Stories indexed with the term ‘parks budget’

Windemere Tennis Court Project Revisited

Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (Nov. 19, 2013): The main agenda item this month was a project that PAC had acted on over a year ago: The relocation of tennis courts at Windemere Park.

Diane Massell, Xavier Iniguez, Ann Arbor park advisory commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Diane Massell and Xavier Iniguez spoke to the Ann Arbor park advisory commission on Nov. 19 about the location of tennis courts in Windemere Park. (Photos by the writer.)

As part of an effort to replace the deteriorated courts, commissioners had recommended relocating them to a different spot within the park. That action took place at their meeting on Oct. 16, 2012, with the expectation that parks staff would solicit bids and seek city council approval for a construction contract to rebuild the courts in the spring of 2013.

But pushback from residents – and advocacy from city councilmember Jane Lumm, who represents Ward 2 where Windemere Park is located – led to further discussions, an online poll conducted by residents, and ultimately a return to PAC. On Nov. 19, several residents attended the meeting, including Lumm, and asked PAC to reconsider its recommendation.

Rather than relocating the courts toward the center of the park, they hoped to shift the location to the north so that more open space in the park would be preserved. PAC’s Nov. 19 meeting included a presentation in support of this option by Ed Weiss of the Earhart Knolls Homeowners Association and Jeff Alson, a resident and member of the Glacier Highlands Homeowners Association. However, one homeowner attended the meeting to disagree – her home would be closer to the courts if the location is changed.

Some commissioners expressed concern about setting precedent for a reversal of their decision, but after discussing the issue they voted unanimously to schedule another public meeting with residents. Options to consider will include the one that was originally recommended by PAC and the one that’s now being proposed by some residents as an alternative. The city might also conduct its own online poll to get additional feedback. It’s possible that the new public process will push back the project until the 2015 construction season.

Also on Nov. 19, commissioners got an update on the first four months of the fiscal year from Bob Galardi, chair of PAC’s budget and finance committee. For all parks and recreation facilities, the current projections of $3.943 million in revenues are about $52,000 over the originally budgeted amounts. In particular, revenues related to the Argo Cascades are $100,000 better than expected. On the expense side, overall costs are projected to be $5.211 million – or $50,000 less than budgeted. The fiscal year runs from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014, and Galardi cautioned that these projections represent an early interim report.

The meeting included several updates and reports, including news that long-time PAC member Tim Berla – who served as the representative from Ann Arbor Rec & Ed’s recreation advisory commission – will no longer be serving on PAC. He attended his last meeting in September. PAC chair Ingrid Ault expects a new RAC appointment by early 2014.

In an update from the city council, Christopher Taylor (Ward 3) – one of two council representatives who serve on PAC – noted that a park fee waiver recommended by PAC had been approved by the council on Nov. 18. The waiver is for groups who want to distribute goods for basic human needs at a city park. He also noted that on Nov. 7, the council had accepted PAC’s report on downtown parks and open space “with speed and a lack of unhappiness.” He did not mention that the other council representative on PAC, Mike Anglin (Ward 5), had dissented on that vote to accept the report. [Full Story]

Galardi Chosen as PAC’s Budget Chair

In a unanimous vote, Bob Galardi was elected chair of the budget & finance committee for the Ann Arbor park advisory commission at PAC’s May 21, 2013 meeting. He has served on that committee since soon after being appointed to PAC in July of 2012. He was nominated by PAC chair Julie Grand to replace Tim Doyle as committee chair, following the end of Doyle’s term on PAC earlier this month.

Galardi’s term as committee chair will run until PAC’s September meeting, when the commission elects all officers.

Jennifer Geer – Doyle’s replacement on PAC – was confirmed by the city council the previous evening but did not attend PAC’s May 21 PAC meeting.

This brief was filed from the second-floor council … [Full Story]

Parks Group Applauds “Status Quo” Budget

Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (April 16, 2013): After several years of cuts, the city’s parks system anticipates no significant budget changes in fiscal year 2014, which begins July 1, 2013.

Graffiti, Argo Pond, Ann Arbor parks & recreation, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Graffiti at Argo Pond. Parks and recreation manager Colin Smith reported that there’s been an increase in graffiti in the parks system. (Photos by the writer.)

