Stories indexed with the term ‘Malletts Creek’

Action on Germain Expansion Postponed

A proposal to expand two buildings and the parking area for Germain Motors – the former Howard Cooper dealership on South State Street – was postponed by Ann Arbor planning commissioners at their Nov. 19, 2013 meeting. Planning staff had recommended postponement, to allow the owners to address staff feedback on the project.

Germain Motors, Ann Arbor planning commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Aerial view of Germain Motors site, outlined in green. South State Street is on the left (west) side of this property. Expansion is proposed for the two smaller buildings on the north and center of the site that fronts South State.

The proposal calls for a 4,877-square-foot … [Full Story]

Park Commission Updated on Stormwater Project

Three Ann Arbor parks – Eisenhower, Churchill Downs and Lawton – will likely be part of a broad stormwater management project for Upper Malletts Creek. Members of the city’s park advisory commission were briefed on project at their Oct. 15, 2013 meeting.

The Upper Malletts Stormwater Conveyance Study, which is overseen by the Washtenaw County office of the water resources commissioner, has identified three major projects to help manage stormwater and control flooding on the city’s southwest side. Two of those projects would affect local parks:

  • Building two stormwater detention basins along the north and south ends of Eisenhower and Churchill Downs parks, which are connected. These basins – covering about 2.5 acres – would help manage the stormwater flow from … [Full Story]

County Gets Info on Flooding, Shares Options

A meeting last week at Lawton Elementary School, in southwest Ann Arbor, fell the day before the one-year anniversary of significant overland flooding in the neighborhood. The flooding resulted from heavy rains last year on March 15, 2012. Last week’s meeting followed an earlier one held on Jan. 29, 2013.

Ann Arbor city storm drain in action. (Chronicle file photo)

Ann Arbor city storm drain in action. (Chronicle file photo)

The meetings are part of a study of the Upper Malletts Creek watershed, being conducted by the office of the Washtenaw County water resources commissioner under an agreement with the city of Ann Arbor. The year-long study is supposed to culminate in a final report due to the Ann Arbor city council in February 2014. Water resources commissioner Evan Pratt was on hand at the meeting, along with other members of the project team.

In response to direction from a citizens advisory group that’s been formed for the project, the team used the March 14 meeting to introduce residents to the basic toolkit for stormwater management techniques. The general stormwater management practices described at the meeting – without trying to analyze which solutions might be appropriate for specific locations in the area – ranged from increasing the number of catch basins in streets to the construction of underground detention facilities.

At least 60 residents attended the meeting, and seemed generally receptive to the idea that some money might actually be spent on infrastructure projects to reduce flooding in their neighborhood: “If you want me to sign up for you breaking up my street and putting [stormwater management infrastructure] in there, just give me a consent form and I will sign it tonight!”

The project team is also still in a phase of gathering information about specific experiences that residents have had with past flooding problems. And the same technology platform – an online mapping tool – can be used by residents for logging future flooding events. For help in using a smart-phone app, one attendee volunteered her grandson “for rent” to other residents. Members of the project team also indicated they welcomed information submitted in any format – including letters, face-to-face conversation and phone calls.

But it was a missing follow-up phone call – expected from one resident who’d attended the first meeting on Jan. 29 – that indicated some continuing frustration about the city’s footing drain disconnection (FDD) program. The frustrated resident’s experience had been that after an FDD program sump pump was installed in his basement, he’d started having problems with a wet basement – problems he hadn’t experienced before. Project manager Harry Sheehan, with the county water resources commissioner’s office, extended an apology for the missed communication and an offer to arrange a site visit.

The FDD program removes a building’s footing drain connection to the sanitary sewer system and redirects that stormwater flow to the system designed to handle it – the stormwater system. The FDD program, which has been somewhat controversial, is not the focus of the Upper Malletts Creek study. But residents got an assurance that the additional volume of rainwater that goes into the stormwater system – as a result of the FDD program – would be accounted for in all the modeling that’s done as part of this study. [Full Story]

County Parks: Stewardship Fund an Option?

