Stories indexed with the term ‘parkland designation’

PAC Gets Update on Fuller Road Station

Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (May 17, 2011): This month’s PAC meeting focused on one topic – an update on the proposed Fuller Road Station, a large parking structure, bus depot and possible train station being planned on city-owned property near the University of Michigan’s medical campus.

Laptop with slide presentation on Fuller Road Station

Laptop with Fuller Road Station presentation, given by Eli Cooper, the city of Ann Arbor's transportation program manager.

Eli Cooper, the city of Ann Arbor’s transportation program manager, reprised a presentation he’s given dozens of times over the last two years to various public bodies and community groups. The newest details relate to recent federal funding earmarked for the project – $2.8 million from the Federal Rail Administration, to pay for environmental assessment and engineering at the site. Cooper admitted he had started to feel a bit like the boy who cried “Wolf!” regarding potential funding, but he noted that the “wolf” has materialized – in the form of the grant award.

The $2.8 million won’t come close to covering the estimated $121 million cost of the full project, including a rail station, which is estimated to cost about $18 million. But more than the funding itself, Cooper said, the award is significant because it indicates the FRA’s willingness to be the lead federal agency for this project.

Cooper also reported that the agreement being crafted by UM and city staff is nearing completion, and will likely be made public within a month. It will govern the construction, operation and maintenance of Fuller Road Station, and will include details about the project’s financing. Cooper told PAC that they would have the chance to review the agreement before it heads to the city council for approval. [Full Story]

Public Turns Out to Support Huron Hills Golf

Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission meeting (Aug. 17, 2010): About 30 residents attended Tuesday’s PAC meeting, many of them speaking against the city’s plan to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for the Huron Hills Golf Course. Several expressed concerns about what they see as the city’s attempt to privatize the course, which they described as a beautiful, beloved parkland asset. Some said it made no sense that Ann Arbor supported a greenbelt millage to preserve open space outside the city, while selling development rights to parkland it already owns within the city.

People attending the Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission

About 30 people attended the Aug. 17 Ann Arbor Park Advisory Commission meeting. Prior to the start, city councilmember Mike Anglin (far right) talks with Nancy Kaplan. Standing at the left is William Newcomb, a member of the city's golf task force, talking with PAC chair Julie Grand. In the foreground are Sandra Arlinghaus and William Arlinghaus. (Photos by the writer.)

The issue drew two city councilmembers to the meeting – Sabra Briere (Ward 1) and Stephen Rapundalo (Ward 2) – as well as former and current council candidates Sumi Kailasapathy, Jack Eaton and John Floyd. Councilmember Mike Anglin, who serves as an ex-officio member of PAC, also attended. Former planning commissioner Sandra Arlinghaus and her son William Arlinghaus both spoke to PAC, urging them to widen the scope of the RFP so that it might include more creative possibilities, like a location for cremains.

A couple of people also spoke in opposition of the Fuller Road Station project, citing similarities with the Huron Hills situation. In both cases, they said, the city is attempting to use parkland for other purposes. The Fuller Road Station is a proposed parking structure and bus depot, which might someday include a train station.

During deliberations, most commissioners voiced support for the RFP, noting that the golf course – though doing better – is still losing money. [The accounting method used to determine how the golf course is performing financially was a point of contention by some speakers during public commentary.] Several commissioners pointed out that the city is under no obligation to accept any of the proposals that might be submitted. And Colin Smith, manager of parks and recreation, emphasized that the city would retain ownership of the land – there are no plans to sell Huron Hills, he said. He also noted that the RFP calls for proposals to be golf-related.

The plan is to issue the RFP on Sept. 3, with responses due at the end of October. A selection committee will review the proposals and make a recommendation to PAC, probably in December. City council would make the final decision on whether to proceed with any of the proposals. [Full Story]

Better Deal Desired for Fuller Road Station

Two city commissions on Tuesday addressed two very different actions related to Fuller Road Station, a joint city of Ann Arbor/University of Michigan project that initially will entail a large parking structure and bus station, with possibly a train station for commuter rail years down the road.

