by the city.
The meeting also included a presentation by Molly Notarianni, the city’s market manager, with an update on the farmers market and public market activities.
Tuesday’s meeting was also the first for PAC’s newest commissioner, Tim Doyle. Doyle was recently appointed by city council to replace Scott Rosencrans, who did not seek reappointment. In welcoming him, PAC chair Julie Grand joked: “You picked a good one to start.”
Ann Arbor Public Market Advisory Commission meeting (March 2, 2010): In her market manager report during Tuesday’s meeting, Molly Notarianni gave a recap of the Homegrown Local Food Summit, where she’d spent most of the day.
She noted that one of the market commissioners, Shannon Brines, was absent because he also had spent the day at the summit, as one of its organizers, and was wrapping up loose ends there. Though both the commission meeting and the summit have similar themes – both focused on locally grown food – The Chronicle will report on the summit in a separate article.
Tuesday’s commission meeting touched on several topics, including a proposed transfer of seniority between two market vendors, and an upcoming annual meeting with vendors on March 8. At that meeting, the commission will be getting feedback on proposed changes to the city’s vendor application and inspection forms.
The annual meeting and revisions to the forms were the focus of two speakers during public commentary. Market vendors Scott Robertello of Kapnick Orchards and Bruce Upston of Wasem Fruit Farm criticized aspects of the proposed changes, saying that too much information was being required.
Ann Arbor Public Market Advisory Commission (Feb. 2, 2010): Much of the discussion on Tuesday evening focused on an upcoming meeting with market vendors. Finances were on the agenda, too, with a quarterly report from the market manager and some comments from the public about expense and revenue trends, and the impact of new, higher stall fees.
The meeting with vendors, set for March 8, is part of an effort to engage farmers and others who sell products and produce at the public market. Commissioners hope to get feedback on a range of topics, from drafts of new vendor application and inspection forms to ideas for promoting the market.
Some of Tuesday’s meeting was spent reviewing drafts of the vendor application and inspection forms, which include revisions aimed at getting more detailed information about what the vendors are selling, and how the products are made.
Ann Arbor Public Market Advisory Commission (Dec. 1, 2009): The absence of market manager Molly Notarianni resulted in a somewhat abbreviated meeting of the Public Market Advisory Commission on Tuesday, with no votes or action items on the agenda.
Two people – Glenn Thompson and Luis Vazquez – spoke during the time set aside for public comment, criticizing what they view as a lack of enforcement of the market’s rules regarding, respectively, organic products and made-from-scratch baked goods.
Also, Peter Pollack, chair of the commission, reported that Notarianni was ill, but he was sure that if she had been there to make her report, she would have highlighted the Dec. 4 KindleFest at the public market.
Pollack also gave an update about the work of a subcommittee that’s reviewing market policies and procedures.
Ann Arbor Public Market Advisory Commission (Nov. 3, 2009): Last Tuesday’s meeting of the Ann Arbor Public Market Advisory Commission focused on vendors. Market manager Molly Notarianni wanted feedback before making decisions on new vendor applications. And Notarianni presented a financial report that showed most market revenues come from vendor rental fees.
During public commentary, former market commissioner Luis Vazquez questioned whether one vendor actually makes from scratch the products sold at their booth – it’s an issue Vazquez says might be litigated, if the city doesn’t enforce its own rules. During the meeting, Peter Pollack, the commission’s current chair, gave an update on efforts to more clearly define what being “made” actually means.
It was also announced that plans are being made to hold a special market event on Dec. 4 to complement downtown’s annual Midnight Madness.
Ann Arbor Public Market Advisory Commission meeting (Oct. 6, 2009): Shoppers at Wednesday’s Ann Arbor Farmers Market might have encountered a few things they hadn’t seen before: 1) Five easels with questions about how customers use the market, 2) three new vendors and 3) a film crew for the movie “Naked Angel.”
The first two were among several items discussed at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Public Market Advisory Commission. The group also talked about Halloween plans for the market – it falls on a Saturday this year – and reviewed its recent working session, which focused on policy issues and outreach.
When Ralph Snow of Snow’s Sugarbush, a long-time vendor at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, died last year, his passing was a loss of both the individual and of the memories he carried.
“His death reminded us of the impermanence of the market,” says Molly Notarianni, market manager.
So she decided to look for a way to preserve the market’s history, which would otherwise be lost. As she worked with a volunteer who specialized in oral history, the idea of a regular oral history booth emerged, a way to let vendors and shoppers share stories of their relationships and memories in the market.
Launched this summer in conjunction with the market’s 90th anniversary, the project aims to give people a chance to feel engaged in documenting the history of the market and of the entire agricultural region. Volunteers staff a table every other Wednesday at the market from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. They’ll be at the market today.
