Liberty Plaza Fees Waived on Trial Basis

Fees for use of Liberty Plaza – a park located at Liberty and Divisions streets in downtown Ann Arbor – will be waived for the next year on a trial basis. Action to waive fees through July 1, 2014, was taken at the Ann Arbor city council’s July 15 meeting.

The park advisory commission had voted at its June 18, 2013 meeting to recommend a trial waiver of fees at Liberty Plaza. The fee waiver comes in response to a situation that arose earlier in the spring, when city staff applied fees to the hosting of Pizza in the Park in Liberty Plaza – a homelessness outreach ministry of a local church.

Members of Camp Take Notice, a self-governed homelessness community, have addressed the council at several of its recent meetings on this topic. They’re keen to see a more general written commitment that the city would allow humanitarian efforts to take place on public land generally. They’ve objected to the focus by the council and the park advisory commission on general activities – as opposed to the protection of humanitarian aid efforts.

For example, the staff memo accompanying the resolution states: “The waived rental fee will be promoted with a goal of attracting additional musicians, performers, and other events at Liberty Plaza.” And a key “whereas” clause of the resolution reads: “… it is the goal of PAC to further activate Liberty Plaza by increasing social, cultural, and recreational activities that take place there; …”

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]