Stories indexed with the term ‘downtown Ann Arbor’

Halloween 2012: Main Street Chills & Thrills

Editor’s note: Since 2008, Myra Klarman, a professional photographer based in Ann Arbor, has been sharing with Chronicle readers her images from the annual Main Street Halloween Treat Parade. [Take a look at her photos from 201120102009, and 2008 as well.] This year was a bit chilly, but trick-or-treaters – and Myra – were undaunted. We hope you enjoy the festivities – Happy Halloween!

Halloween, Myra Klarman, Ann Arbor, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Pretty pink skirt, and jacket, and bow, Miss Minnie Mouse is ready to go!

[Full Story]

Fifth Avenue Re-Opening: Mid-June

South Fifth Avenue in downtown Ann Arbor – one-way southbound between Liberty and William – will not be re-opened to traffic until sometime in mid-June. The street has been closed since August 2010 in connection with the construction of a new underground parking garage on the east side of Fifth, which will offer around 700 spaces. The city’s public parking system currently has 6,956 spaces.

At its May 2, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board had been updated with the expectation that the street would be re-opened by the end of May. [photo of South Fifth, taken on May 31]

The groundbreaking for the garage occurred in the fall of 2009. [photo] The project was originally expected to be … [Full Story]

Halloween 2011: Main Street Spooks, Sprites

Editor’s note: Myra Klarman, a professional photographer based in Ann Arbor, has been documenting Halloween cuteness for The Chronicle since 2008, capturing images from the annual Main Street Halloween Treat Parade. [Take a look at her images from 20102009, and 2008 Halloween festivities as well.] We hope you enjoy these little spooks and sprites as much as we do – Happy Halloween!

Little cow

Who ever said, Halloween should be scary? It always includes, a serving of dairy.

[Full Story]

Ann Arbor DDA Continues Planning Prep

At its regular partnerships committee meeting on June 8, 2011, members of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board continued their discussion, begun a month earlier, about how to implement the city council “parcel-by-parcel” resolution passed on April 4, 2011. That resolution gives the DDA responsibility for leading a process to explore alternative uses for downtown city-owned parcels: the Library Lot, old YMCA Lot, Palio Lot, Kline’s Lot, and the Fourth & William parking structure.

Doug Kelbough, Kit McCullough

Doug Kelbaugh and Kit McCullough at the June 8 partnerships meeting of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority.

The parcels are currently used for parking – except for the Library Lot. It’s the construction site for an underground garage that, when completed, will offer around 640 parking spaces. The structure is engineered to bear the weight of a building on top of it that’s as tall as 180 feet.

The main event of the June partnerships meeting was a formal proposal to lead a public engagement process that would take place starting this fall. The proposal came from Doug Kelbaugh, former dean of the University of Michigan’s college of architecture and urban planning, and Kit McCullough, who teaches at the college.

The two had attended the May partnerships meeting and given a more conversational, informal version of the proposal. As laid out by Kelbaugh and McCullough this month, the process would include three phases: (1) a data gathering phase; (2) a public meeting phase – one in October to solicit input, and one in November to present two or three concepts for the public’s response; and (3) a presentational phase – in January 2012, they’d consolidate feedback into a final concept plan, which would describe massing, ground floor uses, public/civic uses and pre-schematic site design.

Before Kelbaugh and McCullough presented their proposal, the conversation among committee members and other attendees ranged across several topics – the nature of suburban versus urban, the conceptual compared to the real, and the contrast between consensus and unanimity. The attendees, both at the table and in the audience, were a formidable group. They included local developer Peter Allen, who with his brother Lane presented a more elaborate version of the “four corners” concept that Allen had briefly sketched for the DDA board at their June 1 meeting. Those corners are the Allen Creek greenway (Ann Arbor downtown); the riverfront of the Huron River; the proposed Fuller Road Station near the University of Michigan’s medical complex; and the university’s central campus.

