Stories indexed with the term ‘downtown park’

Concerns Voiced over Urban Park Proposal

Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (Feb. 25, 2014): Of the four briefings given at PAC’s February meeting, drawing the most discussion was a proposal to build an urban park on top of the Library Lane underground parking structure.

Will Hathaway, Library Green Conservancy, Ann Arbor park advisory commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Will Hathaway gave a presentation about a proposal to build an urban park at the Library Lane site. He spoke on behalf of the Library Green Conservancy, which is working with some city councilmembers on the proposal. (Photos by the writer.)

Commissioners were briefed by Will Hathaway on behalf of the Library Green Conservancy, which has been advocating for a large section of the site to be designated as a park. He described a resolution that was later brought forward by Jack Eaton (Ward 4) at the council’s March 3, 2014 meeting.

Hathaway highlighted aspects of the proposal that drew on recommendations made by PAC to the city council last fall. He said he wasn’t asking for PAC to take any specific action on this proposal, but asked for feedback. Several commissioners raised concerns, including some that focused on the process of bringing this resolution forward without specific direction from the council. Hathaway noted that the resolution is intended to start the process, with council direction, to begin working with stakeholders, PAC, the public and others in the design and development of this park.

Subsequently, at the March 3 council meeting, PAC chair Ingrid Ault and former chair Julie Grand both spoke during public commentary and urged postponement of the resolution. Mayor John Hieftje, responding to the initiative, gave his own presentation on March 3 with a different vision for connected urban spaces downtown.

And Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3) told councilmembers that he wanted a postponement to have time to meet with Ann Arbor District Library board members about moving the library over to the surface of the Library Lane structure. He also plans to bring forward a resolution that would move towards hiring a broker to list development rights on the Library Lane surface for sale.

Ultimately, the council voted to postpone action until its March 17 meeting. At that meeting, it’s likely that Eaton will bring forward a revised resolution, a copy of which was provided to The Chronicle on March 13. The revised resolution indicates that the area designated as a park would be 12,000 square feet, compared to 10,000 square feet in the original resolution. That square footage reflects the actual dimensions of the proposed boundaries, according to a staff memo. The revised resolution also eliminates an October 2014 deadline for making design recommendations to the council, and deletes any reference to PAC. [.pdf of revised resolution for March 17 council meeting]

In other action at PAC’s Feb. 25 meeting, commissioners heard three other presentations related to city parks. Councilmember Chuck Warpehoski (Ward 5) described a proposed ordinance that he’s brought to council regarding outdoor smoking in public places, including parks. Elements of the ordinance include authorizing the city administrator to have signs posted designating certain parks or portions of parks as off limits for outdoor smoking.

Kerry Gray, the city’s urban forest & natural resources planning coordinator, gave a presentation to PAC about the urban and community forest management plan. The city recently released a draft and is seeking input. And Doug Kelly, Ann Arbor’s director of golf, gave an update on the city’s two golf courses at Huron Hills and Leslie Park.

In voting items, PAC recommended approval of an amendment to the city’s golf cart lease with Pifer Inc., and supported approval of contracts for work at Windemere and Clinton parks.

Commissioners also got a brief financial update for the current fiscal year, which runs through June 30, 2014. Bob Galardi, chair of PAC’s budget and finance committee, summarized the status this way: “Basically, we’re in great shape.” [Full Story]

Parks Group Briefed on Urban Park Proposal

A proposal to build an urban park on top of the Library Lane underground parking structure was presented at the Feb. 25, 2014 meeting of the Ann Arbor park advisory commission.

Library Lane, Ann Arbor park advisory commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Library Lane park proposal

The presentation by Will Hathaway, on behalf of the Library Green Conservancy, included a draft proposal of a resolution for the city council to reserve about 10,000 square feet on the surface of the Library Lane Structure for an urban park, to be “bounded by the Fifth Avenue sidewalk on the west, the Library Lane Street sidewalk to the south, the western entry to … [Full Story]

Downtown Ann Arbor Parks Report Accepted

In action taken by the Ann Arbor city council, a report produced by the city’s park advisory commission has been formally accepted. The council’s action took place at its Nov. 7, 2013 meeting, over dissent by Mike Anglin (Ward 5), who serves on PAC as an ex officio member.

A subcommittee of the park advisory commission (PAC) has been meeting since early 2013 to explore the possibilities for a new downtown park. The subcommittee delivered its recommendations at the Oct. 15, 2013 meeting of PAC. [.pdf of 21-page full subcommittee report]

Ingrid Ault chaired the subcommittee, which also included Julie Grand, Alan Jackson and Karen Levin. Ault, who was recently elected chair of PAC, spoke to the council on Nov. … [Full Story]