mash it to pulp

I was going to link to a story over at the new YpsiDixit site, but I can’t seem to find it in the archives. It had to do with the fact that our historic paper mill here in Ypsilanti was torn down to make room for a giant rental complex geared toward students, in spite of the fact that the incoming class at Eastern Michigan University is shrinking, and that there are already too many vacant properties in town.

Maybe I’m biased because I liked the old mill, or because I had a grand vision for turning the rambling old place into artists’ space, but it just seems terribly shortsighted to me to sacrifice history for new, seemingly shoddy, student rentals, especially when there doesn’t appear to be a pressing market need for them.

(As I have a bit of a background in historic research, having worked for the infamous Big Ed Rutsch in my youth, I decided not too long ago to cal city hall and ask them how they determined that the mill wasn’t worth preserving. Actually, having helped write a few in my day, I asked if they had commissioned a Cultural Impact Study. They didn’t know what I was talking about. When I asked what kind of research they’d done before deciding to tear down the building, they indicated that they hadn’t done any. Maybe I just wasn’t talking with the right people, but the message that I got was that it hadn’t even come up, that no one had questioned whether or not the old structure might be historically significant, or worth saving.)

Of course it’s all too late now, but our local historian friend Brett (you might have seen him in the comments section talking with an adult film actress), I’m told, is going to be digging into the whole paper mill fiasco at his newly launched website, Maproom Systems.

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  1. Posted March 27, 2005 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    mark, you’re drunk.*

    go to sleep.

    there’s nothing to see here.

    the mill was an eyesore.**

    it was contaminated.**

    it isn’t like it’s in the middle of a neighborhood, so who cares? ***

    we now have a new apartment complex which offers a level of opulence which cannot be found elsewhere in ypsilanti. **

    the taxes will be a great benefit to the city.***

    and the old chimney has gotten new life as art! **, ***

    good night.

    *- so i observed

    **- so the developer observed

    ***- so city council observed

  2. mark
    Posted March 27, 2005 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    We fucked up with regard to the paper mill. We weren’t organized. I’d like to think that if it were to have happened today, we’d at least be able to have our concerns heard… We just need to be sure that nothing like this happens again. That’s one of the reasons I think it’s imperative that us Ypsi bloggers organize and do a better job of sharing information.

  3. Posted March 27, 2005 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    mark, if it’s any consolation, i can assure you that there will never be another paper mill demolished in ypsilanti.

  4. Posted March 27, 2005 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    The new apartments are part of the larger effort by city council and the planning commission to push the students to the edges of town. The zoning meeting was held last November though I don’t know if the new scheme has been implemented.

    After the apartments are built, city council expects all the students to abandon the rentals in Normal Park and College Heights, freeing those properties for purchase by Ann Arborites with an extra $80,000 to sink into a crumbling 19th century farmhouse.

    Like this one:
    When Steve and I looked at it 9 months ago, there was a noticable downhill slant from the front door to the center of the house. We left when we saw the posts in the basement.

  5. Posted March 27, 2005 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    To reinforce what Hillary just said, here’s an excerpt of the chatter at the February, 2005 City Council meeting:


    Council member Sandie Schulze added, “First of all, we have to remember; we are a University town. This property is across the street from Eastern University. There are homes that have apartments in them that aren

  6. Posted March 27, 2005 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    Sorry about that Mark; I haven’t imported archives into the new site yet. The post you kindly referred to is here (second post down).

    The new apt. complex has nonfunctional architectural features like fake towers/cupolas that you can’t go up into. Just for show. I find that wasteful, and it makes the whole place look fake.

  7. Posted March 28, 2005 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    From a December 6, 2004 AA news article:

    “Kirk (the developer) said after touring Depot Town, he decided to design the complex to preserve some of the area’s railroad and manufacturing flavor. In addition to the smokestack, the building’s architecture will include design elements such as structural steel pieces and entry features that are reminiscent of a train depot.”

    …An earlier article had him saying that the apartments would be reminiscent of other architecture in ‘the neighborhood’, which for those unfamiliar with the area, this means basically “The Wooden Nickel” and “Kampus Korner” would have been his inspiration.

  8. Posted March 28, 2005 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Don’t forget Nene’s! They moved from downtown to be closer to their customers.

    If Kirk meant that he was inspired by the shoddy construction of other buildings in the area, he really nailed it.

  9. Posted March 28, 2005 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    I did forget Nene. Sorry. I also forgot the other beverage store that was shut down for selling drugs and breeding pit bulls, that had the sign out front for two full years after 9/11 saying:


    …I was never quite sure why he put America in quotes, as if it were either slang or some sort of theoretical concept. I don’t think it says that anymore.

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