Also in attendance was Albert Berriz, CEO of McKinley Inc., a real estate development and property management firm. When asked for his advice, Berriz emphasized dealing with real people who had real capital and real ideas. He pointed to the McKinley Towne Centre renovation at Liberty and Division streets as an example of the kind of capital and commitment that’s required. Now eight years into that project, Berriz said, it’s really only just beginning. He anticipated it would take 20 years altogether to bring the project to full fruition.

Jesse Bernstein – chair of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority board, and former head of the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce (now the Ypsilanti-Ann Arbor Regional Chamber) – drew on the AATA’s experience over the last year or more in transit master planning. That had included a significant investment in educating the public as well as the AATA board, he said, simply in terms of what transit options are available. He also stressed that for him, “consensus is a special word.” It’s not about unanimity, he said, but rather about what you can live with.

DDA board member Russ Collins, executive director of the Michigan Theater, revisited a theme he’s highlighted before at DDA board meetings over at least the last year: Suburban versus urban development. The U.S. has seen 70 years of investment in suburban development, he said, and part of the idea of a downtown development authority is to direct at least a trickle of reinvestment in the existing infrastructure of urban centers.

Collins summed up his view of a path forward, based on the morning’s discussion, by saying, “We need to facilitate, educate and get real.” Susan Pollay, executive director of the DDA, suggested that the next partnerships meeting in July should be treated more like a retreat. The committee could settle in and figure out exactly how the DDA would meet the city council’s directive to facilitate a public engagement process to find alternate uses for downtown city-owned property. [Full Story]

AATA Hires Construction Manager for Blake

At its May 19, 2011 meeting, the board of the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority authorized a contract with Spence Brothers for up to a total of $384,000 to oversee two major construction projects: (1) demolition and reconstruction of the Blake Transit Center on Fourth Avenue in downtown Ann Arbor [$253,000]; and (2) expansion of the bus storage facility at the AATA headquarters located at 2700 Industrial [$131,000].

The need for a construction manager was identified by representatives of the Federal Transit Administration after reviewing AATA projects that are being funded with federal dollars.

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the Ann Arbor district library, where the AATA holds its meetings. A more detailed report of the meeting will follow. [Full Story]

Heritage Row Status Update

At its Feb. 7, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council offered a 90-day window during which developer Alex de Parry could resubmit his planned unit development (PUD) Heritage Row project with a reduction in the required submittal fees from around $5,000 to $2,000. The project has previously been rejected by the city council multiple times in different guises.

That 90-day window ended last Monday, May 9, without a resubmission by de Parry, according to city of Ann Arbor planning staff. The project could still be submitted to the city for review, but would not enjoy the fee reduction offered by the city council in February. A public engagement meeting, which is required by city ordinance for new projects, was … [Full Story]

Balancing Ann Arbor, Detroit – and a Vision


[Editor's Note: HD, a.k.a. Dave Askins, editor of The Ann Arbor Chronicle, is also publisher of an online series of interviews on a teeter totter. Introductions to new Teeter Talks, like this one, also appear on The Chronicle's website.]

Dante Chinne Patchwork Nation

Dante Chinni, co-athor of "Our Patchwork Nation." That's a Tigers cap he's wearing, and it's not accidental.

“I don’t want to be another city. I resent the fact that we are compared to other cities when projects are being proposed.”

That was Ali Ramlawi, owner of the Jerusalem Garden on South Fifth Avenue in downtown Ann Arbor, addressing the April 4, 2011 meeting of the Ann Arbor city council. He was criticizing the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, and advocating against a proposed conference center and hotel project on the Library Lot – the council voted the project down later that evening.

“Ann Arbor will change … but it won’t become Detroit.”

That was Dante Chinni, while riding the the teeter totter on my front porch last Thursday afternoon. Chinni has made it part of his job to compare communities like Ann Arbor – Washtenaw County, actually – to other places in the country.

Who is Dante Chinni? And why should Ann Arbor care what he thinks?

