Downtown Ann Arbor Parks Report Accepted

In action taken by the Ann Arbor city council, a report produced by the city’s park advisory commission has been formally accepted. The council’s action took place at its Nov. 7, 2013 meeting, over dissent by Mike Anglin (Ward 5), who serves on PAC as an ex officio member.

A subcommittee of the park advisory commission (PAC) has been meeting since early 2013 to explore the possibilities for a new downtown park. The subcommittee delivered its recommendations at the Oct. 15, 2013 meeting of PAC. [.pdf of 21-page full subcommittee report]

Ingrid Ault chaired the subcommittee, which also included Julie Grand, Alan Jackson and Karen Levin. Ault, who was recently elected chair of PAC, spoke to the council on Nov. 7 during public commentary to provide highlights of the report.

The subcommittee’s work was undertaken in response to a request last year by mayor John Hieftje. It’s also meant to supplement the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority’s Connecting William Street project.

The subcommittee’s work was guided by this mission statement:

To determine whether and what additional parks are wanted and/or needed in downtown Ann Arbor, focusing on city-owned parcels in the DDA district while maintaining awareness of additional nearby properties, for example: Liberty Plaza, 721 N. Main and 415 W. Washington. The “deliverable” will be a set of recommendations for the City Council.

The eight recommendations are wide-ranging, but include a site-specific recommendation to develop a new park/open space area on the top of the Library Lot underground parking structure. Now a surface parking lot, the site is owned by the city and is situated just north of the Ann Arbor District Library’s downtown building. The recommendation calls for only a portion of the site to be used for a new park/open space, and stresses that AADL should be involved in the planning process. The AADL board and staff discussed this recommendation at their Oct. 21, 2013 meeting.

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.