Park commissioners were briefed on budget details at their April meeting, and voted unanimously to recommend the budget for approval. The parks budget will be a component of the overall budget that the city council will vote on in mid-May. The public hearing on that budget will be held on May 6. “The message is status quo,” parks and recreation manager Colin Smith told commissioners.

In a separate vote, commissioners recommended raising fees – ranging between 4-9% – for rentals at the Gallup Park meeting room and Cobblestone Farm. It was the first fee increase at these facilities since 2007 and 2006, respectively.

In other action, commissioners unanimously recommended approval of a five-year contract with Coca-Cola Refreshments for cold beverage concessions. It will replace the 10-year contract with Pepsi that expires this summer. Pepsi was the only other bid received by the city for a new contract, but missed the deadline and was disqualified.

Commissioners also recommended that the city award a $535,000 contract to Pranam Global Tech Inc. to replace the nearly 40-year-old roof at Veterans Memorial Park Ice Arena. The project includes a 10% construction contingency of $53,500, bringing the total project budget to $588,500.

Public commentary included an update from advocates of an ice-skating rink at the city-owned Library Lane site, as well as a report from the Library Green Conservancy, which hopes to make the parking lot into a park. [.pdf of Library Green Conservancy report]

Updates from commissioners included ongoing efforts to find a new centrally located dog park, as well as more information-gathering work by the downtown parks subcommittee.

And in his manager’s report, Smith informed commissioners of an increase in spray-painted graffiti in the parks. The staff is collecting data on how much time they spend repairing areas that are hit with graffiti, “and it’s substantial,” he said. Even trees have been tagged, which is unusual, Smith reported. “There have been some rather inappropriate things painted on some very nice trees.” He added: “It’s extremely frustrating … We’re not in the business of providing spray-painting opportunities any more than we are in the business of providing apothecary options for people in the parks. I’ll leave it at that.” [Full Story]

Parks Group Recommends FY 2014 Budget

One component of the city’s fiscal year 2014 budget – for the parks and recreation unit – has received a recommendation of approval from the Ann Arbor park advisory commission. PAC was briefed on the budget at its April 16, 2013 meeting and unanimously passed a resolution recommending that the city council adopt it. [link to city's Legistar system, where 12 parks-related budget documents can be downloaded] FY 2014 begins on July 1, 2013.

Budgeted expenditures for the parks and recreation unit in FY 2014 – from the city’s general fund as well as from the parks maintenance and capital improvements millage – are $12,546,068. Of that, about $5.2 million will be paid from the millage, with $7.3 million from … [Full Story]

Parks Group To Weigh In On Downtown Need

Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (Jan. 15, 2013): The city’s park advisory commissioners are embarking on a process to analyze the need for a possible downtown park or open space, with the goal of delivering recommendations to the city council later this year.

Tim Doyle, Graydon Krapohl, Ann Arbor park advisory commission, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

From left: Ann Arbor park advisory commissioners Tim Doyle and Graydon Krapohl at PAC’s Jan. 15, 2013 meeting. It was the first session for Krapohl since being appointed to replace John Lawter, whose term expired on Dec. 31. (Photos by the writer.)

In a 90-minute discussion at PAC’s January meeting, commissioners talked about how they’d like to approach this effort, which stemmed in part from a request that mayor John Hieftje made last summer. Momentum for PAC to weigh in has accelerated in light of recommendations recently delivered to the city council on the Connecting William Street project.

Several councilmembers have expressed concern that those recommendations – made by the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority on five city-owned sites – don’t include sufficient green space. PAC has already weighed in on that specific project, passing a resolution on Sept. 18 2012 that urged the council to seek additional evaluation on locations for a downtown park.

During public commentary, several residents – including supporters of the Library Green Conservancy – spoke in support of a substantial downtown park.

A PAC subcommittee plans to draft a plan for how to proceed, with the full commission continuing the discussion at their land acquisition committee meeting on Feb. 5. The process is expected to take 4-6 months.

Also at their Jan. 15 meeting, commissioners got an update on plans for locating a dog park at West Park, across from New Hope Baptist Church. PAC had recommended that location for a dog park, but – as The Chronicle previously reported – objections from church members have resulted in a decision to look for another location. The project had been slated for consideration by the city council on Jan. 22, but has been removed from the agenda.

