Stories indexed with the term ‘Mack Pool’

Parks Group Weighs Fuller Parking Lease

Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (July 15, 2014): The main action item at the July Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting related to renewal of a lease for parking at a Fuller Park surface lot.

Gwen Nystuen, Eric Lipson, Ann Arbor park advisory commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Former park advisory commissioner Gwen Nystuen and former planning commissioner Eric Lipson of the Library Green Conservancy spoke during public commentary. They advocated for integrated planning of public space in the Library Block, which includes Liberty Plaza and the Library Lane site. (Photos by the writer.)

An existing lease to the University of Michigan expires on Aug. 31, 2014. PAC recommended that the city renew the lease for two years, with an additional two-year option for renewal beyond that. Annual revenue will be $78,665, and will be included as part of the parks and recreation general fund budget.

The three lots are: (1) the parking lot south of Fuller Road, next to the railroad tracks (Lot A); (2) the paved parking lot north of Fuller Road at Fuller Park (Lot B); and (3) the unpaved parking lot north of Fuller Road at Fuller Park (Lot C). The lots are used by UM during restricted hours.

Three people spoke during public commentary regarding Fuller Park, though most of their focus was on the possibility of locating a train station at that site, which they opposed.

Responding to concerns raised during public commentary, commissioners discussed and ultimately amended the recommendation, adding a whereas clause that stated the “resolution does not commit PAC to support or oppose the use of Lot A as a rail station.”

The July 15 agenda also included two items related to Liberty Plaza: (1) extension of a fee waiver for events held at Liberty Plaza; and (2) feedback in response to city council action, which addressed Liberty Plaza and the potential park atop the Library Lane underground parking structure.

The existing fee waiver, which had been in place for a year, expired on July 1. The feedback to the city council related to action at the council’s June 16, 2014 meeting, which took place after a contentious debate over a resolution co-sponsored by Christopher Taylor, who also serves as an ex officio member of PAC.

On July 15, the commission also heard public commentary related to this area, as Library Green Conservancy members advocated for PAC to consider the entire block – both Liberty Plaza and Library Lane – when making recommendations to the council.

But because three PAC members were absent, chair Ingrid Ault suggested that the two items be put off until more commissioners could participate in a discussion. Absent on July 15 were PAC vice chair Graydon Krapohl, Alan Jackson, and Bob Galardi, who also serves as chair of the Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy board.

There was no formal vote to postpone, but it’s likely that the items will appear on PAC’s Aug. 19 agenda. That date falls after the Aug. 5 primary elections. Krapohl, a Democrat, is the only candidate running for Ward 4 city council. Christopher Taylor – a councilmember who serves as an ex officio member of PAC – is one of four Democrats running for mayor.

During the July 15 meeting, PAC also received a briefing on activities at Mack Pool, the city’s only indoor pool. Although the city had considered closing it just a few years ago, new programming has resulted in increased revenues for that facility. [Full Story]

Council OKs Mack Pool Roof Replacement

A roof replacement has been approved for the city of Ann Arbor’s Mack indoor pool, located within the Ann Arbor Open school near the corner of Miller and Brooks. The action came at the city council’s June 3, 2013 meeting.

At its May 21, 2013 meeting, the Ann Arbor park advisory commission had recommended awarding a contract to Pranam GlobalTech Inc. for $193,000 to cover the roof replacement and painting refurbishment. A 10% construction contingency brings the project’s budget to $212,300.

Pranam provided the lowest of two bids. The other bidder was Wm. Molnar Roofing Co. Inc., which bid $271,319 for the work. Pranam was previously selected to replace the roof at Veterans Memorial Park Ice Arena. The contract … [Full Story]

Park Updates: Roof, Rain Garden, Parking Lot

Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (May 21, 2013): The meeting featured a briefing on a project to install rain gardens at Arbor Oaks Park, part of a broader effort to address drainage and flooding problems in the Bryant neighborhood in southeast Ann Arbor.

Bob Galardi, Ann Arbor park advisory commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Bob Galardi was elected chair of the budget & finance committee for the Ann Arbor park advisory commission at PAC’s May 21, 2013 meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

Jerry Hancock, the city’s stormwater and floodplain programs coordinator, described the project, which is being paid for out of the city’s stormwater utility fund – not the parks and recreation budget. It will involve regrading the perimeter of the park in the fall, then putting in native plants next spring. Soil excavated to create the rain gardens will be used to elevate the park’s central lawn area, which often has standing water following heavy rains. The work will be done prior to improvements planned for the park’s playground next year.

Later in the meeting, commissioners voted to recommend awarding a contract for roof replacement at the Mack indoor pool, located within the Ann Arbor Open school near the corner of Miller and Brooks. The recommendation is to select Pranam GlobalTech Inc., which put in the low bid of $193,000. A 10% construction contingency brings the project’s budget to $212,300, with a portion of that amount to be paid for by the public schools.

Also recommended was using $8,280 from the public market fund to upgrade a surface parking lot – known as the “sand lot” – on the Fourth Avenue side of the farmers market. The paving is viewed as a short-term solution, pending longer-term improvements expected at the market in a few years.

Commissioners also elected Bob Galardi as chair of PAC’s budget & finance committee. He replaces Tim Doyle as committee chair, following the end of Doyle’s term on PAC earlier this month. Jen Geer – Doyle’s replacement on PAC – was confirmed by the city council the previous evening but did not attend PAC’s May 21 meeting. Geer has worked with Galardi and councilmember Christopher Taylor – an ex-officio member of PAC – in another capacity, in the performing arts. Most recently, she was executive producer for the Ann Arbor in Concert production of Ragtime, performed at Michigan Theater on May 18. Both Taylor and Galardi were lead performers in that show.

Updates during PAC’s May 21 meeting covered a range of topics, including news that bids for construction of the new skatepark came in a little higher than anticipated. Parks staff and skatepark designer Wally Hollyday will be reviewing the bids to see what options are available. Parks and recreation manager Colin Smith reported that at PAC’s June 18 meeting, commissioners will be presented with a resolution to award a construction contract, as well as an agreement between the city and the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark related to operating the skatepark.

Other updates from Smith included the fact that parks staff is gearing up for Memorial Day weekend, with the opening of the city’s outdoor pools. He also highlighted the completed renovations of ball fields at Veterans Memorial Park, West Park and Southeast Area Park, and improvements made at Liberty Plaza. In addition to removing some bushes there, he said, “we also removed all sorts of things that were in the bushes, which are no longer there – and I’m glad they’re not.”

Other brief reports were given regarding work of PAC’s dog park and downtown park subcommittees, and public forums for the North Main-Huron River task force. Public commentary focused on input from the Library Green Conservancy, which is advocating for a park or public space atop the city’s Library Lane parking structure. [Full Story]

Contract for Mack Pool Roof OK’d

A roof replacement is in the works for the city of Ann Arbor’s Mack indoor pool, located within the Ann Arbor Open school near the corner of Miller and Brooks. At their May 21, 2031 meeting, the Ann Arbor park advisory commission recommended awarding a contract to Pranam GlobalTech Inc. for $193,000 to cover the roof replacement and painting refurbishment. A 10% construction contingency brings the project’s budget to $212,300.

Pranam provided the lowest of two bids. The other bidder was Wm. Molnar Roofing Co. Inc., which bid $271,319 for the work. Pranam was previously selected to replace the roof at Veterans Memorial Park Ice Arena. The contract for that project was approved by the city council at its … [Full Story]

Couple Gives $50,000 for Ann Arbor Park

Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (June 21, 2011): Park commissioners heard some unusual and welcome news at their June meeting – two long-time Ann Arbor residents, Leslie and Michael Morris, are donating $50,000 to the city in support of South University Park.

Michael Morris, Leslie Morris, Colin Smith

From left: Michael Morris and Leslie Morris, who are donating $50,000 to rehab South University Park, and Colin Smith, the city's parks and recreation manager.

In brief remarks to commissioners, Leslie Morris – a former Ward 2 city councilmember – explained how she and her husband had played a role decades ago in creating the park, which is located at South University Avenue and Walnut. They hope their donation will help develop the park based on current needs of the neighborhood, she said.

Michael Morris noted that before they became involved in forming that neighborhood park, their civic engagement primarily had been limited to voting. But getting involved in that project ultimately led to much deeper engagement, culminating in the service of Leslie Morris on council. ”It’s been a rewarding time for us,” he said, “and I’m pleased we’re able to do more to continue the life of that park.”

Later in the meeting, commissioners got updates on the Ann Arbor senior center and Mack pool. Both facilities rely on general fund support and had been at risk of closing, when city officials were looking to cut costs in 2009. Residents rallied, and the city formed two task forces to develop strategies – both for raising revenues and cutting expenses – to keep both facilities open.

The reports given at PAC’s June 21 meeting were updates for the first fiscal year that these strategies took effect. Neither facility completely hit its target budget goals, but each took steps toward closing the gap between revenues and expenses.

Commissioners also got a quarterly update on capital improvements in the park system, including plans to renovate the Island Park Greek Revival shelter and the pergola at West Park, and to replace a path at Leslie Science & Nature Center – a project that might use recycled crushed glass as a porous surface. PAC members voted to recommend approval for funding of two specific projects: renovation of locker rooms at Veterans Memorial Park, and of tennis courts at West Park.

