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Civic Matters: The Ann Arbor Library Lot, Voter Registration History, And The UM Board Of Regents

Jun 18, 2018

Artists rendering of proposed development on Ann Arbor's vacant "Library Lot"
Credit Courtesy Image / Core Spaces

Civic engagement opportunities abound in Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County!  You may weigh in on the proposals of what Ann Arbor should do with the "Library Lot."  This week, you can learn about the University of Michigan's new budget and potential tuition changes.  Those are just a few of the topics covered by WEMU's David Fair and the CivCity Initiative's Mary Morgan in "Civic Matters!" 


Mary Morgan, executive director of the CivCity Initiative in Ann Arbor

Mary Morgan brings a wealth of experience to the airwaves.  While heading up the CivCity Initiative now, Mary was previously co-founder and publisher of the Ann Arbor Chronicle.  Prior to that, she served as a reporter and editor for the Ann Arbor News when it was a daily, print-edition newspaper. 

This Week's Topics: 

• On Wednesday, June 20, the developer Core Spaces is holding a public forum about the proposed 17-story building – The Collective on 5th – that it plans for the Library Lot, a city-owned property on South Fifth Avenue next to the downtown library.  The forum runs from 5:30-7 p.m. at the downtown library's multi-purpose room, 343 S. Fifth Ave.  The development would include a hotel, retail space, and apartments on the upper levels.

• Meanwhile, Monday's Ann Arbor City Council agenda includes a resolution approving ballot language for a citizen-led proposal to designate that same property as an urban park and civic center commons.  The proposal would be on the Nov. 6, 2018 ballot for voters to decide.

• With the July 9 voter registration deadline less than a month away, Washtenaw County Clerk Larry Kestenbaum clarifies how the process works in Michigan.  He also provides some interesting historical context: Voter registration started in Michigan in 1859, apparently as a measure to suppress Irish from voting.  For almost a century, you had to register to vote separately for each election.  When the election was over, all the voter registrations would be discarded.

• In other public meetings, The University of Michigan Board of Regents meets on Thursday, June 21.  Their agenda, which will be posted by noon on Monday, is expected to include a vote on the 2018-19 budget and possible tuition changes.  They're also at a new location – the clubhouse of the UM Golf Course, at 500 E. Stadium Blvd. – while the Michigan Union is being renovated.  The meeting starts at 3 p.m.

• In other education news, the Michigan Dept. of Education is seeking public input on proposed K-12 social studies standards.  You can submit feedback via this online public commentary form, with a deadline of June 30.  The new standards have generated some controversy – check out this Bridge Magazine article for background.


• The Ann Arbor Farmers Market is in full swing on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and many vendors don't take credit cards.  If you don't have cash, you can use your credit card to buy wooden tokens from the market office that vendors accept as cash.  Click here for details.

• Community Television Network and Ann Arbor Commission on Disability Issues are looking for a new host for the Ann Arbor Inclusive series.  The show features interviews on a range of issues that are of interest to the disability community, with an emphasis on raising awareness and education.  Interviews are being held this week – email CTN@a2gov.org if you're interested.

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu