Stories indexed with the term ‘Water Street’

Ypsilanti: Master Plan

WEMU reports on a clash between an update to Ypsilanti’s master plan regarding the long-vacant Water Street site, and a possible Washtenaw County recreation center, which has been proposed for the northwest corner of the property. From the report: “The design team that’s taking public input and converting it into recommendations for council recommends locating the proposed recreation center further south on the parcel, mostly due to the building’s large size and parking requirements.” [Source]

Public Gives Input on East County Rec Center

About 70 people crowded into a Sept. 27 open house at the Spark East office in Ypsilanti to hear about plans for a proposed new recreation center in downtown Ypsilanti, on the northwest corner of the Water Street redevelopment area. Two conceptual designs were presented for feedback, developed in large part by students and faculty at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. The overall project is being spearheaded by Washtenaw County parks and recreation.

Model of a conceptual design for a new recreation center in downtown Ypsilanti

Model of a conceptual “canopy” design for a proposed new recreation center in downtown Ypsilanti. It was one of two models displayed at a Sept. 27 open house to get feedback on the proposed project.

Robert Tetens, the county’s parks and rec director, gave the gathering an overview of the project. “We’re an organization run by data, and our surveys over the years have showed demand for a rec center in the east part of the county,” he said. “We went to the Ypsilanti city council last fall, and proposed that the city provide the land, we [the county] would build it, and the Y[MCA in Ann Arbor] would run it. The seven- or eight-month project has taken us to where we are now.”

The center would be located on the south side of Michigan Avenue just east of downtown, next to the Huron River. The building likely would be 60,000-65,000 square feet – larger than the county’s 51,000-square-foot Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center, and smaller than the 70,000-square-foot Ann Arbor YMCA. Construction costs are estimated at $200 per square foot, or about $12-14 million. [Construction is only part of overall project cost, which typically includes infrastructure, professional fees, and more. No estimate of total project cost was made at the Sept. 27 meeting.] Tetens said that construction could not start until after the county’s parks and recreation millage is renewed in November 2014.

Two millages totaling 0.472 mills support the county’s parks and recreation efforts: one for operations, and one for development. The operational millage, at 0.2353 mills, was renewed for 10 additional years in 2004. To ensure operational continuity, that millage is typically renewed two years in advance of its expiration date. The current operational millage expires in 2016, but will likely be on the ballot for renewal in 2014.

Previously, Tetens had said that the schedule for the proposed east county recreation center would include settling on a specific plan for the building by December 2012. At the Sept. 27 meeting, he said other steps would include collaboration between the Ypsilanti city council and the county parks department over the next 8-10 months, followed by a campaign for the county parks millage renewal in November 2014, which is needed to ensure adequate cash flow. Then, Tetens said, he hoped to have bids out and be ready to get approval from the county board of commissioners, sign a contract, and start construction “right after that.”

The planning group showed two possible ways of developing the entire Water Street site: a “river ribbon” street plan with a storefront-style, elevated rec center building; and a “grid” street plan with a canopy-style building. Before designing the specifics of the building, the planning group defined the project’s objectives and the pertinent qualities of the overall site. Running through the discussion, including audience participation at the end, was the desire for the publicly-funded rec center and the adjacent Border-to-Border trail to create enough use of the site to attract private investment in retail, residential, and commercial uses that would generate tax revenue for the city of Ypsilanti. [Full Story]

Ypsilanti Income Tax, Millage Voted Down

With results reported from six of the seven precincts in the city of Ypsilanti, voters overwhelmingly rejected two major proposals on the May 8 ballot: A city income tax, and a millage to pay off debt for the Water Street parcel. The proposed city income tax was voted down with 1,313 no votes (68%) to 625 yes votes (32%) from six precincts. The proposed Water Street millage failed 1,291 (67%) to 644 (33%).

At Aubree’s in Depot Town, volunteers who worked for SCIT (Stop City Income Tax) appeared more interested in the pizza provided by SCIT than in additional voting results, which as early as 9 p.m. were clearly in their favor. Peter Fletcher, spokesperson for SCIT, was not available for comment … [Full Story]

Ypsi Council To Be Briefed on Rec Center

A proposal for a new county recreation center in Ypsilanti’s Water Street area is the focus of an Ypsilanti city council working session on Tuesday, Oct. 4, held prior to the council’s regular evening meeting. A memo from Bob Tetens, director of the Washtenaw County parks & recreation department, outlines the proposed East Side Recreation Center and is included in the council packet. [.pdf of memo from Tetens]

In the memo, Tetens states that the new center would be similar, both in size and characteristics, to the county’s Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center, located on Washtenaw Avenue at Platt Road. However, the programming and other features would be unique to the Ypsilanti area community. The MLM rec center has … [Full Story]