At the end of the meeting, Steve Thorp spoke during public commentary, urging the city to give West Park a new name – Central Park West – and to possibly put a dog park there. [Full Story]

Shoring Up the Ann Arbor Senior Center

When The Chronicle attended last week’s meeting of the Ann Arbor Medical Marijuana Patient Collective – held at the Ann Arbor Senior Center – we were reminded that the last time we’d been to the center was in the context of its potential closing, because of city budget cuts.

Ann Arbor Senior Center

A sign at the Ann Arbor Senior Center advertises a new fitness program, one of several efforts by the city to raise revenues for the center, which is located in Burns Park. (Photos by the writer)

Last year, the city administration identified the senior center as one facility that, if closed, could save the city roughly $150,000 – the center’s operating deficit at the time. Residents mobilized, and a task force was formed that developed recommendations for cutting costs and raising revenues.

Recommendations include hiring a consultant to develop a long-term strategic plan, paid for by a $16,949 grant from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation. A request for proposals (RFP) was issued earlier this summer for that project, and responses from three companies are now being evaluated, according to Jeff Straw, parks & recreation deputy manager.

Meanwhile, several other efforts are underway, including this coming Saturday’s “Picnic in the Park” fundraiser, which runs from 1-3:30 p.m. at Burns Park, where the center is located. Last year, the event raised about $1,000 for the center. [Full Story]

Fee Increase Suggested for Athletic Fields

Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission (Jan. 19, 2010): As part of a project to upgrade the athletic fields at Fuller and Olson parks, members of the city’s Park Advisory Commission approved an increase in fees to use those fields. One commissioner described the fields, which had previously been in serious disrepair, as “a thing of beauty.”

Sign at the entrance to the Fuller Park soccer fields, next to Fuller Pool.

Sign at the entrance to the Fuller Park soccer fields, next to Fuller Pool. (Photos by the writer.)

Three speakers during public commentary, all representing groups that use the fields heavily, said they didn’t have a problem with the fee hike, but hoped that the change could be phased in over three years, rather than implemented this season. The recommendation for an increase, along with changes in how the fields are used, will be forwarded to city council.

Commissioners also approved recommendations from the task forces that are working to raise revenues and cut costs for Mack Pool and the Ann Arbor Senior Center. Commissioner Tim Berla clarified that the PAC resolution was primarily an “atta boy!” for the work of the staff and task forces, and support of the direction they’re headed. The recommendations – which aim to keep those operations open – will be presented to city council at their Feb. 8 meeting.

And finally, as a bonus for readers who stick with this report until the end: One commissioner is championing an urban dog park, and has identified a potential location within the city. [Full Story]

Initial Vote Set for Mack Pool, Senior Center

The entrance to Mack Pool, located at the Ann Arbor Open @ Mack school at the corner of Miller and Brooks.

The entrance to Mack Pool, located in the Ann Arbor Open @ Mack school at the corner of Miller and Brooks.

At its Tuesday meeting, the Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission will consider recommendations that would cut costs and raise revenue for Mack Pool and the Ann Arbor Senior Center, with the goal of keeping both operations open. If approved by PAC, the recommendations would be forwarded to city council.

Last spring, city administrator Roger Fraser proposed closing both the pool and the senior center, as part of a larger effort to address the city’s general fund budget deficit. Both entities cost more to operate than they generate in revenues, and are subsidized by the general fund.

Council subsequently created task forces to look at how more revenues could be raised and expenses cut from those operations. City staff held public meetings in December to present the initial recommendations from the task forces. [See Chronicle coverage: "More Options for Ann Arbor's Mack Pool" and "Task Force Tries to Save Senior Center"]

At its Tuesday meeting – which begins at 4 p.m. and includes time for public commentary – park commissioners will discuss and possibly revise those recommendations, before voting on whether to send them on to city council. The meeting is held at the county administration building, 220 N. Main St. After the jump, we provide a summary of the proposals. [Full Story]

More Options for Ann Arbor’s Mack Pool

Though the closing of Mack Pool was on a list of budget-cutting ideas during Ann Arbor city council’s Dec. 5 retreat, a task force continues to work on ways to save the pool, and held a public meeting on Thursday to give an update on its progress.

Tuesday's public meeting of the Mack Pool Task Force drew about 25 people.

Thursday's public meeting of the Mack Pool Task Force drew about 25 people. (Photos by the writer.)