PAC chair Julie Grand told her fellow commissioners that she was still committed to the concept of a centrally-located dog park, and that PAC and parks staff would pursue other options. A PAC subcommittee that had worked on identifying a new dog park location will be reconvened to bring forward another recommendation.

In other action, commissioners received a mid-year budget update. The parks system is doing better than planned, thanks to a combination of better-than-expected revenues and lower expenses. [.pdf of budget summary] The city’s fiscal year 2013 runs from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013. [Full Story]

Washtenaw Preserves Superior Twp. Site

Washtenaw County parks & recreation commission meeting (Dec. 11, 2012): At their December meeting, commissioners took action on properties for the county’s natural areas preservation program. They gave final approval to spend $500,000 for 65 acres on Berry Road in Superior Township, in an area that’s known as the Superior Greenway.

Ford Road Property LLC, Washtenaw County parks & recreation commission, natural areas preservation program, The Ann Arbor Chronicle

Map showing two Ford Road Property LLC parcels (encircled) that the county is purchasing for its natural areas preservation program. A third parcel, which fronts Ford Road, is not part of this deal. The land is located in Superior Township.

In a separate vote, WCPARC authorized staff to undertake due diligence toward a sales offer on 473 acres on the border of Jackson and Washtenaw counties. This deal – for the Trolz property in Manchester Township – is a project that could result in a new state recreation area that includes the southwest corner of Washtenaw County. [See Chronicle coverage: "County Pursues Major New Parks & Rec Deal"]

Commissioners also bid adieu to Jimmie Maggard, who has served on WCPARC for over 30 years, and to outgoing county commissioner Barbara Bergman. Janis Bobrin, who has served on WCPARC for more than two decades by right of her position as Washtenaw County water resources commissioner, did not run for re-election but will continue on WCPARC as a public member. [She was appointed by the county board at their Dec. 5 meeting.] Evan Pratt, who was elected water resources commissioner on Nov. 6, will join WCPARC in January – he attended the Dec. 11 meeting.

In the hour before the meeting started, commissioners and WCPARC staff held their annual holiday party. The highlight was a first viewing of a 30-minute video history of WCPARC, created by county staff over the past several months. The video will be available to the public soon, according to WCPARC deputy director Coy Vaughn. It will run on monitors at the Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center, on cable television, and in smaller segments on the WCPARC website.

Also at the Dec. 11 meeting, the commission approved spending $33,375 to buy grooming equipment for cross-country skiing trails at Independence Lake and Rolling Hills parks. Staff provided reports on finances, highlighted by expenditures to maintain and improve Rolling Hills Water Park and Independence Lake Park; reported on recent projects, including the proposed East County Recreation Center in Ypsilanti; and reviewed WCPARC’s accomplishments in 2012.

An item not on the Dec. 11 agenda will likely receive attention in early 2013: An application from the city of Ann Arbor for up to $300,000 in Connecting Communities funds. If awarded, the grant would be used as matching funds for additional state support to improve the city-owned 721 N. Main property. Applications for WCPARC’s Connecting Communities must be received by year’s end, and the Ann Arbor city council is expected to authorize the application at its Dec. 17 meeting. [See Chronicle coverage: "Grant Applications Recommended for 721 N. Main."] [Full Story]

Parks Group Acts on Skatepark, Millage

Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (June 19, 2012): Park commissioners took action on three items that now will likely be on the Ann Arbor city council’s July 16 agenda: (1) a contract for the design of a proposed Ann Arbor skatepark, (2) path renovations at Leslie Science & Nature Center, and (3) a parks millage renewal.

Francie Krawcke with a snowy owl

Francie Krawcke, raptor program director with the Leslie Science & Nature Center, brought a snowy owl to the June 19, 2012 meeting of the Ann Arbor park advisory commission. The owl did not fly around council chambers, but did enjoy a few snacks at the meeting. (Photos by the writer.)

An $89,560 contract with Wally Hollyday Skateparks – for design and construction oversight of a new skatepark at Veterans Memorial Park – was unanimously recommended for approval. Trevor Staples, president of the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark, was on hand to answer questions, and several commissioners congratulated him for spearheading this project. Staples noted that fundraising is still underway, focused now on building a $100,000 endowment for future maintenance. Funding for design and construction of the skatepark has been secured primarily from a $300,000 state grant and $400,000 from the Washtenaw County parks & recreation commission.

