Despite all of the snow this winter, the sidewalks along Main Street in downtown Ann Arbor remained easily passable for pedestrians. That’s thanks in large part to the Main Street Business Improvement Zone, an effort where property owners have voluntarily agreed to pay more taxes for a variety of services.
Ed Shaffran is President of The Shaffran Companies and chairman of the Main Street BIZ. He says next month property owners on some neighboring streets will vote to see if the BIZ will expand.
Shaffran notes snow is completely removed from sidewalks in the BIZ, not simply pushed towards the curb. In addition to removing all of the snow from sidewalks, the Main Street BIZ removes handbills, cleans sidewalks, and helps fund landscaping in planter boxes.
If approved by more than 60 percent of the property owners the expanded BIZ is expected to bring in about 300-thousand dollars in the first year.
Shaffran says thanks to efficient use of funds raised the BIZ was able to handle this winter’s snow removal without collecting the taxes from the winter bill.
The proposed expanded Main Street BIZ boundaries are
- Bounded on the North by the south side of Huron Street from the east side of South Ashley to the west side of South Fifth Avenue.
- Bounded on the East by the west side of South Fifth Avenue from the south side of East Huron to the north side of East Liberty
- Bounded by the north side of East Liberty from the west side of South Fifth Avenue to the west side of South Fourth Avenue
- Bounded by the west side of South Fourth Avenue from the north side of East Liberty to the north side of East William
- Bounded on the South by the north side of East William from the west side of South Fourth Avenue to the east side of South Ashley
- Bounded on the West by the east side of South Ashley from the north side of West William to the south side of West Huron.
— Andrew Cluley is the Ann Arbor beat reporter, and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him firstname.lastname@example.org.