Colin Smith, the city’s parks and recreation manager, told a group of about 25 people that the task force is focused on bridging the roughly $100,000 gap between expenses and revenues for the pool – even though the group is well aware of the city’s larger budget crisis. That broader budget crisis includes the possibility of up to 30% cuts in the city’s general fund budget through fiscal 2012.

Smith noted that the task force had come up with nearly $36,000 in net savings and revenue – about a third of the way toward its goal so far. With just over two months before recommendations will be delivered to city council, “we’re not done,” he said. [Full Story]

Task Force Floats Ways to Save Mack Pool

There aren’t many meetings you can attend where some of the pre-meeting conversation goes like this: “I didn’t recognize you with your clothes on!”

Keeping Mack Pool open is even a campaign issue for student council, based on this sign in the hallway.

Keeping Mack Pool open is even a campaign issue for student council, based on this sign in the hallway. The election is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 13.

Swimmers can get away with that kind of banter, and swimmers of all sorts showed up Thursday night to talk about what the city should do to keep Mack Pool open. The public meeting was held at the media center of the Open School @ Mack, just down the hall from the pool – but far enough away to smell only the faintest whiff of chlorine.

Closing Mack Pool, or turning it over to the Ann Arbor school system, was one of the options proposed by city administrator Roger Fraser at an April 13, 2009 council working session, as a way to help balance the city’s budget in the face of declining revenues projected for 2010 and 2011. There’s about a $100,000 shortfall between what it costs to run the pool each year and the revenues it takes in. Figuring out how to make up that difference is the goal of the Mack Pool Task Force, which hosted Thursday’s meeting. [Full Story]

Budget, Bridge, Ball Fields, Booze, Bugs

a plastic owl sitting on a porch bannister

A five-year-old child who's been exposed to the Leslie Science and Nature Center will be able to identify the type of bird, and explain its sleeping habits – though perhaps not recognize that this one is made of plastic.

Ann Arbor City Council Meeting, Part I (May 4, 2009): Despite assurances from Mayor John Hieftje that he’d be surprised if Mack pool and Leslie Science Center weren’t funded, city council heard from several advocates of those facilities Monday night, along with supporters of Project Grow and the senior center.

Audible through the expressions of support for programs facing cuts was also a call for the council to focus attention on bigger ticket items. One of those bigger ticket items was a mediator-mandated agreement with the Ann Arbor Police Officers Association union, which council was constrained by state law to approve – an agreement that will cost the city about $650,000 more than it had anticipated. Another was approval of the early retirement option for police officers as a part of the employees retirement system, which the city is offering instead of mandatory layoffs.

Still another big ticket item surfaced in the form of the approval of an application for funding of the East Stadium bridge reconstruction – though it’s likely to be paid by federal tax dollars. The bridge fit into the general theme of transportation at the meeting, which showed up in the form of an agenda item authorizing a study for a north-south intra-city connector (which was postponed), as well as a lengthy discussion on the Ann Arbor transportation plan update, which was ultimately adopted, despite some sentiment for postponing it. [These items are reported in detail in Part II of our meeting coverage here.]

In other business, council approved two agreements with the public schools for operation of recreation facilities, gave initial approval to a revamped liquor licensing code for the city, and approved an amendment to the partnership agreement between the city and the Leslie Science and Nature Center. [This last accounts for the last word in the headline.] [Full Story]

Support at Caucus for Mack Pool, Access to Info

Ann Arbor City Council Sunday caucus (May 3, 2009): Counting the mayor, there were four members of council who heard from citizens on Sunday night on topics that included the closing of Mack Pool, accessibility to information on planning, and the new underground parking garage. After hearing from citizens, caucus concluded without councilmembers engaging each other on any work of council as they sometimes do. [Full Story]

Mack Pool Could Close Earlier Than Expected

intern with Leslie Science Center

Casey Dewar, an intern with Leslie Science & Nature Center, was one of many who showed up to support funding for that nonprofit. Backers of the Ann Arbor Senior Center and Mack Pool also spoke to the Park Advisory Commission in support of funding.

After hearing more than two dozen people speak to defend three city-funded facilities facing cuts, the Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission passed a resolution recommending that Mack Pool be closed earlier than proposed by city staff, and that the city use those savings to restore funding to the Leslie Science & Nature Center. PAC also is recommending a task force be formed to look at funding options for the Ann Arbor Senior Center, which the city has proposed closing permanently on July 1, 2010.

PAC will send its recommendation to city council, which in May will make the final decisions about what areas to cut in order to balance its budget.

Many of the speakers at PAC’s Tuesday afternoon meeting were passionate about the value of the places they supported, and some told poignant stories about how the Ann Arbor Senior Center, Mack Pool or Leslie Science Center touched their lives. We’ll start our report with a summary of those comments. [Full Story]