Stories indexed with the term ‘public use’

Column: Rocking Back on the Library Lot

Collectively, we residents of Ann Arbor are a little bit like an old man who sits in a rocking chair telling the same old stories over and over again to anyone who will listen. Before we start, we do not say: Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Because even then we would not stop.

Man in rocking chair.

This illustration is a mashup of a photo taken on July 12, 2012, the day of the grand opening of the Library Lane parking structure, and a photograph from the author’s family archives on which an original lyric is based: “I’m an old man, and I don’t care, I’m sitting here in my rockin’ chair, watching the mean old world go by …”

And so it is that we’ll talk about the nuisance of the deer herd in 2008 … and again in 2014. We’ll talk about slush puddles in the downtown in 2009 … and again in 2014.

We talk about those things not because we suffer from community-wide senility, but rather because they are issues that remain in some way unresolved.

And that is why we are again talking about the top of the Library Lane underground parking structure in downtown Ann Arbor. The project included not just the parking deck itself, but also streetscape improvements to Fifth and Division, other pedestrian improvements, and investments in foundations and other work to support future development – a total of about $59 million worth of stuff.

The bulk of that cost was financed through Build America Bonds. What are the implications of the BAB financing for the future use of the parking structure’s spaces? That’s the question prompting me to write this column. I’d like to orient the public to the city’s analysis of how those spaces can be allocated to private uses.

Related to that, a resolution to be placed on the city council’s March 17 meeting agenda by the council audit committee is good news. The resolution would waive attorney-client privilege on a document that I think will help clarify questions associated with those bonds.

But I want to fill in some background first. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. [Full Story]