Ann Arbor Public Market Advisory Commission (Sept. 1, 2009): Tuesday marked the start of Local Food Month in Ann Arbor. Tuesday also was the start of a three-year term for the newest member of the city’s Public Market Advisory Commission, who’s also a vendor at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market: Dave Barkman, of TJ Farms in Chelsea.
By way of introduction, Barkman noted that he’s been selling at the farmers market for 28 years. He said he knows a lot of stories, though he didn’t tell any at Tuesday’s meeting. Others did have stories to tell, however – about weddings at the market, medicinal sweet buns, “enthusiastic support” for the Sept. 12 Homegrown Festival and more.
“I’ve always had this idea, sort of a picture in my mind, of a lot of people working physically together, towards a common goal. Not only like working together and being simple, like peasants, having simple needs and not complicated by so many interpersonal things going on. Just people working side by side and as they’re working it becomes an art – they’re singing, see. They’re singing and it’s a rhythm…We’re doing the farming part and kind of doing the music thing and maybe somehow those will work more together and really living life more artistically and having our daily activities more appealing and beautiful and more nourishing than now.” – Ken King, 1989
Twenty years ago Ken King shared this simple idea about community and life. He achieved that vision, and more. Through his practical practice of his ideals, hard work, loving family, and extensive community, he lived and thrived on Frog Holler Farm in Brooklyn Michigan. Locally, Ken is perhaps best known from the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, where the Frog Holler produce has been a staple.
Ken died Thursday, May 7. His was a life well-lived.
Maybe it was pre-FestiFools roaming, or maybe it was spillover from the NCAA tournament in Detroit – whatever the reason, crowds were bigger than on any previous opening day at Ann Arbor’s Sunday Artisan Market, according to the group’s vice president, Joan Hutchinson. It wasn’t clear whether those people were actually buying, though – vendors we talked to had mixed experiences.
Kate Kehoe, whose notebooks made from old video box covers are the reporter notebooks of choice for The Chronicle, said she was having a pretty good day. Some of the people who’d passed through included a group decked out in Tar Heels regalia, she said. (The University of North Carolina team beat Villanova on Saturday and faces Michigan State University in Monday’s championship game.)
Mike Grady, who makes wood-turned objects, said he’d sold exactly one corkscrew all day. The cold weather, the economy – who knows what makes people spend their money, or not? He hopes next Sunday will be better.
Ann Arbor City Council (Feb. 2, 2009): “This is one of the most significant things we’ll do this year,” councilmember Leigh Greden said. But he wasn’t talking about the final budgetary approval of construction on the municipal center project (also known as the police-courts facility), which will likely see shovels hitting the ground in two months. Greden was talking about the commercial recycling program, which was passed on its first reading Monday – there’ll be a public hearing and second reading before it receives its final vote. In other business, council tabled indefinitely the resolution authorizing the budget for renovation of the Farmers Market, passed a raft of resolutions connected with the city airport renovation project, and gave approval to a planned project with smaller setbacks than current code allows.
Ann Arbor City Council Sunday caucus (Feb. 1, 2009): The four Ann Arbor councilmembers who convened for caucus on Sunday night heard voices of dissent from the public on the police-courts facility, plus the expression of discontent from some of their own on a range of issues – from as-yet unapproved zoning standards to fiscal policy. Based on the Sunday night caucus, possible outcomes from Monday’s council meeting could include the elimination of the new council/public meeting space from the police-courts project and the tabling of the Farmers Market renovation.
Maite Zubia lifts a cookie with her fork, a cookie she’s just dipped in slippery melted chocolate. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” she asks. “It’s simple, but it’s beautiful.”
She’s in the basement of an Eighth Avenue home on Ann Arbor’s Old West Side, which is also set up as a commercial kitchen, showing The Chronicle how she makes these traditional South American cookies, called alfajores. She’s also telling the story of how she’s growing her business, Maitelates: “It’s been a story of support.”
City Council Meeting (Jan. 20, 2009): Ann Arbor city council gave final approval to the anti-graffiti ordinance on its agenda, though with some revisions that lighten its impact on property owners – compared to the version that was moved along in the process at its last meeting. And after long discussion of the somewhat complex fund transfers involved in funding the Farmers Market improvements project, council postponed the vote for two weeks.
But some of the more animated discussion came during the annual update provided by board chair of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, David Nacht, when councilmembers Stephen Rapundalo and Marcia Higgins pressed Nacht to explain the recently proposed fare increases and to clarify what the regionalization of the AATA might mean for Ann Arbor taxpayers.