ypsilanti and the township: a not so shared vision of the future

Our old friend out in the Township who calls himself Edge of Sprawl just left an interesting comment. In it, he gives his vision of the future five years out. Here, slightly edited, is what he had to say… I’m leaving out the part where he calls out certain City folks by name. If you want to read that, you can follow the link above.

…In 3-5 years, there will still be small groups of city residents typing on their keyboards or hanging around the Corner Brewery discussing how to convince the township to pay the costs of city services. No one is yet working on the financial problems, they’re all pointing the finger of blame at their neighbors. The City budget will be cash strapped due to the loss of ACH, the payments for the still vacant Water Street, and the pullout of many small businesses who were forced to leave due to the high taxes and inadequate police and fire services. AATA buses will run every 10 minutes, because hardly anyone can afford a car, and they’ll be equipped with TV’s and snack bars and bathrooms for the 60 minute ride to Ann Arbor….

Meanwhile, the eastern part of the county will be booming. The low taxes in the township will continue to attract industry and retail along with their associated jobs. The downtown corridor off 94 will be enhanced by the location of a new county recreation center with an indoor pool, track, and the latest in fitness equipment. The new coffee shop in the Whittaker Rd library branch will be a place of congregation. Willow Run airport will be expanded to accommodate the Lear jets of Hollywood stars arriving to shoot on location. And several new mega churches in the township will attract tens of thousands of new believers from outlying areas who will have incredible impact on the community due to their extreme fanaticism and will start a revival across the nation…

So, do you share the vision?

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13 Comments

  1. Posted August 2, 2008 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    A July 18 article in the Wall Street Journal begins: “MANITOWOC, Wis. — This is a town manufacturing once deserted — and is now reviving.”

    The article goes on to tell the story of Manitowac where in 2003, 900 workers lost their manufacturing jobs as a new plant opened in Mexico.

    Today this plant is back and the town is seeing a resurgence caused by a. their business in crane manufacturing; b. a weaker dollar; c. rising distribution costs that improve the cost structure for more local manufacturing; and d. increasing labor costs in developing nations.

    This is perhaps a very long-winded way of saying, “No. I don’t share the vision of the entertaining EoS commenter.

    Instead, I see the very factors that helped Manitowac as having real possibilities of helping Ypsilanti. No, Ypsilanti does not have a crane manufacturer, but it does have several individuals working on green energy projects that will require manufacturing if they are to grow. Ypsilanti also stands to benefit from the weaker dollar, high oil costs and increased labor costs elsewhere.

    I think that the next 5 years will be times of change, for sure, and I don’t know which green energy plans will really take off. But, I have enough confidence in the people I’ve met developing these plans to believe in positive change around the corner.

    I also see SPARK as a positive new development for Ypsilanti. Their mission is to advance the economic development of innovation-based businesses in the region by offering programs, resources, and proactive support to business at every stage, from start-ups to large organizations looking for expansion opportunities.

  2. mark
    Posted August 2, 2008 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    I hesitate to share my vision of the Township as it involves cannibalism.

  3. Reclusion
    Posted August 3, 2008 at 12:59 am | Permalink

    The Township is a muddy hole.

  4. Lost in Ypsi
    Posted August 3, 2008 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Not sure what the next 5 years will entail. For now I will just enjoy my time in the township until I can afford to live in A2. Gotta worry about my kids..

  5. KT
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I’ve herd people mention here and elsewhere that a lot of the campaign materials being distributed by township candidates are “anti city”. Could someone give me an example?

  6. Posted August 4, 2008 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    KT

    Go the library and check out the ads in the Ypsi Courier and Ann Arbor News.

  7. EoS
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Elected officials in the township who act in the best interests of township residents are to be commended. Effecting sound business practices and being frugal with tax dollars is not “anti city”. It’s doing what they were elected to do. Same as what you would hope City elected officials do. Its not a zero sum game. Both communities can thrive.

  8. roots
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I find it sad that citizens living in this relatively small corner of the planet–one which many snobbish folk in surrounding towns and suburbs love to hate–can’t work together for mutual gain. (Perhaps I should say “if we can’t work together” and maybe we already do in certain respects…?)

    I’m still new to local politics, and I don’t yet understand all the dynamics of city vs. township here. I have a feeling they’re the same old gripe as in many other locales nationwide, and if it really is all about tax dollars, well, I guess I had hoped Ypsi city and township alike were smarter than to let themselves be so easily divided and conquered.

    EoS’s vision is a frightening one. If it’s at all prophetic, I may lose what little faith in humanity I have left. Not to be dramatic, of course.

  9. Andy C
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always assumed that EoS was really Mark Maynard trying to stir people up and in many cases kill a tread. To think that EoS is a real person is quite scary.

  10. Posted August 4, 2008 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    roots,

    The Story of Ypsilanti written by Rev Harvey Colburn is a wonderful history of our community. The book chronicles the first 100 years of Ypsilanti and documents much of the political infighting of the time.

    Swap out the names for today’s politicos and the book would read much the same today as it did when it was first published in 1923.

    The book is available at the Library and the Historical Museum sells reprints for like $10 or $15.

    Remember all politics is local.

    Cheers!

    – Steve

  11. EoS
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    And there’s nearly 50,000 other taxpayers in the township that share my point of view. Our community is fiscally responsible and we keep our costs under control. We pay 10 mils where the city residents pay more than 30 mils. We are a separate community and we enjoy the benefits of low taxes, while providing for necessary services. Its not a matter of divide and conquer. The “Ypsilanti Community” has always been two separate and distinct governmental entities. It’s not about historical differences – it’s about the township being able to make sound, rational decisions in the best interest of their residents, without undue influence of outside governmental units. It is not in our best interest to combine services with the city in cases where our proportion of the costs exceeds the cost of the level of service that we are comfortable with. There’s no other city or township in the area that wants to combine services with the city either. There is no moral obligation for Ypsi township to sacrifice our future to bail out a city whose leaders made extremely poor financial decisions in the past, and who continually get re-elected. The reason our short term future prospects exceed those of the city is because we have avoided the trap of jacking up taxes to pay for high levels of service or pie in the sky real estate speculation. Your level of taxes are a deterrent to business. The answer isn’t to guilt trip a neighboring community into raising their taxes to pay for your excesses. The answer is to pay off your debt and then lower your taxes. Ann Arbor is full of progressives that like high taxes, and they have a lot more money. Why don’t you take your pleas for help to their city council. At least you’d be trying to merge with a community that shares your views on necessary levels of government and desirable levels of taxation. You lecherous parasites are destroying my view of humanity as well. What ever happened to the value of self-sufficiency?

  12. roots
    Posted August 4, 2008 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Lecherous parasites? Ugh. The us-vs-them ranting is so unbecoming…

    If the township is so separate and distinct a community, why does the township website feature a page about Heritage Fest? Sorry to be so obtuse about the distinction.

    I agree that high taxes are a deterrant to city living, and many American cities face this obstacle, not just Ypsi. Abandonment of city centers isn’t a good response. Sprawl creates more problems.

    I’m not sure where the argument about combining services originated, so maybe those talons weren’t directed my way…I’m more interested in bottom-up change, people working together in ways unrelated to government and taxes. Cut out the middle man.

    I agree with your plea to value self-sufficiency, and I get excited when I catch glimpses of it in this community.

  13. alternate_ending
    Posted August 5, 2008 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    I see the completely uncontrolled low income areas of the Township bouncing off the newly-funded Brick Wall surrounding the city, and picking off EoS and his kith and kin one-by-one in their isolated forts made of cornstalks.

    Dare to dream—-

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