Stories indexed with the term ‘Allen Creek’

Bonds OK’d for Allen Creek Drain Project

Washtenaw County commissioners authorized backing bonds for a drain project along Miller Avenue in Ann Arbor – in the Allen Creek drainage district – with the county’s full faith and credit. The unanimous vote took place at the county board’s Feb. 20, 2013 meeting, following initial approval on Feb. 6, 2013.

The backing is for up to $1.58 million in bonds for the project, which will repaid through a special assessment against the city of Ann Arbor. The project is being handled by the office of the Washtenaw County water resources commissioner, led by Evan Pratt. It’s the first project brought forward by Pratt, who took office in January.

According to a staff memo, the funds will be used “to … [Full Story]

County Backs Bond for Ann Arbor Drain Project

Funding for a drain project along Miller Avenue in Ann Arbor – in the Allen Creek drainage district – took a step toward being backed by Washtenaw County’s full faith and credit, following initial approval at the county board’s Feb. 6, 2013 meeting. A final vote is expected on Feb. 20.

The backing is for up to $1.58 million in bonds for the project, which will repaid through a special assessment against the city of Ann Arbor. The project is being handled by the office of the Washtenaw County water resources commissioner, led by Evan Pratt. It’s the first project brought forward by Pratt, who took office in January. Pratt attended the Feb. 6 meeting but did not formally address the … [Full Story]

First & Liberty

Street markings of where the Allen Creek drain runs under West Liberty, possibly related to the construction of Village Green’s “Ann Arbor City Apartments” at First & Washington. [photo]

Burrowing Under Railroad Berm: Feasible?

On Wednesday, Ann Arbor city staff led a tour of property starting from the city-owned 721 N. Main site, northwards to the entrance ramp of M-14. On the tour were some members of a recently established North Main-Huron River corridor task force.

BirdsEye view of railroad berm

View of Depot Street from the south. The railroad track curves northward as it passes by Argo Dam, visible at the top of this image.

They were briefed on the status of the 721 N. Main property’s status with respect to potential environmental contamination – which is apparently less certain than what’s been portrayed recently by elected officials.

Task force members were also briefed on a related project that’s in its initial stages: a feasibility study for opening up the railroad berm separating the area south of Depot Street (including 721 N. Main) from the Huron River. The railroad tracks run along the top of the berm. The idea is to study the possible impact of replacing the solid berm – which acts as a dam for stormwater flow from the Allen Creek creekshed – with a culvert or a trestled system for suspending the tracks.

The primary impetus behind the berm project is stormwater management and flood mitigation. That’s reflected by the fact that the source of funds for the roughly $50,000 feasibility study would be from the city’s stormwater utility. The feasibility study would move ahead only if it’s approved by the city council, which will likely have the item on its agenda in about two months.

But the railroad berm study also has implications for pedestrian connections and riverside access – which the task force is supposed to study. The task force is asked to create a vision that, among other things, improves pedestrian and bicycle connections to Bandemer Park and increases public access to riverside parks.

So the railroad berm feasibility study has been coordinated with the goal of pedestrian accessibility. The RFP (request for proposals) for the study includes among its tasks a study of the potential for non-motorized access through the railroad berm.

The problematic character of pedestrian movement on the North Main corridor was evident during the July 25 tour. As the tour group made its way northward toward the M-14 entrance ramp, it repeated a pattern of fracturing into smaller clusters and re-grouping. That was partly a function of the size of the group (about 10 people), but also the corridor itself.

The relatively narrow walkable space – between the road to the left, and fences, buildings or vegetation on the right – features sidewalk slabs in need of repair and sections of dirt path that require single-file passage. Noise from rush hour traffic made conversation difficult along the way.

A year from now, on July 31, 2013, the task force is supposed to deliver its report on a vision for the corridor. Earlier than that, by the end of 2012, the task force has been asked to provide a recommendation on the use of 721 N. Main.

For task force members and members of the public, the same tour will be repeated on Aug. 1, starting at 5 p.m. from 721 N. Main. [Full Story]

Four County Drain/Water Projects OK’d

At its July 11, 2012 meeting, the Washtenaw County board of commissioners approved backing the bonds for four projects proposed by the county’s water resources commissioner, including three in Ann Arbor.

The three Ann Arbor projects are: (1) stabilizing Traver Creek as it runs through the Leslie Park Golf Course, costing up to $1.805 million; (2) providing stormwater retention and infiltration from the road surface using porous asphalt on Willard Street, in the Allen Creek drain district and costing up to $345,000; and (3) providing bio-retention and stormwater capture via reforestation as part of a Huron River “green infrastructure” project, costing up to $345,000.

The Ann Arbor projects require the county to give its full faith and credit, although the payment of bonds … [Full Story]

City Council Expands North Main Task Force

Ann Arbor city council meeting (May 21, 2012) Part 1: Although the council’s meeting did not conclude until around 1:30 a.m., the late hour was not attributable to the relatively heavy agenda. It was due to the extensive deliberations on the fiscal year 2013 budget, which the council finally approved over dissent from two of its members. A breakdown of amendments to the budget is included in The Chronicle’s report filed from the meeting. Deliberations on those budget amendments are covered in the forthcoming Part 2 of this meeting report.

