my big idea: shipping container artists’ colony in downtown ypsilanti

    As I’ve mentioned here before, the good folks at Pfizer, before packing up their Global R&D facility and leaving Ann Arbor for good, gave $1 million dollars to the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation with the stipulation that it be spent within one year’s time on high-impact projects. After giving the issue quite a bit of thought, and meeting with a great number of people knowledgeable about the needs of the community, the board of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation announced that they would primarily be looking to fund opportunities in Arts and Culture and Early Childhood Development. And, most importantly for us, they said that they would focus on Ypsilanti.

    Some of the funds, no doubt, have clearly already been set aside by this point for various projects, but, just before Christmas, the board announced that $200,000 was still available, and that they were going to use it to fund what they’re calling Big Idea grants, which could range anywhere between $50,000 and $200,000. (It’s conceivable that one organization will get the entire $200,000, but it seems more likely that the board will award 4 groups $50,000 each, or something along those lines.)

    My first thought, of course, was that our bike-powered film project would be a great candidate, but, as I couldn’t even begin to imagine how we’d spend $50,000, when the current budget comes in at less that $3,000, I went back to the drawing board. What I’ve come up with in its place is still a little rough, but, seeing as how the deadline for submissions is February 4, I thought that I’d throw it out here to get your feedback.

    Here’s the idea in a nutshell… We take a small plot of land in Ypsi (ideally on the Water Street property), stack it full of shipping containers, and begin leasing space to artists and entrepreneurs at the subsidized rate of $1 per square foot. Maybe, if we’re lucky, we could even pull the folks from Gallery 555 back from Detroit to manage the space. (They’re currently looking for a new home.) As I understand it, retired shipping containers can be had for something on the order of $1,250 dollars a piece. They would, of course, need to be insulated and made habitable, but I imagine that $75,000 from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation could go a long way, especially if a good portion of the architecture and building costs were donated.

    As we all know, Ypsi is well positioned to be a thriving center of artistic activity. (It’s already starting.) A high-profile space like the one I’m imagining would not only advance that cause, bringing more young, enthusiastic people with ideas here to Ypsilanti, but, if we were to do it on Water Street, it would be a great shot in the arm to spur on further development. My guess — and I’m pretty sure that I’m right — is that developers would rather build in a neighborhood featuring a funky, innovative, multi-level, green artists’ colony running on solar than, say, a Burger King or a strip mall. So, yeah, I’m suggesting that the City sell us an acre or two of land cheap contingent on our raising the money, drafting plans and making something happen. And, yes, I know it’s a gamble, but I for one would rather gamble on a few dozen artists and a couple of cool shops than on a Burger King.

    So, what’s your big idea?

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      47 Comments

      1. mark
        Posted January 2, 2009 at 12:36 am | Permalink

        And I know that the graphic is a bit much. It’s the best I could do on short notice, though. I think we’d probably be able to get by with a dozen containers.

      2. mark
        Posted January 2, 2009 at 12:41 am | Permalink

        And if you think it can’t be done, check out Container City.

      3. Brackache
        Posted January 2, 2009 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        Sounds cool if the money’s there. I assume we cut some windows and skylights into those things.

      4. roots
        Posted January 2, 2009 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        Sounds fantastic. I’ve never heard of such a structure, but I’d love to support an effort to make it happen. (Please keep us readers updated on how we can help!)

      5. Posted January 2, 2009 at 10:44 am | Permalink

        Containers are usually filthy, vagabond orphans from Melamineland, China.
        It’s cheaper to leave them here than to send them back empty.
        I see thousands piled in brownfields near ports with nowhere to go.
        Truckers who move them tend to be the sketchiest of the sketchy and run overweight, destroying roads.

        That said, it’s a great idea. I’d LIVE in a cleaned up container. It makes the “small home movement” look like a collective full of fur-wearing resource gluttons.

        Our brownfield (Waterstreet) is the perfect location. US environmental standards tend to be a bit hysterical compared to parts of Europe, where these kinds of container complexes are thriving. So it’d be an uphill climb with US regulators.

        No chain in its right mind would or could deal with a container location… yet. My only far is it would be too successful, attracting satellite chains and gentrification that has completely destroyed Ann Arbour.