On his website, Chinni describes himself as a “a card-carrying member of the East Coast Media Industrial Complex.” The part of his job that lets him compare one place to another – in a statistically sophisticated way – is a project Chinni conceived called Patchwork Nation. It’s funded by the Knight Foundation. The effort has already produced a book, which he co-authored with James Gimpel: “Our Patchwork Nation: The Surprising Truth about the ‘Real’ America.”

Washtenaw County is featured in the chapter that introduces readers to the concept of a “Campus and Careers” community type. The classification, as well as a read through Dante’s Talk, confirm that mostly what defines Ann Arbor – at least for people on the outside looking in – is its place as the home of the University of Michigan. And certainly for people on the inside, it’s difficult to argue that UM isn’t currently the single most important institution in the community.

But some insiders – and by this I mean not just people who live, work and play here, but actual Ann Arbor insiders – are starting to float the question of what else Ann Arbor might aspire to be besides home to “the most profound educational institution in the Midwest.” [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Council Focuses on Downtown

Ann Arbor City Council meeting (April 4, 2011): At its Monday meeting, the council focused much of its time discussing the future of downtown Ann Arbor.


Councilmember Marcia Higgins (Ward 4) ticks through the list of parcels that would be the focus of a DDA-led development process. (Photos by the writer.)

Councilmembers voted on two major downtown-related agenda items – one affecting the immediate future of an individual parcel, the city-owned Library Lot. The other item involves a process by which the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority would lead the planning of development for multiple downtown parcels, including the Library Lot.

The council voted, over dissent from two of its members, to end the RFP process for the Library Lot and to reject a draft letter of intent they’d discussed at a March 14 work session, which would have called for the city to work with Valiant Partners to craft a development agreement for construction of a conference center and hotel on the lot. The Ann Arbor DDA is currently building a roughly 640-space underground parking garage on that parcel.

Based on a separate resolution passed by the council, the future use of the Library Lot could emerge from a process to be led by the DDA. The council required lengthy deliberations before narrowly approving an amendment that reduced the area of focus for the DDA-led process. The amendment limited the area to the square bounded by Ashley, Division, Liberty and William streets, which would include the Library Lot on South Fifth Avenue, the Kline Lot on Ashley, the old YMCA Lot at Fifth and William, and the Palio Lot at Main and William.

The resolution on the DDA-led process is part of a broader ongoing negotiation between the city and the DDA, related to the contract under which the DDA operates the city’s public parking system. That contract is being renegotiated, and since January, the city has not budged from its position that the DDA should pay the city a percentage-of-gross parking revenue of 16% in the contract’s first two years and 17.5% in years thereafter. It appears that the DDA board is gradually conceding to the city’s bargaining position. That will become clearer at the DDA board meeting on Wednesday, April 6.

The city’s negotiating position is based in part on the idea that the DDA is, as mayor John Hieftje has described it, “an arm of the city.” Hieftje’s view of the DDA as part of the city was further accentuated on Monday, when he announced at the end of the council’s meeting that he would be inviting the DDA to move its offices into newly-renovated space in the city hall building. The DDA currently leases space about a block south of city hall.

Also a part of Monday’s downtown-themed meeting was initial approval the council gave to a revision to the city’s ordinance on panhandling. That ordinance revision – which added some areas where panhandling is prohibited – will require a second reading and a public hearing in front of the council before it can be enacted.

An additional part of the downtown discussion came at the start of the council’s meeting, with a presentation on work being done to plan and study the 415 W. Washington parcel for future use as a center for artists and as a greenway park.

In non-downtown business, the council accepted a series of easements that will set the stage for TIGER II grant funds – already awarded by the federal government – to be formally obligated to the city. At stake is $13.1 million, which is currently still part of a continuing resolution for the federal budget. But that continuing resolution expires April 8, so the council was acting with some urgency.