Left is Sandi Smith (Ward 1). Right is Sabra Briere (Ward 1). The two had co-sponsored a resolution establishing a task force to study the North Main Street and Huron River corridor.

From left: Councilmembers Sandi Smith (Ward 1) and Sabra Briere (Ward 1). The two had co-sponsored a resolution establishing a task force to study the North Main Street and Huron River corridor. (Photos by the writer.)

In addition to the budget, the council efficiently dispatched with a fairly packed agenda of regular items, which are covered in this part of the meeting report. The item generating the most discussion was a follow-up to action taken at the council’s previous meeting on May 7, to establish a task force to study the North Main Street and Huron River corridor.

That resolution had provided for nine task force members representing different constituencies. At the May 21 meeting, a resolution was brought forward to add three members. A debate unfolded about whether to add a fourth member – from the Ann Arbor public art commission – to the mix. Ultimately that addition was approved narrowly on a 6-5 vote on the 11-member council.

While the North Main task force is meant to develop a vision for future land use in the corridor, the council took action on several current land use items too. Winning easy approval were a site plan for Allen Creek Preschool on Miller Avenue, and a rezoning and site plan for Michigan AAA on South Main Street. The council also quickly approved six routine rezoning requests associated with annexation from a township into the city of Ann Arbor.  And councilmembers gave initial approval to revisions of the planned unit development regulations for a Shell service station on Ann Arbor-Saline and West Eisenhower Parkway.

Associated with these land use items were a total of 10 separate public hearings. However, no one addressed the council during any of those hearings.

The city’s park system made it onto the agenda in a few different ways. First, a consent agenda item was pulled out for separate consideration to highlight the fact that renovations to South University Park were being funded with a $50,000 gift that had been made by a couple – Leslie and Michael Morris – who previously lived next to the park. The council also approved the lease of a 40-space parking lot near Argo Canoe liveries to meet additional demand for river trips that has been generated by construction of the Argo Cascades bypass around the dam.

Related to open space outside the city were the reappointments of two members of the greenbelt advisory commission – Peter Allen and Catherine Riseng. The commission overseas a portion of the city’s open space and parkland preservation millage.

Financial issues considered by the council included initial approval to increase water, sewer and stormwater rates that will together generate an additional $1.7 million in annual revenue. The council also approved a tax abatement for Sakti3, a battery technology company in Ann Arbor that is looking to expand its operation here.

Other items on the agenda included receipt of a federal grant to develop a strategy for improved energy efficiency in rental housing, as well as a grant administered for laptop computers to be used as electronic pollbooks. The computers are used for election record-keeping, not for casting ballots. The council also gave initial approval to an ordinance revision that relieves homeowners of responsibility for maintaining sidewalks adjacent to their property for the duration of the sidewalk-repair millage, which voters approved in November 2011. [Full Story]

Allen Creek Preschool Site Plan OK’d

At its May 21, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council approved a site plan for the Allen Creek Preschool, located at 2350 Miller Ave.

The site plan had been recommended unanimously for approval by the Ann Arbor planning commission at its April 17, 2012 meeting. The commission also granted a special exception use for the project.

The project entails building a one-story, 929-square-foot addition onto the west end of an existing 3,111-square-foot preschool building, for a new total of 4,040 square feet. The preschool has an agreement with the Korean Methodist Church at 1526 Franklin Street to use eight parking spaces at the church lot. On-street parking is available on Miller Avenue and Franklin Street.

The special exception use is required because the project … [Full Story]

Drilling for the Drains

drill at pioneer

Pat Cody looks a bit cold working on the drilling rig in the Pioneer High School field diagonally across from Michigan Stadium.

When Steve Bean filed a Stopped. Watched. item reporting a drilling rig putting holes in the Pioneer High School lawn, The Chronicle sprang into action. We figured we already knew what it was about: a project to improve the water quality of the Allen Creek watershed, which the Ann Arbor city council had approved at its Nov. 17 meeting. Just the same, the possibility of a giant drill in action is hard to resist.

Bean’s description was dead-on. … [Full Story]

Meeting Watch: City Council (17 November 2008)

Carsten Hohnke and Mike Anglin, both of Ward 5, framed by the chairs of Christopher Taylor and Leigh Greden, both of Ward 3.

Outside the Larcom Building around 6 p.m., Ann Arbor Police Lt. Michael Logghe was using a “slim Jim” to try to gain entry to a citizen’s car. The woman had locked herself out of her vehicle with the engine running.

She was there to pay a $15 parking ticket. She was hoping to avoid a call to the tow truck. Logghe had not achieved success by the time The Chronicle headed inside for the reception for new members of council.

Later, inside Larcom, the newly constituted city council with four new members began its year of work by approving the transfer of a liquor license to Quickie Burger, three drainage projects to be implemented to reduce phosphorus load along Allen Creek, plus a contract with Dawn Farms to provide in-patient and out-patient drug abuse counseling and rehabilitation services to the 15th Judicial District Court. [Full Story]

West Park Improvements Discussed

By the time the presentation was in full swing, close to 40 people had streamed into a ground-floor meeting room at Miller Manor to hear city of Ann Arbor park planner Amy Kuras, plus a supporting cast of consultants, sketch out options for improvements at West Park and listen to reaction from residents. Residents and planners alike might have disagreed on the specifics, but there seemed to be a consensus on at least one point: the future of West Park should be filled with activity. [Full Story]