      6. Old Goat
        Posted January 2, 2009 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        Oh boy, sanctioned and glorified slum. Can’t wait!

      7. kjc
        Posted January 2, 2009 at 11:50 am | Permalink

        Slum? Is there a logic in that prejudice?

        Yes, instead let’s have a filthy Aldi with an accompanying parking lot full of shopping carts nobody puts away and a Burger King so we can all eat more processed shit based on cheap energy (that doesn’t exist anymore).

        Or, if we wanna aspire Ann Arbor style, we could hope for a Potbelly and a Noodles and Co. Talk about a ruined landscape.

      8. Posted January 2, 2009 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        It would have to be done right. It could be just a mess or a beautiful mess. Frank Gehry manages to make $300m buildings look like they are beautiful slum castles that leak. The money saved on material costs could be directed to a good master plan / design.

        Berlin has become an art slum, but it is now the cultural center / envy of Germany.

      9. mike_1630
        Posted January 2, 2009 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        I would love to see a project like ‘Growing Hope’, but for photographers :)

        And I like your idea on Shipping Containers – I’ve seen some really amazing designs using containers.

      10. Emma
        Posted January 2, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        I got a quote in August on an 8′ tall, 40′ long shipping container, it was used and guaranteed to be wind and water tight (meaning that the box is square, the floors are solid, the doors open and close properly and it does not leak) The amount for the container was $3200.00. Shipping to my house (about 30 miles W. of Ypsi) was an additional $315.00.
        The company is based in Chicago. Here is their website:
        http://www.cgini.com/
        They were the closest I could find.

      11. Brackache
        Posted January 2, 2009 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps the heavily irradiated ones are cheaper.

      12. Chaely
        Posted January 2, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        My boyfriend (a sculptor and recent EMU grad) and I (working in the arts management field) have been talking about this sort of artist co-op space for Ypsilanti since we toured the Jackson Armory Arts village a year ago and, perhaps shockingly, hated it. Something like this will require lots of input from local artists, national artists, other galleries, citizens of Washtenaw, etc. and I hope that if this sort of project is explored for our area it’s researched to the point of ridiculousness to make sure that it’s executed properly so we really get something out of every penny and minute we spend on it.

        I think this project can certainly be completed and sustained by the talent in and around the community as long as the early parts of it (planning the space, building a mission statement, coming up with a business model, and so on) all have to be absolutely perfect. If done properly, this could create a massive wave in the Michigan & midwest art scenes and generate huge amounts of press and income for Washtenaw county.

        I also wouldn’t let people like Old Goat discourage the use of the containers. These shipping container buildings have been used all over the world in recent years (often as art galleries) and are considered the absolute height of “green” contemporary architecture. No one said they had to be left dirty and rusted from the shipping yard. If a real architect got their hands on this project they could turn it into a masterpiece.

      13. Posted January 2, 2009 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        Instead of leasing, could interested parties buy a shipping container to use on the property, and then pay a monthly maintenance cost, like a condo? Otherwise, what party “owns” the shipping containers and collects rent? That would greatly reduce upfront costs. This a good idea, but the logistics are cloudy. And when you say “artists”, what exactly does that mean? Would it be retail space? And who would get to rent for a dollar a square foot? For instance, I would gladly move my business there for that rent. Wouldn’t the city have to get involved? And also a third party to buy the space on Water Street and develop it? When you say “we” can raise money and develop it, what exactly does that mean?

        Cool idea, but I’m really unclear on a lot of things. Sounds like a lot of people are excited about it though.

      14. mark
        Posted January 2, 2009 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Not much time now…. But I heard from a friend that your standard (non-insulated) container could be had for about $1,250. I’ll verify that.

        And, as I mentioned, it wouldn’t necessarily have to be on Water Street. I just think that a project like this would be a good one to get development moving in the right (non-Burger King) direction.

        And I know an architect. I’ll send him an email and see what he thinks.

        So, any other big (non-container-related) ideas?

      15. Ol' E Cross
        Posted January 2, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        And, once Ypsi gentrifies beyond what artists can afford, we simply close up the containers and ship them away overnight to make room for the new health club. Saves us from all the hubbub Ann Arbor went through to evict their arts community.

