so, are we mature enough to have a public meeting on water street?

This Friday evening, I’ll be meeting up with a few of the YpsiVotes folks to discuss the possibility of our hosting another one of our community forums. This one, if we decide to move forward with it, will focus on the Water Street project, and what our options are now that it seems to be dead in the water. If you would like to join us, we’d love to have you. As an all-volunteer group, we need all the help we can get, and the more folks we have pitching in, the more we’ll be able to accomplish.

I’m still a bit apprehensive about tackling this particular subject, given the fact that so many in our community are angry about what’s transpired up until this point, but I think there’s probably a way to let people vent a bit without handing over the entire event to those who feel compelled to say “I told you so” over and over and over again. (That’s primarily what Friday’s meeting will be about — how to pull this off in such a way that it moves the conversation forward.) And, I think that our organization, given our track record for even-handedness, is probably one of the few groups in town with a chance of being able to do it.

For those of you not from Ypsi, and not familiar with the situation, our city government made the decision several years ago to start buying up property along the banks of the river that runs through our downtown. The idea was to consolide the parcels, and then sell the whole thing off to a developer who would then build condos and somehow attract wealthy young professionals to live in them. This would, in turn, lift us out of the red ink we’ve been flailing around in. At least that was the idea. It was risky. If it had worked out, we’d be singing their praises right now, but it didn’t. At least, as of right now, it looks like a failure. The city invested millions, drove out tax-paying businesses in the process, discovered the property was significantly more toxic than they had anticipated, and then got left at the altar twice by developers who had promised great things. My hope is that we could say this in about five minutes at the beginning, and then devote the rest of the time to moving forward together, exploring our options, and brainstorming together to perhaps generate new ideas. Is it possible? I don’t know.

So, if you have two cents that you’d like to contribute, and you don’t feel like sending a check to City Hall, come and join us this Friday, January 12, from 6:00 to 7:30 PM at Caf

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  1. Paul Schreiber
    Posted January 10, 2007 at 11:30 pm | Permalink


    An independent public discussion about what should and shouldn’t be developed on the Water Street site will be very useful to city council, city staff, and the Ypsilanti community.

    I really appreciate the efforts of you and the YpsiVotes group to sponsor this forum.


    Paul Schreiber
    Mayor, City of Ypsilanti

  2. UBU
    Posted January 11, 2007 at 2:09 pm | Permalink


    If you could alter the word altar to reflect the intended meaning it would be very useful to myself, the president, the first lady (a former librarian) and all the ships at sea.

    I really appreciate the efforts of you and Ypsilanti to provide comic relief for the citizens of Ann Arbor. Also for that crazy water tower and a football team our fellows can look good against!


    Chairman, Central Committee for Public Safety

  3. ol' e cross
    Posted January 11, 2007 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    I assumed Mark was intentionally using the Middle English spelling of altar to allow for a rather potent triple entendre. By utilizing the ME spelling, Mark linguistically combined the noun altar with the verb alter, which, of course, means to change or to castrate. In doing so, he suggests to us that the loss of the second developer not only changed things for Ypsi, it left the city feeling abandoned, humiliated and without balls.

    Don’t worry Mark. The wrest of us got it.

  4. chrisopos
    Posted January 11, 2007 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    I’ll have to pass this along to my friends who aren’t moving in four months.

  5. UBU
    Posted January 11, 2007 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Have you considered the fact that your friends who won’t be moving in four months may be dead? My cat didn’t move for a week and we found out that was what was wrong with him…

  6. chrisopos
    Posted January 11, 2007 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Either way there is whole room of them. If it starts to smell in a weel I’ll check for a pulse.

  7. egpenet
    Posted January 11, 2007 at 9:33 pm | Permalink


  8. trusty getto
    Posted January 12, 2007 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Well, that would depend on who “we” is. If I had to put money on it, what with the current discussion of an income tax and the history of the project, my money would be on “no.”

  9. egpenet
    Posted January 12, 2007 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    The Iraq Study Group has nothing to do … let’s invite them to give their input.

  10. mark
    Posted January 15, 2007 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    I’ll be posting something about it later in the week, but about 20 people showed up for the discussion, and it was agreed that we’d go ahead and do the event. We should be launching a website soon with details. The event will probably be in about 2 months.

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