What single thing has had the biggest positive impact on Ypsilanti since 2000


I know it’s a difficult thing to quantify, but, this afternoon, while cleaning house, I started thinking about all of the positive things to have happened in Ypsi since I moved back in 2000, and whether or not I could make the case that one of them was more impactful than the rest. “When you get right down to it,” I wondered, “what was it that started Ypsilanti moving in the positive direction we see it heading today?” …And I should mention that I know this is an impossible task. I know that it wasn’t one thing that brought us the increasingly vibrant arts scene we enjoy today, or the rising tide of food entrepreneurship, or the fact that more people seem to be walking around downtown. And I also know that, to a great extent, any positive movement we’re seeing can largely be traced back to rising property values in Ann Arbor, which are driving young families and artists to Ypsilanti in unprecedented numbers. Still, though, I think it’s worthwhile to reflect on the positive things that have happened over the last 15 years, and discuss what kind of impact that each of them might have had, either directly or indirectly… “Did the Shadow Art Fair make people in the region start to see Ypsilanti as a viable, welcoming home for artists? Would the Shadow Art Fair have happened if not for the opening of the Corner Brewery? And, does the impact of either of these developments pale in comparison to our community’s successful fight against the likes of Tom Monaghan to pass and preserve a civil rights ordinance that demonstrates our shared values?” The more I run through things like this in my head, the more I appreciate this City of ours, and, with that in mind, I thought that I’d ask all of you to join me.

What follows are a few dozen positive events that have transpired in Ypsilanti since 2000. They were contributed from folks on Facebook who I ran this idea by… If you’re up for it, I’d like for you to vote on which of these, in your mind, is the most responsible for the current state of awesomeness in Ypsilanti… And, yes, I know I’ve probably left a few things off the list that should be on it. I’m sorry about that. I tried my hardest, though. And, as I mentioned, I did my best to query others who live here. If you feel really strongly that the most impactful thing to have happened isn’t listed here, though, please add it. And, if you’d like to make your case in the comments section, that would be cool too. The important thing, I think, is that we all spend some time thinking about how all of these developments link together and contribute toward the betterment of our community… And, lastly, I’m sorry to put you in this spot. I know it’s not easy to cast just one vote.

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  1. Posted June 14, 2015 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Also, if I did this right, the list will come up in a different order ever time the page is loaded. So it’s not like I’m favoring the the ones you see listed at the top.

  2. Posted June 14, 2015 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    Also, I should mention that I know it’s kind of weird voting on something like this. A lot of these things are good, and, just because something doesn’t get a vote doesn’t mean that it’s not significant. I think, however, the good of having this conversation outweighs the bad. It’s just awesome to see this list and to think about how each of these things has positively impacted the community in which we live.

  3. LAKE
    Posted June 14, 2015 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Uh, hopefully people are only voting once. I admIt, I voted twice, but not for the same choice.

  4. Posted June 15, 2015 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    There is nothing like

    “Ann Arbor continuing to be awful”

    “Everything bad that happened to Ann Arbor since 2000”

    “Ypsilanti still not being Ann Arbor, but Ann Arbor continuing to provide employment opportunities”

    “Ann Arbor’s low unemployment rate and stable real estate prices following the crash of 2007-08

  5. Jody
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 3:48 am | Permalink

    I voted twice too. But for the same thing, more or less. I wrote in Tom Monaghan being defeated trying to overturn anti-discrimination, and then I voted for the civil rights ordinance

  6. Murph
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    Pete, you forgot “people giving Ypsi a chance because ann arbor was getting too expensive.”

  7. Murph
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Also, nothing about EMU on this list. A mixed bag, to be sure, but campus attitudes towards town seem to have changed in this time. Increasing enrollment under Pres. Martin plus more on-campus living plus a less fearful approach to the surrounding community has been positive.

  8. ERC
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    I’ve now voted and seen the results. The opening of Beezy’s and the saving of Rutherford Pool are tied.