The council also gave necessary approvals for a bus pullout to be constructed on Washtenaw Avenue, and authorized emergency purchase orders for furniture. And the council heard a presentation from Andrew Brix, the city’s energy programs manager, about efforts to increase the percentage of renewable energy that the city uses. [Full Story]

Panhandling Law Tweak Gets Initial OK

At its April 4, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council gave its initial approval to a revision to the city’s code on disorderly conduct – the part dealing with solicitation, which is more commonly known as panhandling. To be enacted, the ordinance revision will need a second vote by the council and a public hearing.

The revised ordinance prohibits panhandling in one generally-defined additional location (in or within 12 feet of a public alley) and one specific location (within 12 feet of the downtown location of the Ann Arbor District Library.) [.pdf of revisions to existing ordinance as they were drafted at the start of the April 4, 2011 meeting]

The proposal to revise the law grew out of a street outreach task force, which was appointed at the council’s Sept. 20, 2010 meeting and charged with developing cost-effective recommendations for addressing the issue of downtown panhandling and the needs of those who panhandle. [Previous Chronicle coverage: "Ann Arbor Task Force Consults Panhandlers"]

At the council’s March 21, 2011 meeting, the council received a report from two members of the task force – Maggie Ladd, executive director of the South University Area Association, and Charles Coleman, a project coordinator with Dawn Farm. A recommendation contained in the report included revising the city’s ordinance on solicitation to prohibit panhandling in additional locations. [.pdf of street outreach task force report]

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 100 N. Fifth Ave. A more detailed report will follow: [link] [Full Story]

DDA OKs Village Green Amendment

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board meeting (Feb. 2, 2011): On a day when other government bodies scrubbed their schedules due to a blizzard forecast, the DDA board held firm to its regular first-Wednesday-of-the-month meeting time. The diminished activity downtown due to the snow led Roger Hewitt to quip during the meeting: “This will not be a particularly profitable day in the parking system, I think we can safely say.” The meeting achieved attendance of 10 out of 12 board members.

Gary Boren, Roger Hewitt, John Hieftje, Keith Orr

From left to right: DDA board members Gary Boren, Roger Hewitt, John Hieftje, and Keith Orr. (Photos by the writer.)

In their one business item, the board approved an amendment to the contract with Village Green to develop a 244-space parking deck as the first two stories of a 9-story, 99-foot-tall building, City Apartments – a 156-unit residential planned unit development (PUD) at First and Washington.

Once the parking deck portion of the building is completed and issued a certificate of occupancy, the city of Ann Arbor has agreed to issue $9 million worth of bonds to purchase the deck, and the DDA has agreed to make the payments on those bonds. The amendment to the contract provides DDA consultants access to the site during construction activities to check that construction methods conform to standards that will ensure a 75-year life for the deck.

On the city council’s agenda for Monday, Feb. 7, 2011 is their own approval of the same amendment to the Village Green contract. The contract amendment is part of a timeline put in place on Aug. 5, 2010, when the city council approved an extension of Village Green’s option to purchase the First and Washington city-owned parcel for $3 million. That timeline calls for Village Green to purchase the land by June 1, 2011.

The $3 million proceeds from the hoped-for Village Green deal were part of the financing plan for the city’s new municipal center, and would have no direct impact on the current general fund’s $2.4 million deficit that’s forecast for the FY 2012 budget. However, during deliberations some DDA board members accepted the point made by their colleague Newcombe Clark – that there are likely indirect connections between the completion of the Village Green transaction and the city’s overall budget picture, at least in terms of cash flow.

In reports and communications entertained by the board, highlights included: (1) a continued interest on the part of the University of Michigan to absorb a segment of Monroe Street into the UM Law School campus; (2) complaints from the property manager at 416 Huron St. about disrepair of an alley and adjoining sidewalks in the area, as well as a lack of maintenance on property owned by the railroad; and (3) an elaboration by the mayor on some remarks about Borders that he’d made and that had been reported in the media. [Full Story]

Ann Arbor Hotel First to Get Design Review?

