Ypsi Council To Be Briefed on Rec Center

A proposal for a new county recreation center in Ypsilanti’s Water Street area is the focus of an Ypsilanti city council working session on Tuesday, Oct. 4, held prior to the council’s regular evening meeting. A memo from Bob Tetens, director of the Washtenaw County parks & recreation department, outlines the proposed East Side Recreation Center and is included in the council packet. [.pdf of memo from Tetens]

In the memo, Tetens states that the new center would be similar, both in size and characteristics, to the county’s Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center, located on Washtenaw Avenue at Platt Road. However, the programming and other features would be unique to the Ypsilanti area community. The MLM rec center has a swimming pool, multi-court gymnasium, track, and cardio and strength training rooms, among other features.

The county parks & rec department hopes to secure 12 acres of city-owned property on the western edge of the Water Street site. The roughly 50,000-square-foot center would front both the Huron River and Michigan Avenue, and would include about three acres for a park along the river.

Tetens’ memo addresses the issue of contamination at the site, which the city has been working to remediate for future development: “Although the Water Street site was at one time contaminated, the major problems have been mitigated, and with careful site planning and design implementation, the area can safely be used by residents and visitors. By drawing people to this area, to use the recreation center, outdoor spaces and trails, mixed-use development of the adjacent open land to the east will be stimulated to yield long term economic benefits for the City.”

A schematic of the site provided with the memo shows how the center could fit with future commercial and residential development in the Water Street area, which covers about 38 acres. In his memo, Tetens states that the center would make residential and commercial developments more marketable, would help create a more walkable, vibrant environment, and would fit with several strategic plans, including the city’s master plan, the Huron River corridor study, and the non-motorized plan for Washtenaw County.

As a working session item, the proposal will be a topic of discussion by Ypsilanti city councilmembers, but they will not act on it at tonight’s meeting.