  9. K2
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    The Corner Brewery is stuffing the ballot box.

  10. Posted June 15, 2015 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    I voted for Mark’s website (and nominated it on FB). He has done a great job of creating community here, and also spawning real life friendships and meetings (see: Mary D and me in the restroom at the Corner). That is not easy. I comment on several websites, and this one has the most “community” feel to it IMO. And you all are very nice to me (usually) even though I am a huge Ann Arbor cheerleader :) :)

  11. Anonymous
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I voted for the Shsdow Art Fair as it led either directly or indirectly to the resurgence of the local art scene. Beezy’s would have been my second choice.

  12. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Did “wireless ypsi” ever come to fruition? It sounded like a great thing to me, although I never used it.

  13. G.L.
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I like what they’re doing at Chin-Azzaro, and I think that it’s great that we have a real downtown gallery space, but I don’t understand how they are tied for first place. Can someone who voted for them please explain the impact they’ve had since opening?

  14. Kjc
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Voting for things like this sucks.

  15. Mikeyb64
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Can someone fill me in on the Ypsi porn shop history?

  16. Erin S
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    So difficult! I could pick 5-10 things that are significant to me and make Ypsilanti the place I love to call home.

  17. Ted
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know the entire porn shop history, and I don’t think it’s something that they keep record of at the historic archives. There were several places downtown, though. Michigan Ave. Cross Street. The Velvet Touch outside of town. They’re all gone now except for DejaVu. The city cracked down and ran them out of business. Teams of men in hazmat suits went in and pulled out all of the semen soaked carpet.

  18. wobblie
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    I think that the fight over the civil rights ordinance and the victory of the people over the right wing plutocrat is the most important thing Ypsilanti has done in recent times. No clearer message that we welcomed diversity could have been sent. The consequences for the city are obvious. Everything else on the list flows from that decision.

  19. wobblie
    Posted June 15, 2015 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    getting rid of Kirtcher has done more to transform my neighborhood than anything else.

  20. Jeff
    Posted June 16, 2015 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    After their endorsement of Snyder and the expose in the Metro Times, how is it that the Corner Brewery still has so much support in Ypsilanti?

  21. Frosted Flakes
    Posted June 16, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Bars are a socially accepted place to feed addiction. It is a formula that is almost impossible to screw up. The most influential place is the place with the most beer.

  22. maryd
    Posted June 16, 2015 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    The Corner has created a strong community space. Most of us in Ypsi go everywhere, but this space is special.

  23. Bee Roll
    Posted June 16, 2015 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I think it’s bad ass that us third space type places mean so much to Ypsi!! It really is cool and there’s so much room for that to grow and be more awesome- but I didn’t vote for me. Looking at the list I think about something new every time. Krampus!! I can’t remember what I voted for because there were 7 things my eyes and heart had an immediate reaction to.

    Water street commons is so special too.

    I love that there’s this focus on good stuff.

  24. For your consideration
    Posted June 16, 2015 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Beezy’s is more than a “third place”. It’s the home of 826 in Ypsilanti. It hosts shows. It feeds kids at Ozone House. While other restaurants might be great, I’d argue that the impact of Beezy’s is greater. Would Bee have come to the area if not for Zingreman’s though? Would she have chosen to settle in Ypsi if not for MarkMaynard.com and the Elbow Room? Would she be able to stay in business without the people brought to town and kept in town by the downtown lofts, Spur, etc.? Would Spur have existed without the Shadow Art Fair? Choosing one is impossible.

  25. Lynne
    Posted June 16, 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    The catfish and grits at Bona Sera have changed my life so I voted for them. However, there were a lot of other good choices on that list! Ypsilanti is alright!

  26. Steve Pickard
    Posted June 16, 2015 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I talked alot of trash during Fly to India-Gate, but I ended up voting for Corner.

  27. Pocket Beaver
    Posted June 16, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    The Shadow Art Fair is the first thing that made my non-Ypsi friends actually want to visit Ypsi. SAF (along with the Corner Brewery) was a kind of a turning point where many people I know started to realize that interesting things were happening here.

  28. Teresa Gillotti
    Posted June 19, 2015 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    Rehabbing the 144 old Parkview apartments into Hamilton Crossing with support services built in for half the residents, has been transformative.

    Upcoming rehab to most of the Ypsi Housing Commisssion units this year will also be big for many southside neighborhoods.

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