At its July 11, 2012 meeting, the Washtenaw County board of commissioners approved backing the bonds for four projects proposed by the county’s water resources commissioner, including three in Ann Arbor.
The three Ann Arbor projects are: (1) stabilizing Traver Creek as it runs through the Leslie Park Golf Course, costing up to $1.805 million; (2) providing stormwater retention and infiltration from the road surface using porous asphalt on Willard Street, in the Allen Creek drain district and costing up to $345,000; and (3) providing bio-retention and stormwater capture via reforestation as part of a Huron River “green infrastructure” project, costing up to $345,000.
The Ann Arbor projects require the county to give its full faith and credit, although the payment of bonds …
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.
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.
Ann Arbor park advisory commission (Dec. 20, 2011): Park commissioners were briefed about a project on the section of Traver Creek running through the city’s Leslie Park golf course, addressing erosion and stormwater issues along the streambank.
Jen Lawson, the city of Ann Arbor’s water quality manager, said the city hopes to hire a design consultant in January, with preliminary designs for the project ready by April. Final designs and construction plans would be done by July, and construction is projected to start in November of 2012.
The project would be completed by the spring of 2013, Lawson said, although an additional two growing seasons would be needed for plants to take hold. The intent is to minimize the impact on golfers during construction – parks and recreation manager Colin Smith noted that the project team is sensitive to the need for revenues from the course.
During the December meeting, commissioners also got an update on the city’s natural area preservation program, which has increased the number of volunteers who help with tasks like invasive species control and animal/plant monitoring.
Communications from staff included an update on the Argo Dam bypass, where work has stopped for the season. Additional work, including paving of a footpath, will occur in the spring. And in communications from commissioners, Sam Offen reminded his colleagues of the upcoming sustainability forums. The first forum is on Thursday, Jan. 12, focusing on resource management. All forums, held once a month, will be at the downtown Ann Arbor District Library building, 343 S. Fifth Ave. starting at 7 p.m.