On the evening of Jan. 5, 2011, First Hospitality Group Inc. hosted a citizens participation meeting for the hotel project it’s proposing at the southwest corner of Washington and Division streets. The proposal calls for a 9-story, 104-room, LEED-certified building, facing South Division. The meeting, held at the downtown Ann Arbor District Library, was required by city ordinance – before submitting a site plan for the city to review, developers must invite owners of property within 1,000 feet of a proposed project to a forum that describes the plan.

Four corners at Washington and Division

The corners of Washington & Division, clockwise from top left: NW (former Ann Arbor News building); NE (411 Lofts); SE (McKinley's Towne Center); SW (parking lot, site of proposed Ann Arbor Hotel). Image links to larger file.

Much of the conversation between residents and First Hospitality’s Ira Ury revolved around the city’s downtown design guidelines. Even before the meeting, as Ury and resident Ilene Tyler introduced themselves, Tyler wanted to know if First Hospitality had used the design guidelines to develop the schematics on display.

Ury explained that his team had used the draft of the design guidelines that is available on the city’s website. But that draft, which dates from late 2009, has undergone considerable revision since February 2010, when the council appointed a task force to undertake further study and make a recommendation. The task force has been meeting almost weekly for the better part of the past year.

The task force unveiled its draft at a city council work session on Monday, Jan. 10. One key difference between the 2009 draft and the version the task force has now unveiled is the re-introduction of the original design guidelines advisory committee’s October 2007 recommendation for a design review process. It would be a mandatory process overseen by a design guidelines review board, with voluntary compliance by petitioners. But as Ray Detter, president of the Downtown Citizens Advisory Council, put it to Ury on Wednesday, if a developer doesn’t comply with the recommendations of the review board, “Everyone will know!”

Depending on the timing of city council approval of the design guidelines, First Hospitality’s project could be the first site plan that undergoes a formal design guidelines review process. At the council’s work session, Ward 4 councilmember Marcia Higgins said she planned to attach the final draft to the city council’s Jan. 18 agenda as a communications item, and to bring it forward for council approval at the Feb. 7 meeting.

What exactly are these design guidelines? Where did they come from? When might they be approved? [Full Story]

Photo Essay: Halloween 2010 on Main Street

Editor’s note: This is the third year that Myra Klarman, a professional photographer based in Ann Arbor, has graced The Chronicle with her charming photographs of the annual Main Street Halloween Treat Parade, when merchants pass out goodies to pint-sized princesses and puppies, ghouls and goblins. [Take a look at her images from 2009 and 2008 Halloween parades as well.] After seeing Myra’s photographs last year, one of our readers commented: “This makes me like our town.” We agree. Happy Halloween!

Blue Ghoul Princess with face painted white, out along Main Street causing a fright.

[Full Story]

John Leidy Shop to Close in Late February

The entrance to the John Leidy shop at 601 E. Liberty, adjacent to the Michigan Theater. (Photo by the writer.)

The entrance to the John Leidy shop at 601 E. Liberty, next to the Michigan Theater. (Photo by the writer.)

Just after noon on Sunday, several people had already assembled in the John Leidy gift shop on East Liberty: three generations of the family-owned business, and two self-described “Leidy Ladies” – long-time staff at the 58-year-old store.

A Chronicle reader had contacted us with news that the store planned to close. So we stopped by to talk with the Leidy family, who were gathering there after coming from church: John Leidy’s widow, Ann Leidy, their daughter Liz Arsenault, who manages the store, and son Peter Leidy, who’s acting as spokesman for the family.

Postcards were mailed to their customers over the last few days announcing plans to close at the end of February, when their lease is up. But on Sunday, Peter Leidy told The Chronicle that they weren’t yet ready for an interview. There’s a lot of emotion, he said, and gratitude to customers – but it’s a hard time for them. [Full Story]

Photo Essay: Halloween on Main Street

Editor’s note: In what has now officially become an annual Chronicle tradition, we’re delighted to document this year’s Main Street Halloween Treat Parade through the eyes and lens of Myra Klarman, a professional photographer who lives and works in Ann Arbor. Downtown merchants handed out treats to dozens of spooks, superheros, puppies and princesses. If there were tricks, we sure didn’t see any – other than a little rain. Happy Halloween.