Washtenaw County parks and recreation commission meeting (May 8, 2012): This month’s meeting of the county parks and recreation commission had three themes: starting new projects, planning for the future of the natural areas preservation program (NAPP), and updating commissioners about ongoing and completed projects.

Entrance to Washtenaw County's DeVine Preserve

The entrance to Washtenaw County's DeVine Preserve on West Liberty Road in Scio Township, part of the natural areas preservation program. It is adjacent to other property that the county parks and recreation commission might buy with NAPP millage proceeds. (Photos by the writer.)

Much of the discussion related to NAPP, including a proposed ordinance change to increase the proportion of funds that can be used for maintaining (as opposed to purchasing) property for natural areas or land preserves. The change would allow the county to set aside up to 25% of annual millage proceeds for stewardship, a significant increase from the 7% currently allowed under the NAPP ordinance. NAPP is funded by a 10-year, 0.25 mill tax that voters first approved in 2000 and renewed in 2010. It generates about $3.2 million in annual revenues.

Commissioners authorized staff to pursue the NAPP ordinance change, which would need to be approved by the county board of commissioners. A June 7 board working session is scheduled on the topic. If approved, WCPARC staff estimate they could set aside enough to build a $6 million fund by 2020, when the current NAPP millage ends.

The commission also approved two new NAPP purchases: (1) $75,000 for the Malikah Muhammad property, 20 acres in Scio Township adjacent to the county’s existing DeVine Preserve; and (2) $245,250 for 33 acres in Northfield  Township owned by J.A. Bloch, contingent on partnering with the Ann Arbor greenbelt program for a portion of the cost.

Related to a project on the east side of the county, commissioners approved a $10,000 payment toward planning for the Eastern County Recreation Center on Ypsilanti’s Water Street site. WCPARC had been briefed on the project at its April 2012 meeting. The planning will be guided by faculty at the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, who will lead a team of six students in developing a conceptual plan for the rec center by the end of December. A grant from UM will pick up $30,000 of the estimated $40,000 in planning expenses.

The commission also got updates on a range of projects, including completion of the extensive Malletts Creek bank stabilization at the County Farm Park, and the receipt of bids for design of the Ann Arbor skatepark, which WCPARC is helping to fund. [Full Story]

PAC Supports Grants for Skatepark, Gallup

Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (March 15, 2011): A meeting packed with presentations also included a last-minute addition to the agenda: Resolutions recommending support of the city’s application for grants from the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources Trust Fund. The grants – for $300,000 each – would help fund the Ann Arbor skatepark and upgrades to the Gallup canoe livery and park.

Julie Grand, Sam Offen

Julie Grand, chair of the Ann Arbor park advisory commission, talks with PAC member Sam Offen before the start of Tuesday’s meeting. Offen was the only commissioner to vote against support of a state grant application for the Ann Arbor skatepark. (Photos by the writer.)

The resolution for Gallup passed unanimously, but commissioner Sam Offen – without comment – cast a vote against the resolution for the skatepark grant.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, commissioner Gwen Nystuen suggested forming a committee to look more closely at the Fuller Road Station project – she felt that as stewards of the city’s parkland, PAC should take a more active role in examining the proposed parking structure, bus depot and possible train station. The project, a joint effort between the city and the University of Michigan, would be located on land that’s previously been designated as parkland, though it’s been leased to the university as a surface parking lot since the early 1990s. Nystuen did not put forward a formal resolution, and commissioners took no action on the idea.

The meeting included five presentations from various groups, including updates on the city’s two golf courses, the new Give 365 volunteer program, and a restoration project for a stretch of Malletts Creek near Huron Parkway. Commissioners also heard a proposal for a new Wednesday night farmers market, and got a mid-year financial report on the open space and parkland preservation millage. [Full Story]