Stories indexed with the term ‘committee appointments’

Redesign Planned for Library “Front Porch”

Ann Arbor District Library board meeting (Feb. 17, 2014): Work on a significant redesign to the front entrance of the downtown Ann Arbor library is moving forward, following action this month by the AADL board.

Ann Arbor District Library, InForm Studio, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Rendering of proposed new entry at downtown Ann Arbor library, located at 343 S. Fifth Ave. (Image by InForm Studio.)

A vote to continue with the project followed a presentation by Cory Lavigne of InForm Studio, the architecture firm that previously designed AADL’s Traverwood branch. A final design will likely be brought forward for approval at the board’s April 21 meeting, after a public forum in mid-March. Update: The forum is scheduled for Thursday, March 13 at 5:30 p.m. at the downtown building.

The entrance would continue to be oriented to South Fifth Avenue, with new doors into the building. The plan described by Lavigne includes replacing the existing teal strip that wraps around the front of the building – above the doors and windows – with a “concrete skin” panel. Wood paneling would be used in the ceiling of the outside walkway adjacent to the building. Sloping entry walkways would be located on the north side from the Library Lane parking structure and on the south side from William Street, with steps in front leading to South Fifth Avenue. Additional elements include landscaping, a bench, handrails and other features that visually link the library to the adjacent city-owned Library Lane.

The north side of the front facade, closest to Library Lane, would also include a large, translucent sign – made of glass or cast resin – that would be placed between existing brick columns, creating a screen along part of the walkway on that side of the building. The sign would be lit from the inside, with additional lighting along the walkway, to create a glowing effect.

It was that sign element that drew some criticism and concern at the board’s Feb. 17 meeting, primarily from Ed Surovell. He cautioned against creating any kind of shelter, saying it would simply be “an inviting nuisance.” AADL director Josie Parker acknowledged the concern, saying that she had discussed the issue with the library’s security staff as well. She told the board that no matter how the area is designed, security issues will always be a factor and would be handled as they are now, by security staff.

In other action at the board meeting, trustees approved revisions to more than a dozen sections of the AADL policy manual, and voted to create a new committee to help develop the next strategic plan, for 2015-2020. That planning effort had been the focus of a Feb. 3, 2014 board retreat.

Board members also got a brief update on the agreement for a new bike share program called ArborBike, which trustees will likely be asked to approve at their March 17 meeting. It relates to a bike station that will be located on the northern end of the downtown library’s property.

During her director’s report, Josie Parker told the board that the downtown library will be a site for the Living Lab Initiative, a project funded by the National Science Foundation. AADL will be the first public library to be involved in this project, and researchers will be working in the youth department through the end of September.

The board also heard from two people during public commentary: Changming Fan of TiniLite World Inc., who expressed interest in working with the library; and Jamie Vander Broek, a University of Michigan librarian and homeowner who described several reasons why she appreciated AADL. She concluded her remarks by saying: “I love paying my taxes for this library.” [Full Story]

Council OKs Rules, Calendar, Committees

The Ann Arbor city council has completed its internal housekeeping tasks for the upcoming year, having delayed some of them at the first meeting of the newly-seated, post-election council on Nov. 18. At its Dec. 2, 2103 meeting, the council formally adopted its rules, confirmed its committees, and adopting the council rules.

Based on a less than 10-minute meeting of the council’s rules committee on Nov. 29, no changes to the rules were planned to be put forward at this time. The council’s rules committee – established by last year’s council – consisted of Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) and mayor John Hieftje. Marcia Higgins had also served on that committee, but left the … [Full Story]

AADL Acts on Communications, Facilities

Ann Arbor District Library board meeting (Jan. 21, 2013): Efforts to develop a communications plan and to review the needs of all library facilities were among the items addressed at the library board’s first meeting of 2013.

Prue Rosenthal, Barbara Murphy, Ann Arbor District Library board, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

From left: Prue Rosenthal, the new president of the Ann Arbor District Library board, and board member Barbara Murphy. The seven-member board elected new officers at its Jan. 21, 2013 meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

The board voted unanimously to create two special committees – for facilities and communications. The efforts can be tied to a defeated bond proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot, which the AADL board had hoped would fund a new downtown library.

Both topics were touched on during public commentary, too. Two local architects – Sahba Laal and George Kachadoorian – told the board they’ve prepared a proposal for renovating and perhaps adding to the downtown library building. They hope to present their ideas at a future board meeting. Also during public commentary, Lou Glorie urged the board to consider moving its meeting dates, which typically fall on the same evening as Ann Arbor city council meetings. She also suggested that the meetings be recorded for viewing on Community Television Network (CTN) – an idea that the majority of board members rejected when Nancy Kaplan proposed it nearly two years ago.

In contrast, Kaplan’s most recent proposal – to hold three board meetings this year at library branches, rather than at the downtown location – won unanimous support from the board. The change is intended to make it easier for the public to attend, and to showcase the branches. Those branch meetings will be held at: (1) the Traverwood branch at 3333 Traverwood Drive, at the intersection with Huron Parkway (June 17); (2) the Pittsfield branch at 2359 Oak Valley Drive (July 15); and the Malletts Creek branch at 3090 E. Eisenhower Parkway, east of Stone School Road (Sept. 16).

The Jan. 21 meeting included a swearing-in ceremony – officiated by Libby Hines, chief judge of the 15th District Court – for the four AADL board incumbents who were re-elected on Nov. 6, 2012: Nancy Kaplan, Margaret Leary, Rebecca Head and Prue Rosenthal. The seven-member board also held officer elections. Prue Rosenthal was unanimously elected president. Other officers are Jan Barney Newman (vice president); Nancy Kaplan (treasurer); and Rebecca Head (secretary).