Boy in a lion's costume

The Lion

[Full Story]

Ann Arbor Fourth of July Parade

Candy-throwing politicians, a bike choir, baton twirlers, horseback riders, more politicians, clowns, a fife & drum corps and others marched the route as entries in this year’s Ann Arbor Fourth of July parade, which drew thousands of spectators to line the streets of downtown Saturday morning. The Chronicle enjoyed the spectacle and snapped a few photographs.

Crowd at Main and Liberty

A crowd at the northeast corner of Main and Liberty awaits the next parade entry.

[Full Story]

Work, Meet, Learn, Roll

confluence of textures at the Workantile

A confluence of textures at the Workantile Exchange. The wheels on the table legs let them glide across the predominantly hardwood floors to wherever they need to be.

What kind of “helpful” customer rearranges whole shelves of technology books at Borders – because the downtown Ann Arbor bookstore has them organized in a less-than-optimal way? Trek Glowacki.

For that sort of book rearranging, Glowacki is supported by the credential of a master’s in library science from the University of Michigan’s School of Information. Plus, the “self-described information problem solver” spends a lot of time at Border’s. It wasn’t some kind of drive-by book reorganization.

Given that Glowacki is inclined to reconfigure the space he inhabits – even if it’s a public space – it’s not surprising that he and his colleague, Jesse Sielaff, wound up using the Workantile Exchange as the venue for a course they taught recently.

That venue is a new coworking space at 118 S. Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor – a space furnished mostly with chairs and tables on wheels. It’s intended to be easily configured by the members of the Workantile Exchange to suit the specific needs of a particular project on a particular day.

The 3,000 square foot Workantile is partitioned into a very public area towards the front (just behind the new Mighty Good Coffee storefront), private areas for phone calls, plus a conference room towards the back.

But it was Workantile’s 800 square foot Training Loft that Glowacki and Sielaff used to teach their 5-week Ruby on Rails course. That course concluded on Thursday – the same day that Ann Arbor public schools wound up their year.

What’s Ruby on Rails? [Hint: It's not a Wizard of Oz mass transit system.] And how does teaching classes fit into Workantile’s culture of coworking? [Full Story]

UM Team Carves Ice Downtown

ice carving

Andrew Dickinson surveys what he has wrought.

Men wielding chainsaws plunging them into big blocks of ice, sending a spray of frozen mist skyward – that’ll make The Chronicle stop and watch … for longer than a Stopped.Watched. item. Out in front of Bella Ciao on Liberty Street just east of Ashley, Andrew Hoeffner and Andrew Dickinson were enjoying a minor difference of opinion about how to proceed with the carving, which the restaurant had commissioned. But the chainsaw slice had been made and there was pretty much no turning back.

Hoeffner, who’s a sophomore at the University of Michigan, and in his second year of carving for the Michigan Ice Carving Team, said that they’d already adjusted the planned design somewhat: They’d started with the idea of making the letters of “Bella Ciao” raised relief, but switched to carving the outlines into the ice. [Full Story]

Drumming for Dollars Downtown

Liberty Street Busking with drum.

Liberty Street busking with drum.

You’re standing at the corner of Main and Liberty streets in downtown Ann Arbor. An out-of-towner shows you his bleeding hands and asks, “Is there any place around here I can buy a Band-Aid?” The Chronicle had an answer. For readers who’d like see how their own answers might match up, it’s left to the end of this article.

What trauma led to the blood on Rick Hale’s hands? He’d spent the previous hour pounding out improvised rhythms on his djembe just outside the Parthenon restaurant. [Full Story]

Citing Economy, Board Halts Library Project

Josie Parker, Rebecca Head and Jan Barney Newman listen as other library board members discuss the decision to put the downtown building project on hold.

