A heat lamp is turned on at Cafe Felix for its sidewalk diners – on July 4th. [photo]
New York Magazine’s “Weekend Escape Plan” features Ann Arbor, in an article titled “Discover the Arty Side of Ann Arbor.” The piece includes unusual suggestions for lodging, such as the Baxter House Bed & Breakfast and a couple of homes posted on airbnb. Tips for an “Oddball Day” will sound familiar to locals – stops include the farmers market, a picnic at The Arb, and a post-dinner drink at Kerrytown’s 327 Braun Court, described as having “a dimly lit atmosphere that’s somewhere between too cool for school and just right.” [Source]
A four-story addition to the existing two-story building at 210-216 S. Fourth Ave., between East Liberty and East Washington in downtown Ann Arbor has been given approval by the Ann Arbor city council. The structure is the old Montgomery Ward department store. The plan calls for creating 32 new housing units, including four studios, 14 one-bedroom, and 14 two-bedroom units.
Council action came at its Jan. 6, 2014 meeting. Planning commissioners had previously taken action to recommend approval of the project’s site plan at their meeting on Nov. 19, 2013.
A group that’s been meeting since early 2013 – to explore the possibilities for a new downtown park – delivered a set of recommendations to the Ann Arbor park advisory commission at its Oct. 15, 2013 meeting.
The eight recommendations of PAC’s downtown park subcommittee are wide-ranging, but include a site-specific recommendation to develop a new park/open space area on the top of the Library Lot underground parking structure. Now a surface parking lot, the site is owned by the city and is situated just north of the Ann Arbor District Library’s downtown building. The recommendation calls for only a portion of the site to be used for a new park/open space, and stresses that AADL should be involved in …
The subcommittee of Ann Arbor’s park advisory commission, which has been working on recommendations for a possible new downtown park, will hold a public forum on Monday, Sept. 9 to get additional input. The forum runs from 7-8:30 p.m. at the lower level multi-purpose room of the downtown library at 343 S. Fifth Ave.
At a subcommittee meeting on Sept. 3, members discussed the presentation and format for the Sept. 9 forum, which will include a review of responses from an online survey conducted this summer. [.pdf of survey responses, a 110-page document] [.pdf of slide presentation showing survey results]
Highlights from the survey, which received about 1,600 responses, include:
- 76.2% of respondents believe Ann Arbor would benefit from more downtown …
Bent lamp post in front of Vinology, after getting hit by a car earlier this week. Seems stable, though askew. [photo]
An online survey about downtown zoning has been posted on A2 Open City Hall, as part of the current review of A2D2 (Ann Arbor Discovering Downtown) zoning. The survey closes at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 2. Survey results will be part of the input considered by the city’s planning commission as it makes recommendations to city council about possible zoning revisions. Public forums, focus groups and coffee hours are other strategies that the city is using to solicit feedback – more details on that are on the A2D2 website. [Link to A2 Open City Hall]
Writing on The Celebrity Cafe, Francis Vachon reviews restaurants in Ann Arbor, Detroit and Hamtramck after a recent trip to Michigan. Ann Arbor eateries included in the report are Seva, the Blue Nile, Amadeus, Frita Batidos, Mark’s Carts, Café Zola and Zingerman’s Deli. Vachon writes: “Walking downtown, I did not see any ‘big chain’ fast food restaurants and only one Starbucks. This is usually a good thing when you are a foodie.” [Source]
Three musicians playing bluegrass and gospel, giving an amazing performance and working up a sweat on this sultry night. [photo]
Editor’s note: A forum hosted by the Ann Arbor Democratic Party on June 8, 2013 drew six of seven total city council candidates who’ve qualified for the primary ballot.
In the Aug. 6 Democratic primary, only two wards offer contested races. In Ward 3, Democratic voters will choose between incumbent Stephen Kunselman and Julie Grand. Ward 4 voters will have a choice between incumbent Marcia Higgins and Jack Eaton. Higgins was reported to have been sick and was unable to attend.
The format of the event eventually allowed other candidates who are unopposed in the Democratic primary to participate: Mike Anglin (Ward 5 incumbent), Sabra Briere (Ward 1 incumbent), and Kirk Westphal, who’s challenging incumbent Jane Lumm in Ward 2. Lumm, who was elected to the council as an independent, was in the audience at the forum but didn’t participate. The event was held at the Ann Arbor Community Center on North Main Street. The Chronicle’s coverage is presented in a multiple-part series, based on common threads that formed directly in response to questions posed to the candidates, or that cut across multiple responses.
More than one question posed to candidates was explicitly designed to elicit views on downtown Ann Arbor. Taken as a group, the questions prompted responses that formed several discrete subtopics related to land use and planning: planning in general; planning specifically for city-owned properties; and planning for a hotel/conference center.
Another general theme covered the role of the downtown in the life of the city of Ann Arbor, with additional subtopics that included: the appropriate balance of investment between downtown and non-downtown neighborhoods; who should and does benefit from the downtown; and the role of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority.
This report includes candidate responses on these issues.
Part 1 of this series focused on the candidates’ concept of and connection to Ann Arbor, while Part 2 looked at their personal styles of engagement and views of how the council interacts. Part 3 reported on the theme of connections, including physical connections like transportation, as well as how people are connected to local government. Chronicle election coverage is tagged with “2013 primary election.”
Ann Arbor street photographer Jack Kenny (who photographs AA people one day a week and who has traveled to Cuba about 50 times and written a book about the country, he tells us) is photographing Abigail Stauffer, musician/singer/songwriter who has appeared at The Ark (and other venues). After a few poses, Abigail jumps onto her bike and pedals away.
Thanks for clarifying. ["Street Closed Mayor's Green Fair 6-9 p.m. Tonight Public Welcome" sign on street barricade.] [photo]
Men working in large excavated pit at intersection, installing a new water main. Several people stop to watch, including some of the other workers. [photo]
On the south side of the block, in front of the federal building, community standards officer is ticketing cars. The block is parked full despite the clear “No Parking” signs. Officer explains that spaces had been added there when Fifth Avenue was closed for underground parking garage construction. People have not unlearned the habit.
Confab of men (with and without hardhats) in front of Real Seafood. Major renovation work in progress. [photo]
Digging up old drains on S. Fourth Avenue [video]
Workers are pulling out flowers – tulip bulbs? – from a Main Street planter. [photo]
Embassy Hotel signs and windows covered in plastic as building gets painted. [photo]
Saxophonist plays a jazz rendition of “Summertime.” [photo]
Writing on his blog Vacuum, Ed Vielmetti posts news that Eastern Accents, a downtown Ann Arbor restaurant at 214 Fourth Fourth Ave., will be closing its business on Saturday, March 16, at 7 p.m. A press release from the owners states: “A long-simmering dispute with our landlord has finally come to a head, and we’ve decided that it is time for change. … A wise person once said that life is a tapestry – that every person we meet, every event that we experience, and every interaction makes the tapestry more colorful, more vivid, and gives it greater depth. With that in mind, our family thanks everyone for making our tapestry more beautiful, and hope that in some …
Writing on her blog, Ann Arbor city councilmember Sabra Briere adds to the conversation about the future of five downtown city-owned parcels – the focus of the Connecting William Street project. She frames the question not in terms conference centers versus parks, but rather in terms of civic uses more generally: “I’d like a real discussion about civic uses downtown – and I’d like us to talk about the best ways we can pay for those uses.” [Source]