        We could possibly even sell them to the next community that needs an influx of talent. The artists could be shipped from around the globe bringing their magic touch of urban renewal wherever they go!

        Absolutely brilliant!

      16. Marion
        Posted January 2, 2009 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        I can think of a few area residents I’d like to put in a shipping container.

      17. Posted January 2, 2009 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        The shipping containers may be cheap, but I would be extremely surprised if you could pull a project like this off for anything less than $300,000. Any type of structure costs money to make, regardless of what the outer shell consists of.

        Put it in perspective, a 2×4 house frame is the cheapest part of the entire house. Much of the money in the structure lies in the foundation, electrical, heat, plumbing, permits, LABOR, etc. etc.

        If you are serious about such a project, you need to talk to a contractor. I bet that you will find that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, despite what people may tell you.

      18. Old Goat
        Posted January 2, 2009 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

        Ikea has some great ideas for living in small spaces efficiently. Check out their store in Canton if you haven’t already. One unit has only 720 sq. ft. The problem I see here is that Ypsi has a glut of residential space at present. Short of opening another bomber plant, I don’t see this changing, unless there’s another great migration of people from Ann Arbor who wish to escape high home prices. What Ypsi, and everyone else needs, are jobs. That’s what fills houses and pays mortgages. Beer and medicine come to mind, as this area is already a mecca for both. But a colony of ‘starving’ artists? Hmmmmm.

      19. Posted January 2, 2009 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        I think your idea is wonderful, and I agree with your assessment of Ypsilanti- the arts community is ready for something like this.

        I often find myself dreaming that the City of Ypsilanti hands over the keys to an abandoned industrial building in town, and that I convert it into studio space for artists of all kinds to create work and collaborate in. Large common areas full of printing presses, spinning looms, clay tables, music and dance spaces– along with storage areas, galleries, classes maybe. Like joining a gym, but you make work, not aerobics.

        Something like this: http://www.chicagoprintmakers.com/docs/aboutus/aboutUs.php

        but more inclusive.

      20. mepatrickyounot
        Posted January 3, 2009 at 12:56 am | Permalink

        Dude wrote, “If you are serious about such a project, you need to talk to a contractor. I bet that you will find that there’s no such thing as a free lunch, despite what people may tell you.”
        Yes, and talk to a structural engineer who can sign off on this thing and a building code inspector and….
        Marcy Davy wrote, “I often find myself dreaming that the City of Ypsilanti hands over the keys to an abandoned industrial building in town, and that I convert it into studio space for artists of all kinds to create work and collaborate in.”
        From what I have seen, that frequently works (after a fashion) in other places. Small towns’ managers and city councils tend to be able to push through any subsidies that might help on the premise that they are one-time expenditures tah will pay off later. But you have to watch it. Even good plans fail sometimes.
        Most of us are too young to remember as part of Johnson’s great society there were award winning designs for public housing that allowed drug dealers to completely take over all entrances to the buildings. Just an example of what can happen to big ideas that are not closely coordinated with the people who will benefit from and work in the big ideas once they become reality.
        Old Goat wrote, “What Ypsi, and everyone else needs, are jobs. That’s what fills houses and pays mortgages. Beer and medicine come to mind, as this area is already a mecca for both. But a colony of ‘starving’ artists? Hmmmmm.”
        So I take it you are not just counting the days until the megaregion develops?

      21. j7uy5
        Posted January 3, 2009 at 2:17 am | Permalink

        Out neighbors to the north, at Holy Scrap Hot Springs, are building a spa/resort almost entirely from scrap materials.

        The point of the Ypsi project, as I might envision it, would not be to construct the colony for $200K. The point would be to see how much of it could be build from scrap, and how many workable innovative ideas could be developed in the process.

        The problem would be to spend it all in a year, because finding all the material, doing the design, organizing the labor, etc., would likely take longer than that. So the challenge would be to find a way to use the money to get started, and end up with something sustainable at the end.

