Positions Added to North Main Task Force

At its May 21, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council added four positions to a task force to study the corridor along North Main Street and the Huron River – a member of the city council, someone from the boating/fishing community of river users, a representative from the Huron River Citizens Association, and a member of the Ann Arbor public art commission (AAPAC).

The member from AAPAC was added by a 6-5 vote that amended the original resolution. Voting for the additional member were Tony Derezinski (Ward 2), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3), Margie Teall (Ward 4), Carsten Hohnke (Ward 5), Mike Anglin (Ward 5), and mayor John Hiefjte.

When the task force was established at the council’s May 7, 2012 meeting, the membership had included the following: one member of the park advisory commission, one member of the planning commission, one resident representing the Water Hill neighborhood, one resident representing the North Central neighborhood, one resident from the Old Fourth Ward, one resident representing the Broadway/Pontiac neighborhood, two business and property owners from the affected area, and one member of the Huron River Watershed Council.

The appointment of actual members to the task force has not yet been made. Sandi Smith (Ward 1) indicated that the complete set of names might be expected by the council’s June 4 meeting.

The task force is charged with delivering a report to the city council more than a year from now – by July 31, 2013 – that describes “a vision to create/complete/enhance pedestrian and bike connection from downtown to Bandemer and Huron River Drive, increase public access to the river-side amenities of existing parks in the North Main-Huron River corridor, ease traffic congestion at Main and Depot at certain times of a day and recommend use of MichCon property at Broadway; …”

Earlier than that – by the end of 2012 – the task force is to make recommendations on the use of the city-owned 721 N. Main parcel.

The creation of the task force comes in the context of the city’s application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for funds to demolish two former maintenance yard buildings on the city-owned 721 N. Main parcel. The application has been approved by FEMA, but is pending the update of the city’s All-Hazard plan, which had expired and is being updated. FEMA is willing to help fund the demolition, because the two buildings are located in the floodway. The city council’s eventual acceptance of the FEMA grant will require a deed restriction on development in the floodway portion of the parcel.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]