Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board meeting (May 7, 2014): The board’s meeting highlighted two main themes – transportation and energy – the day after a new public transportation millage was approved by voters in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township.
Though the board did not take action on adding circulator bus service to the downtown, the idea was brought up and referred to the operations committee. That was not unexpected, as the board had previously passed a resolution pledging possibly to increase the DDA’s support of transportation, if the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority’s new millage were to be approved. One specific idea mentioned at the May 7 meeting was to provide a shuttle on Saturdays between the Ann Ashley parking structure and the Ann Arbor farmers market.
The board did take action on two other transportation-related items: a lease to Greyhound for use of office space to be built out in the Fourth & William parking structure; and the setting of a $5 million project budget for renovations at that same parking structure.
The Greyhound lease would provide a temporary location for Greyhound over the next two years as the bus company will not be able to remain in its Huron Street location – because the property owner, First Martin Corp., is planning a hotel at that spot. After assessment of operations at AAATA’s new Blake Transit Center (BTC), when construction is complete, Greyhound could eventually find a home at the BTC – if it turns out to be feasible.
Establishing a $5 million project budget for the Fourth & William parking structure renovations will allow the creation of construction drawings, and after that a request from the city council to approve the issuance of bonds to cover the cost of the project. The renovations are prompted by a need to replace the aging elevator in the southwest corner of the building, but will likely include improvements to facades and possibly a build-out of ground-floor area for use as retail space.
The Fourth & William parking structure was also part of the meeting’s energy theme. It already includes two parking spaces that are equipped with chargers for electric cars. During public commentary, the board heard from a monthly permit holder at Fourth & William, who wanted to transfer her monthly parking permit to the Library Lane structure. The two spaces at Fourth & William are often occupied, she reported, and she thinks she might have better luck at Library Lane, which offers six electric vehicle chargers.
In another energy-related action, the board delayed a decision on paying roughly $100,000 for the conversion of DTE-owned streetlights in the downtown area to LED technology. In delaying, board members cited the fact that the roughly $20,000 in energy savings would not be realized by the DDA, but rather by the city of Ann Arbor’s general fund. The resolution could be approved at the board’s June meeting and still meet a DTE deadline.
Among other information reported at the meeting, the DDA has decided that it will not lease the former Y lot back from Dennis Dahlmann so that it can continue to be used as part of the public parking system until Dahlmann develops the property. Under the terms of the purchase agreement between the city of Ann Arbor and Dahlmann a certificate of occupancy for a new building on that site is required by January 2018.
In other business, the board voted to deny an appeal made under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act.