      22. mark
        Posted January 3, 2009 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        I know there are huge issues. We haven’t even scratched the surface yet. There’s the foundation, sanitation, heating, cooling, parking, etc. Still, I think it’s worth digging deeper and seeing what’s possible. I know it sounds daunting, but a grass roots, arts-based development like this could be exactly what Ypsilanti needs right now. It could, as I mentioned in the post, not only kickstart interesting development, but plant seeds for future arts-based economic development. The question is, could something really be pulled off for $50,000 to $80,000. Even if it was just a first phase, with only, say, 6 units.

      23. mark
        Posted January 3, 2009 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        And you’re exactly right, j7uy5 – as much as possible would be done with reclaimed materials, perhaps in partnership with an organization such as Ann Arbor’s ReUse Center.

        And, for what it’s worth, not all artists in the area are starving. There are quite a few folks out there doing interesting stuff that actually makes money. You can see some of them at the Shadow Art Fair. The idea, I think, would be to find a good mix of tenants who work well together, perhaps sharing facilities, etc. If we could offer space at $1 a square foot, I bet we’d have a lot of good people coming forward to apply. And, I think, one unit should be kept free for gallery/shop space – a real tax-paying business. The business plan would be a bit tricky, but I suspect it could be done.

      24. Ol' E Cross
        Posted January 3, 2009 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        I actually think it’s a fine idea. My main concern would be sanitation. Seems like even artists need to relieve themselves occasionally. Unless there’s something existing and functional that could be used in one of the condemned buildings, installing plumbing and such could take up a big chunk of the funds. I also imagine each unit would need its own heating/cooling.

        If this does go in on Water St., seems like it’d have to be a major, more permanent addition to make the infrastructure investment worth it. Otherwise, I can’t see how it’d be better than using the existing buildings. I don’t see plumbing and wiring six units or six units providing enough impact that would make it worth complicating other aspects of Water St.

      25. Ol' E Cross
        Posted January 3, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        This site has some nice photos but I’m having a hard time finding someplace that will give an estimate of total costs. Closest I’ve found is $108 per square foot…

      26. nammeroo
        Posted January 3, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Manny Maroun (owner of the Ambassador Bridge, the old train depot in downtown Detroit, the Grosse Ile toll bridge, and most of southeastern Michigan) is the Michigan shipping containor king. Unfortunately, he also values them greatly.

        This is a great idea, and there are ways to deal with windows, plumbing, etc. With the economy in the dumper, we may need to wait awhile before enough containers accumulate, however.

      27. Susan
        Posted January 3, 2009 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        Excellent — and BIG — idea. Maybe the Arts Alliance could adopt this as a sanctioning non-profit. Have seen programs on Container City and thought there was tremendous potential there…and it is inherently green, recycling old scrap as it does.

        If there are legitimate code issues for living spaces, maybe they could be limited to studio space. ‘Tis true that not all artists are starving, but a lot of them have dirty/loud/smelly/large works that don’t make the landlord, the downstairs neighbors or your roommate happy.

      28. Withheld
        Posted January 3, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        I think you could do the same thing (artists’ co-op) in the abandoned warehouse just north of depot town, without the need of storage containers.

      29. Posted January 3, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        “This site has some nice photos but I’m having a hard time finding someplace that will give an estimate of total costs. Closest I’ve found is $108 per square foot…”

        Mostly because it’s not a simple matter. Final building costs are extremely regionally determined, based on weather, availability of materials, costs of local labor, local building standards, taxation, etc. You won’t find anything that will give you a realistic number until you actually sit down with a professional locally and crunch some numbers.

        The people that promote “alternative building methods” are often extremely unrealistic and will grossly underestimate the actual costs of building. As far as the containers go, it’s a cool idea, but don’t expect it to become a cheap project because the containers are cheap. Like I said, the shell of a house is seriously the cheapest part of the whole structure and a steel container is going to require many extra things to make it work.

        You are assuming “green”, but chances are, it’s not going to be any better than building a standard stick-built structure since you are going to have to insulate the shit out of it, which will require you to build interior walls made of, you guessed it, stick. Probably, you will end up paying the same amount of money and use the same amount of materials. Plus, you make the assumption that stick built is NOT green, which is patently false if you get the right materials. There are a lot of options available for not very much money.