PAC also unanimously recommended approval of a $115,309 contract with JB Contractors Inc. to build barrier-free pathways at the Leslie Science & Nature Center. The recommendation includes a 10% contingency, for a total project cost of $126,840.

This first phase of a broader renovation project on the center’s grounds will include making the raptor enclosures – housing owls, falcons, a bald eagle and other birds of prey – more accessible. The center, located at 1831 Traver Road, was previously part of the city’s parks system, but since 2007 has operated as an independent nonprofit. However, the city still owns and maintains the buildings and property.

Also unanimously recommended for approval was placement of a millage renewal on the Nov. 6 ballot. The current 1.1 mill Ann Arbor park maintenance and capital improvements millage expires this year. A renewal would run from 2013-2018 and is expected to generate about $4.9 million next year.

The June 19 meeting included a quarterly financial update, and the election of Tim Doyle as chair of PAC’s budget and finance committee. Commissioners also were briefed on a Traver Creek streambank stabilization project at Leslie Park golf course, designed to improve the water quality of this Huron River tributary.

Other water-related issues were brought up during the parks and recreation manager’s report. Colin Smith told commissioners that final repairs on swirl concentrators at West Park – designed to help stormwater management – will start later this month, with final renovations of the park occurring over the summer. And city staff will be harvesting Eurasian watermilfoil from about 6-7 acres around the Gallup Park canoe livery, using what Smith described as a “Zamboni on the water.” The aquatic plants have overgrown the area around the livery, making it hard for people to use paddleboats, canoes and kayaks.

During public commentary, Alan Haber urged commissioners to support the Library Green project, a citizen-led effort to put a public commons on top of the new city-owned Library Lane underground parking structure. He invited PAC to a July 14 “Imagine a Park” block party on the site, from noon until 5 p.m. Later in the meeting, park commissioner Tim Berla picked up the idea, saying he wasn’t advocating for that particular project but that he felt PAC should be “in the game” for discussions of a downtown park.

The June 19 meeting was the last one for commissioner David Barrett, who is term-limited after serving two three-year terms. PAC chair Julie Grand praised his work, particularly in advocating for renovations to the city’s athletic fields and ballparks. The mayor has not yet publicly put forward a nomination for Barrett’s replacement. [Full Story]

Commission OKs FY 2013 Parks Budget

Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (April 17, 2012): The action items at this month’s PAC meeting focused on the upcoming fiscal year, with parks-related budget recommendations for July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013. Sam Offen, who chairs PAC’s budget and finance committee, observed that the FY 2013 budget is in better shape than in recent years.

Christopher Taylor, Sam Offen

At left is city councilmember Christopher Taylor (Ward 3), who also serves as an ex officio member of the Ann Arbor park advisory commission. To the right is Sam Offen, chair of PAC's budget and finance committee. (Photos by the writer.)

This is the second year of a two-year budget cycle, and commissioners had recommended approval of budgets for both years at their April 2011 meeting. The recent recommendations for FY 2013 include: (1) increasing the frequency of the mowing cycle from every 19 days to every 14 days; (2) increasing seasonal staffing between April 15–October 15 to maintain active recreation areas better; (3) establishing three seasonal park steward/supervisor positions to improve park maintenance and enforcement; and (4) increasing seasonal staffing at the ice arenas to improve facility cleanliness.

Fee increases at several parks and rec facilities are also part of the budget recommendations, but most have already been implemented in the current fiscal year.

The April 17 meeting included a public hearing on the renewal of the city’s park maintenance and capital improvements millage, which will likely be on the November 2012 ballot. No one spoke at the hearing. In general, “there seems to be a great deal of relative silence” about the millage, parks and rec manager Colin Smith told commissioners. Few people have attended the recent public forums held by parks staff. The final forum is set for Thursday, April 26 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Ann Arbor District Library’s Traverwood branch, 3333 Traverwood Drive.

Parks staff gave an update on deteriorating conditions at Windemere Park’s two tennis courts, and provided an initial estimate on costs to replace one or both courts at that location. No formal recommendation has been made, but options include moving the courts to another park. Commissioners discussed the need to assess the distribution and conditions of all of the city’s public courts – including ones in the public school system – as well as their overall usage, to get a better idea of where the greatest needs are.

