Stories indexed with the term ‘community outreach’

Greenbelt Commission Starts New Year

Ann Arbor greenbelt advisory commission meeting (Jan. 2, 2014): Commissioners spent more than half of their first meeting of 2014 in closed session to discuss possible land acquisition.

Ann Arbor greenbelt advisory commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Stephanie Buttrey asks a question during a discussion at the Ann Arbor greenbelt advisory commission’s Jan. 2, 2014 meeting. Other commissioners in this photo are Peter Allen, Shannon Brines and Jean Cares. (Photos by the writer.)

Land acquisition is one topic that’s allowed as an exemption in Michigan’s Open Meetings Act, which allows a public body to meeting in a closed session. Emerging after about 30 minutes, commissioners voted to recommend that the city partner with Scio Township for the purchase of development rights on a property in that township, just west of Ann Arbor. Until properties are put on the council agenda, they are identified only by application number, not by specific location or ownership.

Also on Jan. 2, commissioners got an update on Preserve Washtenaw, a group of local governments and organizations – including the city of Ann Arbor – that are involved in long-term land preservation efforts. The goal of Preserve Washtenaw is to provide a forum for discussing how these various entities can collaborate and coordinate.

Commissioners also voted to approve GAC’s 2014 meeting schedule, and created a new committee focused on outreach. Members include John Ramsburgh, Stephanie Buttrey and Jean Cares.

No one spoke during the meeting’s two opportunities for public commentary. [Full Story]

Public Art Commission Plans for Future

Ann Arbor public art commission meeting (Oct. 23, 2013): The most recent AAPAC meeting focused on an ongoing transition for Ann Arbor’s public art program.

Mags Harries and Lajos Heder, Ann Arbor public art commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Rendering of “Bucket Cascade” proposal by Mags Harries and Lajos Heder. It’s one of two finalists for public art at the city’s Argo Cascades.

Commissioners were briefed about the city’s capital improvements plan (CIP), which will now be integral to the public art program. AAPAC and city staff will identify projects in the CIP that might be candidates for public art “enhancements” – if the council agrees and provides additional funding for that purpose. It’s a change from the previous Percent for Art program, which the city council eliminated earlier this year.

Deb Gosselin, who oversees the CIP process, attended AAPAC’s meeting and described a decision-making matrix that’s used to help city staff prioritize capital projects. AAPAC plans to use that matrix as a model for developing its own method of prioritizing potential public art projects.

Commissioners also briefly discussed four possible capital projects that might include public art enhancements, including an enclosure of the farmers market, and a retaining wall to be built as part of a Stadium Boulevard reconstruction.

Some of these issues will likely be picked up during a retreat that’s set for Nov. 20. The idea of a retreat was proposed by one of the newer commissioners, Ashlee Arder, as a way to get to know each other better, as well as to discuss the creation of AAPAC’s annual plan, which is due to the council in early 2014. Arder also hopes to assemble a “curated team” from different sectors of the community, to help AAPAC develop ideas for fostering public art as well as the broader creative sector.

Also at their most recent meeting, commissioners acted on a specific project that’s already underway. They authorized applying for a $40,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan to fund a public art project in the Arbor Oaks/Bryant neighborhood on Ann Arbor’s southeast side. But they tabled another proposal – for artwork at the roundabout on South State and Ellsworth – until their February 2014 meeting, allowing time for commissioners to see how it might fit into an overall public art plan.

Updates were provided during the meeting on several other projects, including the Coleman Jewett memorial at the farmers market, finalists for artwork at Argo Cascades, and a plan to add an artistic element to the city’s new bike share program. [Full Story]

AADL Highlights UM Partnerships

Ann Arbor District Library board meeting (Feb. 18, 2013): Communications was a common theme throughout this month’s AADL board meeting.

Barbara Murphy, Ann Arbor District Library, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Barbara Murphy, a trustee of the Ann Arbor District Library, reviews a brochure for AADL’s upcoming “America’s Music” series. The materials were shared at the board’s Feb. 18, 2013 meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

The meeting’s main presentation focused on AADL’s partnerships with the University of Michigan, primarily with the Proyecto Avance: Latino Mentoring Association (PALMA), a UM student group. The program, which meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in AADL’s downtown building, includes 100 participants of all ages who work with about 75 tutors to improve their English language communication skills.

Terry Soave, AADL’s manager of outreach and neighborhood services, encouraged board members to drop by the library when the tutoring is in session, saying, “it’s a pretty spectacular thing to see.”

The Feb. 18 meeting also included a report from the board’s new communications committee, chaired by Nancy Kaplan, which recommended adding a second opportunity for public commentary at the end of each monthly meeting. There was no formal vote on this recommendation, but board members indicated agreement. In fact, a second slot for public commentary had already been included on the agenda when it was posted the previous week.

Speaking at the first opportunity for public commentary on Monday, Kathy Griswold – an organizer of the Protect Our Libraries group – urged the board to allow its committee meetings to be open to the public. She noted that committee meetings are open for most other local governing entities – including the Ann Arbor city council, Ann Arbor Public Schools board, the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority board, and the Ann Arbor Transportation Authority board. There was no subsequent discussion of this suggestion among board members during the meeting. [Full Story]

Ypsi: Community Values

The Shape Ypsilanti website is soliciting input on community values to help guide development of the city’s master plan. From one of the responses: “City SUSTAINABILITY* is the priority in economic, energy, transportation and other matters. … Sustainability is NOT the ability to carry out endless growth & development.” [Source]

Grant OK’d for Sheriff’s Community Outreach

Initial approval to apply for an Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grant was given by the Washtenaw County board of commissioners at their Aug. 3, 2011 meeting. A final vote is expected at their next board meeting on Sept. 7.

The $42,587 grant would be awarded to the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office by the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. The funds would be used to support the sheriff’s community outreach program, according to a staff memo. Specifically, the grant would fund a part-time community engagement coordinator and two of the program’s five peer outreach workers.

Commissioners also set a public hearing for Sept. 7 to get input on how the grant will be used.

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the … [Full Story]