        Also, don’t assume that artists get a free ride on building and fire codes. Chances are, since you will be in a commercial zone, everything will be even more strict and cost even more. Residential zones might not even let you do what you want to do.

        I would be very surprised if you were to get this done for $50 – $75 K. In fact, I would wager that it’s impossible. I’ve spent nearly $150 K on my own home and I’m not even done yet, and it’s only 2 bedrooms and nothing fancy.

        I’d like to see it happen, but if you aren’t realistic from the start, then it will never get off the ground at all.

      30. Ol' E Cross
        Posted January 4, 2009 at 12:44 am | Permalink

        Dude, that’s my concern. The hotel on the site I linked to reports to saving 10 percent over traditional construction costs. Not bad, and it recycles, but it doesn’t sound cheap, either.

        The thing I like about it is I’d much rather see something innovative, progressive and contemporary like this on Water Street than a mock historical village.

      31. Posted January 4, 2009 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        “Traditional Construction Costs” is a really vague statement since there are more than a few “traditional” construction methods. This is where the proponents of “alternative” construction lose me. They are stuck in their own propaganda.

        I’m a staunch supporter of all kinds of building, and, honestly, the weirder the better, but I’ve found that there’s no cheap way to build in an urban or semi-urban setting.

        There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Honestly, the more innovative and progressive you get, the more it’s going to cost you. There’s a price to be paid for good ideas.

      32. Old Goat
        Posted January 4, 2009 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        …and an even bigger price for bad ideas!

      33. mark
        Posted January 4, 2009 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

        I recognize that there are serious issues that would need to be worked out regarding utilities, sanitation and the like, and I know that containers aren’t free, but I still think – even after talking to a few friends who are builders – that a small project could be pulled off for $75,000. I’ve got a bunch of other projects cooking at the moment, but, given the positive feedback I’ve gotten on this so far, I intend to dig a little further… I’ll keep you posted.

      34. Ol' E Cross
        Posted January 5, 2009 at 12:27 am | Permalink

        Mark,

        Please keep digging. As an aside, I’ll posit my big idea again (I posted it here some time ago, and no one bit, so I assumed it was dumb).

        One of the many things I find appealing about Ypsi is the intact chronology of architecture. As such, I fantasize about Water St. adding to that. We’ve all been to sculpture gardens (if not, they are places that have sculptures by lots of artists). I think Ypsi would be an ideal place for the world’s first architectural sculpture garden. I imagine 30-100 homes/businesses designed by our generation’s leading architects. Its incoherence would be its coherence. And, it would make the holiday home tours a bit more interesting.

        So. Give the money to some well-connected UM architecture prof and see if he/she can identify and get blueprints from the world’s most significant architects. It’s a bit Epcot, I know, but how nice to add a neighborhood walk that included the best of modern architecture. And, I don’t think it’s been done before.

        I mainly mention it so your idea doesn’t seem so lame…

      35. Old Goat
        Posted January 5, 2009 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        Once again, to build residential housing in the face of a glut of residential space is poor business. The “wonderful” new Peninsular Place Apartments has cause hell with local landlords who now face huge revenue losses due to vacancies. Water Street would do much better to bring in job sustaining industries. That’s one reason why I like the ball-park proposal as it would employ a large number of people across a wide variety of services, from vendors to security to janitors, to media, etc. Would also positively affect the restaurant and hotel business in town. I can’t see this same sort of thing happen with an artists colony.

      36. Posted January 5, 2009 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        This is true, I don’t really see why people are building any new structures right now. There are literally tons of older, empty structures that could be bought cheaply, renewed and used. That seems like the “greenest” option (although “green” appears to be in the eye of the marketing firm).

        However, employing construction contractors, even for a short term, in this economy is helpful. Those guys are completely fucked right now.