Another update came from an engineer at the Washtenaw County water resources commissioner’s office, who described a drain replacement project that will affect Veterans Memorial Park later this year. Also related to Veterans Memorial, the request for proposals (RFP) for a skatepark there has been issued. [.pdf of skatepark RFP] The goal is to solicit proposals for a consultant to handle design and oversee construction of the skatepark, which will be located on city-owned property.

During public commentary, commissioners were given an update on the nonprofit Project Grow, which has several gardens located in city parks and is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Another speaker urged commissioners to take control of the parking lots in city parks, and possibly increase revenues by installing metered parking. [Full Story]

Park Commission Supports FY 2013 Budget

At its April 17, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor park advisory commission unanimously approved two resolutions related to the city’s fiscal year 2013 budget, the year beginning July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013. It’s the second year of a two-year budget planning cycle. PAC had previously recommended approval of budgets for both years at its April 2011 meeting. The parks budget is part of the city’s overall budget, which city administrator Steve Powers presented at the April 16 meeting of the Ann Arbor city council.

The portion of the city budget relating to parks can be separated into two parts: (1) park operations; and (2) parks and recreation.

On Tuesday, PAC recommended approval of the FY 2013 parks operations … [Full Story]

RiverUp! Focuses on Revitalizing Huron River

Ann Arbor park advisory commission (July 19, 2011): A new project to shore up the ecological health and recreational infrastructure of the Huron River – and to strengthen the economies of river communities like Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti – is getting ready for its public debut in mid-August. Park commissioners were briefed on the RiverUp! effort at their July meeting, and were invited to an Aug. 16 bus tour of sites that will be given initial attention in the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti area.

Greek Revival shelter at Island Park in Ann Arbor

Greek Revival shelter at Island Park, where an event to launch the RiverUp! project will be held on Aug. 16. (Photos by the writer)

Elizabeth Riggs of the Huron River Watershed Council, which is coordinating the project, told PAC members that RiverUp! is spearheaded by a conservancy group called the Wolfpack. Co-founded by attorney and former Clinton advisor Paul Dimond and retired Ford executive Ray Pittman, Wolfpack members – mostly from the Ann Arbor area – have been previously focused on state issues. Now, Riggs said, they are turning their attention to a 104-mile stretch of the Huron River, starting from the north at Milford through Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, and downstream to Flat Rock.

Also at their July meeting, commissioners got an update about efforts to build an Ann Arbor skatepark. They also reviewed tentative FY 2011 budget results for the parks system – finals numbers will be presented to the commission in August.

Several other topics were discussed or mentioned during the meeting, in the form of communications from staff or commissioners: (1) an update on work at Argo dam; (2) concerns over the proposed Fuller Road Station and the site design’s consideration of the Border-to-Border Trail; (3) a roughly $100,000 donation from the Henrietta Feldman trust; (4) news of the resignation of Greta Brunschwyler, executive director of the Leslie Science & Nature Center; and (5) a preview of an August agenda item regarding dog parks.

Other news regarding the Argo dam project – a $1.17 million effort to build a bypass channel in the Argo dam headrace, and to add whitewater features – emerged the week after PAC’s July 19 meeting.

A July 25 memo from city staff reports that the city was recently notified by DTE officials of upcoming remediation work that DTE plans to do in 2012 adjacent to DTE’s property on the south side of the Huron River, between Allen Creek Drain and the Broadway Bridge. The remediation is being required by the Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality.

DTE is offering to pay for the whitewater feature of the Argo dam project, if the city agrees to hold off on construction of that piece until after DTE completes its remediation. Details of the offer haven’t been finalized. [Full Story]

Council To Get Reminder of Parks Promise

Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (April 26, 2011): The park advisory commission (PAC) meeting on Tuesday lasted around three hours, and concluded with a budget-related resolution that reminds the Ann Arbor city council of an administrative policy on parks budgeting.

Tim Berla, Park Advisory Commission Ann Arbor

Park advisory commissioners Tim Berla (left) and Doug Chapman (right). Berla is talking about differences in funding levels for parks as compared with the rest of the city's general fund.

PAC chair Julie Grand lamented the short notice they had received about the proposed changes to the way parks programs will be supported in the fiscal year 2012 budget – which meant that the public had little opportunity to weigh in with PAC.

On May 2, the city council is holding its public hearing on the FY 2012 budget, which the council needs to approve at its May 16 meeting. The 2012 fiscal year begins July 1, 2011.