Several members of the Protect Our Libraries group attended the Jan. 21 meeting. Formed in 2012 to oppose the AADL’s bond proposal for a new downtown library, the group subsequently organized as a political action committee (PAC). Kathy Griswold, who launched Protect Our Libraries, was among those present at the board meeting – along with Bob Rorke, who previously served on the Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education with Griswold. Griswold told The Chronicle that the PAC is hiring Rorke to conduct a financial analysis of the AADL. [Full Story]

Library Board Forms Two Special Committees

At its Jan. 21, 2013 meeting, the Ann Arbor District Library board voted unanimously to create two special committees – for facilities and communications.

The special facilities committee is a continuation of a committee that was originally formed at the board’s April 16, 2012 meeting. At that time, the purpose of the committee was to make a recommendation to the board regarding a possible new or renovated downtown building. At the board’s July 16, 2012 meeting, the committee – consisting of Prue Rosenthal, Nancy Kaplan and Ed Surovell – recommended that the board place a bond proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot to fund a new downtown library. At that same July meeting, the committee’s charge had been amended … [Full Story]

City Council Acts on Public Art, Golf Budget

Ann Arbor city council meeting (Dec. 3, 2012): One significant action taken by the council was to wrap up some unfinished business from its previous meeting – by passing a resolution that temporarily suspends paying for any new art out of public funds that have accumulated for that purpose.

Councilmembers wanted apples-to-apples comparisons between the golf courses and other recreational activities. They also wanted apples-to-apples comparisons for changes to the Packard Square elevations. Close watchers of the council might identify the councilmember by the bite marks on this apple. (Photo by the writer)

At their Dec. 3, 2012 meeting, councilmembers spoke of apples-to-apples comparisons between the golf courses and other recreational activities. They also wanted apples-to-apples comparisons for changes to the Packard Square facade drawings. Planting of fruit trees also came up in the course of the meeting. Close watchers of the council might be able to identify the councilmember by the bite marks on this apple. (Photos by the writer.)

The resolution had been postponed from the council’s Nov. 19, 2012 meeting, when councilmembers also decided to table two competing proposals to change the city’s Percent for Art ordinance. One of the proposals would have repealed the ordinance, while the other would have narrowed the scope of qualifying projects. Currently the city’s Percent for Art program requires that all capital improvement project budgets include a 1% set-aside for public art.

While the moratorium on new spending is in effect – until April 1, 2013 – a council committee will study the issue. Charged with making a recommendation to the council by Feb. 15, 2013, the committee consists of Sally Petersen (Ward 2), Sabra Briere (Ward 1), Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), Margie Teall (Ward 4) and Christopher Taylor (Ward 3). The group’s first meeting is set for Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 4 p.m. in the south first floor conference room at city hall.

The council also finished off two works in progress started at its previous meeting, when councilmembers gave initial approval to amendments to two local laws – the noise ordinance and the towing ordinance. At the council’s Dec. 3 meeting, councilmembers gave final approval to both sets of amendments. The noise ordinance was strengthened to include prohibitions of construction on legal holidays and to make supervisors responsible for infractions, in addition to those who are operating equipment. The towing ordinance clarifies the definition of inoperative vehicles so that the city can take action to prevent the storage of such vehicles on city streets.

The council also took action on an administrative decision to move the assets and liabilities of the city’s golf courses enterprise fund to the city general fund – to comply with a state treasurer’s requirement that the city have a deficit elimination plan for the golf fund. The city’s 2008 deficit elimination plan had a clearly positive effect, but did not erase the golf fund’s deficit completely. The majority of councilmembers saw a benefit to moving the accounting for golf operations into the general fund, so that the golf courses wouldn’t be singled out for different scrutiny than other recreational activities.

The council approved three separate petitions to the Washtenaw County office of the water resources commissioner, to apply for loans connected with a bit over $1 million in stormwater projects. One of those projects was a tree planting effort that would see as many as 1,000 trees planted in the fall of 2013 and spring of 2014. It generated some council conversation about tree species and how the city is planning for climate change in its selection of suitable trees.

Councilmembers also engaged in a fair amount of discussion of the color palette proposed for changes in the facade of the already-approved Packard Square project – which is to replace the derelict Georgetown Mall. Margie Teall’s view reflected that of many other councilmembers: “I just don’t like it.” They voted to postpone action on the facade changes until Jan. 7, 2013.

The council approved the purchase of additional waste carts, and designated Craig Hupy, the city’s public services area administrator, as the city’s street administrator for purposes of signing contracts with the Michigan Dept. of Transportation. The designation of Hupy in that role – instead of Homayoon Pirooz, the former head of project management with the city – highlighted the fact that Pirooz has retired to take a job with the city of Evanston, Ill.

It was the second meeting of the new edition of the council, following the Nov. 6 elections. So the council was presented with assignments to various internal committees – as well as the council’s appointments to other bodies. The departure of Tony Derezinski, Sandi Smith and Carsten Hohnke from the council meant that some changes to committee assignments had to be made. Some of changes were straight-up replacements, while others reflected some shuffling. [Google Spreadsheet with 2012 and 2013 committee appointments]

The council heard its usual range of commentary from the public – highlighted by two students from Skyline High School who spoke in support of public transportation.

Public transportation will also be the focus of a special council meeting called for Monday, Dec. 10 to discuss a possible position on state legislation regarding a regional transit authority. A proposed resolution that councilmembers will consider asks Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to veto legislation that would establish the four-county RTA, which would include Washtenaw County. [Full Story]