Gwen Nystuen, David Barrett, Doug Chapman

Park advisory commissioners Gwen Nystuen, David Barrett and Doug Chapman at Tuesday's meeting of PAC's land acquisition committee, held at Cobblestone Farm. Nystuen has been pushing for more input into the Fuller Road Station project. (Photos by the writer.)

Spurred by concerns that Ann Arbor parks are being shortchanged, members of the city’s park advisory commission (PAC) discussed a resolution on Tuesday that would urge city council not to proceed with plans for Fuller Road Station at its proposed site on city-owned land that’s designated as parkland.

The draft resolution also states that if the city council does continue with the project, the city should renegotiate the deal to get additional revenues from the University of Michigan, with those funds being allocated to city parks. The resolution calls for an annual payment of $127,500 from the university – under the current agreement, UM would pay $19,379 per year, starting in 2012.

Park commissioners didn’t take any action, and plan to discuss the draft resolution further at their May 18 meeting.

But Tuesday evening, the city’s planning commission did take action related to Fuller Road Station. They voted unanimously to amend the list of permitted principal uses of public land – specifically, changing a “municipal airports” use to “transportation facilities.” During a public hearing on the issue, several speakers – including park commissioner Gwen Nystuen – objected to the change.

It’s expected that the project – located on the south side of Fuller Road, just east of East Medical Center Drive – will be submitted by the design team on May 17 for review by planning staff. It will likely come before the planning commission at its first meeting in July. A public meeting on the project is set for Thursday, May 6 at 7 p.m. in the second-floor city council chambers, 100 N. Fifth Ave. [Full Story]

Heritage Row Moves to City Council

Ann Arbor Planning Commission meeting (March 16, 2010): A proposed residential project that’s been in the works for more than two years got approval on Tuesday night from a majority of planning commissioners, by a 6-2 vote.

Alex de Parry

Alex de Parry checks messages on his cell phone before the start of the Ann Arbor planning commission meeting on Tuesday. (Photos by the writer.)

Alex de Parry, the developer of Heritage Row – a project on the east side of Fifth Avenue, south of William – will now seek approval from city council, though he still faces opposition from neighbors and others in the community.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the commission continued a broad effort to rezone parcels of city-owned parkland as “public land” – including one known as the “squarest “park in Ann Arbor. Commissioners also addressed concerns raised by residents living near two of the properties being rezoned: Arbor Hills Nature Area and Kilburn Park. Action on those two parcels was postponed.

Also postponed was a proposed site plan for expansion at Glacier Hills retirement community, which plans to construct a new skilled nursing care building within its complex on the city’s east side. Planning staff had some unresolved issue with the proposal, including the need to increase the amount of required bicycle parking. It was noted that residents there might not have a high demand for bike spaces. [Full Story]

“It could snow again,” Says City’s Salt Guy

Road Salt Guy City of Ann Arbor

Mike Bergren, assistant field services manager for the city of Ann Arbor, assures city council that there'll be enough salt on hand, even if it snows again.

City council meeting (March 17, 2009) The “tomfoolery” that the headline indicates is nothing more than a play on words: Tom Wall expressed appreciation on behalf of All Star Hot Dogs; separately, Shoshana Hurand made a presentation about the upcoming FestiFools parade. City council’s Monday meeting also featured a brief performance on harmonica by Peter “Madcat” Ruth and a puppet-head of vast proportions resembling Mayor John Hiefte [photo after the break].

But woven into the mix was less lighthearted fare: People’s Food Co-op Board elections, protection for migratory birds, appointments to a zoning advisory committee, potholes, the vehicle fleet and road salt. Council authorized an expenditure that Mike Bergren, assistant field operations manager with the city of Ann Arbor, said was estimated to get us at least through the rest of the winter – saying it was possible that there’d be ice storms in April. [Full Story]