The city’s administrative policy on parks support dates back to a measure passed by the city council in October 2006, which reads in relevant part: “If future reductions are necessary in the City’s general fund budget, during any of the six years of this millage, beginning with Fiscal Year 2007-2008, the general fund budget supporting the parks and recreation system for that year will be reduced by a percentage no greater than the average percentage reduction of the total City general fund budget.”

The policy was seen as important to assure voters that once the 2006 millage was passed, millage money would not replace general fund support for parks.

But based on city staff calculations, the portion of the city’s general fund in the proposed FY 2012 budget that supports parks would fall short of the 2006 administrative policy standard by $90,000. And some park commissioners objected to the fact that some of the money previously drawn from the general fund to support parks will now be drawn from the METRO and stormwater funds.

The stormwater fund receives revenues paid through fees based on the amount of impervious surface on a property. The METRO fund receives revenues that the state requires telecommunications companies to pay municipalities for use of the right-of-way. For purposes of the administrative policy, the city is counting the METRO funds that are supporting parks as part of the general fund.

The resolution passed by PAC called on the city council to adhere to the prevailing administrative policy. A different resolution passed by PAC expressed the body’s support for the cost-savings measures in the parks and recreation programs included in the FY 2012 budget. Besides parks and recreation programs, park operations are supported by the general fund – in the public services area of the budget. The administrative policy discrepancy lies in the park operations budget.

In other budget-related business, the commission recommended fee increases and new program fees that had been suggested by city staff. Those increases will need final authorization by the city council.

The commission also received a presentation from the Ann Arbor public art commission on a program to create murals. One of the initial sites selected for mural installation is the restroom building at Allmendinger Park. [Full Story]

PAC OKs Park Plan, Suggests Golf Fee Bump

Ann Arbor park advisory commission meeting (Feb. 15, 2011): In their main business of the afternoon, park advisory commissioners signed off on the city’s Parks and Recreation Open Space (PROS) plan – an item it had postponed from its January monthly meeting.

John Lawter, Amy Kuras, Gwen Nystuen

Before the meeting, park advisory commissioner John Lawter receives the final draft of the PROS plan from park planner Amy Kuras. Looking on is commissioner Gwen Nystuen. (Photos by the writer.)

Before approving the plan, the commission heard public commentary on the issue, as well as an update from park planner Amy Kuras about how some concerns had been addressed in revisions to earlier drafts. Later in the evening, the city’s planning commission also signed off on the plan. The PROS plan is set to come before the city council on March 7.

Heard during public commentary was criticism of the PROS plan for language it contains describing public-private partnerships for park services. One example of a potential partnership arose later in the meeting, when parks and recreation deputy manager Jeff Straw outlined a request for proposals, currently in draft form, that would explore interest from vendors in providing food concessions at park facilities.

The commission also approved a recommendation to raise fees slightly at the city’s golf courses for some items. Consideration of the fee increase came prior to the year’s regular budget decisions, so that the city council can consider and give final approval to the fee increases before the city’s golf courses open for play in the spring.

Also at the meeting, parks and recreation manager Colin Smith reviewed the parks budget presentation that had been made at a Jan. 31, 2011 city council work session. Smith also gave commissioners an update on two items concerning Argo Dam. He described how intake lines for a well that’s used for measuring water levels in the pond – so that the dam gates can regulate that level – had become clogged, and had ultimately required hiring a diver to unclog one of them.

The second Argo-related item was an update on the planned bypass channel which was recommended by the city’s park advisory commission and approved by the city council last year. Insurance issues are still being worked out with the contractor, Smith said, and construction will not start as early has had been hoped. Construction is not expected to be complete before the end of the construction season – in November.

Commissioners also agreed that before the city council approves the operating agreement between the city and the University of Michigan for the planned Fuller Road Station, they would like an opportunity to review that agreement.

At the meeting, commissioners also heard about a setback in a construction project that’s already nearing completion – renovations to the drainage system in West Park. Eight swirl concentrators were installed as a part of the project – four near the north Seventh Street entrance and four near the south entrance on Seventh. Craig Hupy, head of systems planning for the city, reported that four out of the eight swirl concentrators were in some state of failure, and that one of the four had experienced a catastrophic failure. The other four are also suspected to have problems. [Full Story]