      37. Old Goat
        Posted January 5, 2009 at 11:03 am | Permalink

        An artists colony, like a church, is not a collection of buildings. It is a collection of people. What they live in is of little consequence. Their livelihood is what determines their success. Artists need places to live, work and display their work. These places are prevalent in Ypsilanti. The incredible opportunity that Water Street offers Ypsilanti would be squandered on a project that has no need.
        Water Street, as a ballpark could be beautiful and inclusive edition to the entire community. Consider: A wide swath of park-space along the river with sidewalks, gazebos, flower beds, grassy areas, topiary, etc. Cafes, bistros, galleries, shops and display cases would line the edge of the stadium facing the river. Arts, crafts, and farmers market space would be designed in. The parking lot would provide a place for car rallies and shows. RV parking/camping would generate revenue. All that traffic on Michigan Ave. would flock in spend money. “CARS, BEER, BASEBALL and ART. This four punch combination would be a sure hit. Next time I see Mr. Obama (after the inaug.) I’ll ask him if he can spare $50,000,000.00 for the project.

      38. Posted January 5, 2009 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        I love this idea. A big billboard “CARS, BEER, BASEBALL, ART”
        with a french beret wearing guy driving a car, carrying a baseball bat and drinking a beer.

      39. Old Goat
        Posted January 5, 2009 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        “Oui, Oui,” veroom, smack, gulp!

      40. Brackache
        Posted January 5, 2009 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        Waterstreet wants to be a green demolition derby arena so bad, I can taste the flaming vegetable-oil-soaked dirt clods.

      41. Old Goat
        Posted January 5, 2009 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

        …organic soil clods, thank you!

      42. Brackache
        Posted January 5, 2009 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        That would be pretty damn fun though.

      43. Posted January 6, 2009 at 6:31 am | Permalink

        This from boing-boing yesterday: Shantytown, U.S.A.

      44. Dave
        Posted January 7, 2009 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Instead of using the funds for building materials and skilled construction labor, let’s put *all* of it into the local artist’s hands.

        I recently sent Stewart Beal a note about boarding up the windows on the Thomas Building with artfully painted plywood. I had suggested making the Thomas Building look something like this, while it’s under (or not) construction.

        http://www.woostercollective.com/2007/02/12/FULLHOUSE1.jpg

        http://artderailed.com/life/2008/electric_windows.jpg

        http://flickr.com/photos/amyro/2601696420/

        http://flickr.com/photos/amyro/2615805213/

        As I drove about town today, I saw building all over the place that had ulgy plywood boarded up windows; Thomas Building, train depot across the street, gas station on Cross+Adams, store on Washington+Harrett, and many houses.

        So lets get a bucket of cash and make a list of target properties that have or need boarding up. We enlist a group of artist and cut plywood cut-outs that would exactly fit the window openings. Then the artist paint cleaver pictures on the plywood and we board up windows on ugly buildings. The bulk of the funds would go directly to the artist for cutting the plywood, painting, and installed the window coverings, and a small amount would go for the plywood itself.

        The City gains a cleaver way to spruce up our town. The property owners get a more secure prettier building, maybe bringing attention to the building and helping to sell it. Local artist get paying work. We could even make a deal that the City/artist get the window paintings back when the building is renovated. Maybe they could be sold/auctioned
        off to make more funds to do other buildings or to build container cities. ;)

        $50k would board up a lot of windows and give Ypsilanti positive PR and attract more energetic talented people to live here.

      45. Brackache
        Posted January 7, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        Dave: The polkadot guy in Detroit (forgot his name… started with an “H”) had a similar idea, but the city didn’t like it. This was years ago I saw his project, I haven’t kept up with it lately so maybe some things have changed.

      46. galan
        Posted June 8, 2009 at 1:34 am | Permalink

        Dave, I love your idea. I also liked Mark M.’s idea about having local artists and/or high school students do artwork to put in the windows of empty storefronts in all the 8 business districts of town. Did I get your idea right Mark?
        I would like to propose as a big idea a bridge over I-94 connecting Water Works Park to the park on Ford Lake, but build it out of recycled auto frames, doors etc. as a functional piece of sculpture. This idea would actually also work very well for a bridge over the tracks in Depot Town and tie in nicely with the auto museum theme. This is a different approach to the problem presented by the commuter rail project. Perhaps there is arts funding for such a thing instead of trying to find SEMCOG or city money. Another option would be to build the bridges out of old train cars, or the containers Mark was talking about at the beginning of this thread.

      47. tine
        Posted March 31, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        What ever happened to this idea and the money?
        It’s April 2010 now… the thread stopped in 2009..

        Thanks!

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