Josie Parker, Rebecca Head and Jan Barney Newman at Monday morning's special library board meeting.

A somber Ann Arbor District Library board voted unanimously this morning to suspend its ambitious project to build a new downtown library, though they held out the possibility of resuming the plan if and when the economy improves.

“I think we’re talking about a detour – at least I’m talking about a detour,” said board chair Rebecca Head.

The board called a special meeting for this morning which began in a closed session with the library’s real estate attorney, Jim Adams of Butzel Long. They reconvened for a public meeting at 10:15 a.m., and Head announced that Adams had delivered disturbing news about the bond market that was “very sobering.” [Full Story]

Downtown Obama & Garden


Banner from the Obama campaign hung in the Downtown Home & Garden courtyard Thursday night.

By Thursday night, the imperative “Make History” on the Obama campaign banner could have well been changed to the past tense “Made.” But along with a second banner reading “Hope,” it made a nice backdrop for a party pitched for the folks who worked on the Obama campaign at the First and Liberty headquarters.

The post-election celebration was held just down the block from Obama headquarters in the courtyard area of Downtown Home & Garden, which owner Mark Hodesh had made available.

One take-away from the event for The Chronicle … [Full Story]

Column: Waiting Too Long for the Go

Looking east across Ashley at Liberty Street.

Looking east, crossing Ashley on the south side of Liberty Street.

The city of Ann Arbor has been installing some new traffic lights around town. Traditional signals display a “Walk” light for as long as 25 seconds. This new type of signal displays a “Walk” light for only four seconds, out of a total cycle of up to 90 seconds. One example of such a signal is the crossing of State Street at Liberty Street downtown. [Full Story]

Digging into Downtown History


Historic Marker at Ashley and Washington: "Germans in Ann Arbor"

Just a brief note to alert Chronicle readers to two events on the western edge of downtown tomorrow (Oct. 2). At the DDA Board meeting today, Ray Detter, of the Downtown Area Citizens Advisory Council, announced that there would be a dedication ceremony at 5 p.m. of the new wall displays at Ashley and Washington streets, which is a part of the Downtown Ann Arbor Historic Street Exhibit Program. “At lunchtime workmen bought beer by the bucket from nearby saloons,” reads part of the text from one of the installations.

The second event is not an “event” per … [Full Story]

Underground Parking Garage Plans Reviewed

Last Friday afternoon in the sixth floor conference room of the Larcom Building, an aerial image of the block between Fifth and Division Streets was projected on the screen. The source of the image came from a computer in the back of the room, manned by Brad Ruppel, of the city’s land development review services. Throughout the meeting Ruppel zoomed, panned, toggled between mapping tools, and brought up various other images to support the back-and-forth between city staff and members of the project team for the South Fifth Avenue Underground Parking Garage and Street Improvement Site Plan. The meeting was an opportunity for city staff to explain what revisions to the plan would be required on resubmission, which is due on Sept. 24. [Full Story]

Preview: Bicycle Racing in Downtown Ann Arbor

For four hours on Sunday, September 7, visitors to downtown Ann Arbor will be treated to a series of bicycle races on a 1.35 kilometer loop, all a part of the Priority Health Ann Arbor Cycling Classic. The Senior Women’s category gets things rolling at 10 a.m., with the afternoon wrapping up with the Men’s Pro 1 category race starting at 2 p.m. Registration for the 12:20 p.m. free kids race will begin at 10 a.m. at the corner of William and Main.

For fans of bicycle racing who want to see the race from a prime spectating location, a $25 membership in the Breakaway VIP Club will provide exactly that. In addition to online … [Full Story]

Would the Owner of a Blue Honda Civic …


This Car Has Been Impounded

The first football Saturday morning of the season got off to a pretty awful start for one Texan, whose blue Honda Civic was tagged with a neat sign reading “This Car Has Been Impounded” tucked under the wiper blades. [Full Story]