Ann Arbor to Apply for Grants for 721 N. Main

The city-owned parcel at 721 N. Main was the subject of two grant applications authorized by the Ann Arbor city council at its Dec. 17, 2012 meeting. One application is for a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund grant. The other is to the Washtenaw County parks and recreation commission’s Connecting Communities program.

The city considers its proposal for 721 N. Main to be a strong candidate for the Connecting Communities grant, because it incorporates paths and trails through the site that could potentially be extended to connect to the cross-county Border-to-Border Trail.  [.jpg of conceptual 721 N. Main site plan]

The conceptual site plan includes the following: (1) open space on the floodway portion of the site; (2) floodway portion of the site used for stormwater management; (3) trail connection from Felch and Summit streets encourages future connections to Border‐to‐Border Trail, looping trail through the site; (4) areas not identified as lawn, stormwater management, or other use are assumed to be a native prairie-type landscape; (5) interpretive elements will be included; (6) parking is proposed to be provided off Summit, outside of the floodplain – parking is prohibited in the floodway; and (7) recommendations for future use of the existing building will be based on additional investigations.

The recommendation to apply for the grants stems from the work of a task force appointed by the city council at its May 7, 2012 meeting, to study an area much broader than just the 721 N. Main site. The larger area includes the North Main corridor, extending to the Huron River and including the MichCon property. The connections from 721 N. Main to the Border-to-Border Trail might be given a clearer vision when the task force delivers its recommendation to the city council in the summer of 2013. The task force was asked to provide a recommendation on the 721 N. Main site earlier than that, due to grant application deadlines.

The Connecting Communities grant application is due by the end of the year, while the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant is due April 1, 2013. Historically, Ann Arbor has competed successfully for the statewide grants, last year receiving two MNRTF grants, each for $300,000. One was for renovations to the Gallup Park boating facilities, and the other was for the skatepark to be built in Veterans Memorial Park. Construction on the skatepark is expected to begin in the spring of 2013.

Since 1976, the MNRTF has awarded about $0.4 billion statewide. Of that, about $19 million (4.4%) has been awarded to projects in Washtenaw County. Of the projects in Washtenaw County, those in the city of Ann Arbor have received $6.4 million (32.3%). [.jpg of pie chart of statewide NRTF allocations by county] [.jpg of pie chart of countywide NRTF allocations by jurisdiction]

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]