College educated millennials have changed the key to economic development by choosing the location they want to live and then finding a job rather than going where they find a job. That's the message the President of Michigan Future shared with Ann Arbor City Council Monday night at a work session on the community's economic health.
Lou Glazer says to attract a larger number of these talented young workers that will then attract businesses the city needs to focus on several issues. He says this includes high density downtown neighborhoods that are active 24 hours a day and are connected to more public transit options.
Glazer says the number of college educated 25 to 34 year olds has grown by 17 percent across the country since 2005, but has remained constant in Ann Arbor at 16-thousand. He says Ann Arbor's economic development efforts should match Chicago in being focused on attracting every graduate of all the Big Ten Universities.
He says state policies that have lowered taxes and focused on businesses have hurt efforts to improve the quality of place and fund education which are the keys to attracting young talented people.
A quintessential college town, Ann Arbor, and its South Main Street reflect a vibrant culture. The city offers something for visitors of all ages, from hands-on museums with interactive exhibits, to colorful bars and restaurants. Enjoy acoustic music at The Ark, a nonprofit venue that features performances from renowned folk performers. Choosing just one of South Main Street’s restaurants might seem like a herculean task, but a good option is The Ravens Club. The kitchen and bar offers seasonal farm-to-table cuisine and a cocktail menu with an impressive collection of whiskey.
Friendly neighbors, family-run businesses, and quaint restaurants serving comforting diner fare--these are the images conjured up by the phrase "Main Street USA." Even in this fast-paced era, many small towns have held onto their historic roots and preserved their central thoroughfares.
The DDA has now hired Carl Walker for preliminary design, schedule, budget and phasing plan for replacing the southwest tower of the Fourth and William Parking Structure.
DDA Executive Director, Susan Pollay says the goal will be to have a more efficient and attractive elevator and stairs tower. She says the challenge will be to ensure two elevators and stairs remain open throughout the construction project.
Pollay says the tower improvements are expected to be only the first upgrades to the structure. Others may include incubator space on the ground floor, adding electric vehicle charging stations, and a new facade for the structure.
Update 12:05 pm: 10 hours and counting. That's how long firefighters have been combating the downtown blaze at Happy's Pizza, starting shortly before 2 am this morning. The fire is still burning at this hour. As a result, Main Street from Packard to Hoover in Ann Arbor is closed due to the fire. The building is said to be a a total loss. So far, no injuries have been reported.
An eye witness view of the scene is available here:
WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Ann Arbor's new policy to charge developers if their project results in parking meters being permanently removed.
With over 100 on-street parking meters removed in Ann Arbor since 2006 and an additional 12 meters pending, city council has approved a new policy dealing with the issue. Council Monday night approved the policy that would charge developers $45,000 per meter permanently removed plus the projected ten year value for the meter.
All Non-Essential Washtenaw County Government Operations and Buildings are closed.
Pittsfield Township Government offices are closed.
Ypsilanti Township government offices and the 14-B District court are closed. People with scheduled court appearances should contact the court on Tuesday.
The 15th District Court in Ann Arbor is closed and those scheduled to appear at Court today will be contacted by Court representatives to reschedule.
The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education meeting scheduled for tonight has been canceled.
The Ann Arbor Housing Commission is closed
The Ann Arbor and the Monroe Social Security Administration offices are closed
The Ann Arbor Hands on Museum is closed.
Garbage and recycling will be delayed by a day for Pittsfield Township residents.
The Ann Arbor District Library will open at noon today.
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System is urging all patients who have non-urgent appointments at any of our hospitals and outpatient care centers to stay home. Contact your care provider to cancel your appointment and reschedule for a later date. The Michigan Heart offices are closed through noon today. Radiation Oncology for outpatient services are closed for the day. Most other offices as well as St. Joe's emergency departments will remain open.
The U of M Health System says it will keep all of its hospitals and outpatient care centers open.
More than 105,000 tickets were pre-sold to this afternoon's outdoor hockey game between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs at Michigan Stadium. It's billed as the Winter Classic. Ironically, winter weather may keep a number of fans at home today.
Over 100,000 hockey fans are expected for the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on New Year's Day when the Detroit Red Wings take on the Toronto Maple Leafs. Plenty of excitement is also scheduled in Ann Arbor leading up to the New Year and the big game.
While Ann Arbor is often a sleepy town New Year's Day, the Winter Classic game at Michigan Stadium is bringing thousands to the city. This has many restaurants and businesses that would typically remain closed planning to be open January 1st.
There also are some extra events scheduled on New Year's Eve.
Main Street will be closed all day December 31st, from Huron to William in preparation for the Puck Drops Here event. The event starts at 8pm when a 10 foot wide metal Hockey puck that will be dropped at midnight is lit. There will also be live music from eight until two, including former Ann Arbor resident, Michelle Chamuel who appeared on The Voice.
Earlier in the day Noon Year's Eve events are planned at the Farmers Market and Briarwood Mall so kids can celebrate the New Year's without staying up until midnight.
School Board President Deb Mexicotte says the new rules will put some limits on what is available, but doesn't eliminate all snacks. Mexicotte adds, that it doesn't affect food brought to school by students or parents. The new rules also end 30 minutes after the school day so concession stands at evening events don't have to adhere to the guidelines.
Mexicotte believes the school stores, vending machines and fundraising efforts will face the biggest challenge from the new rules. She says Chartwells has been planning for the new requirements for some time so the food available in cafeterias should be able to meet the new rules.
While students are out of the classroom for the winter break, Ann Arbor Public Schools Superintendent Jeanice Swift is working on a report from her four months long Listen and Learn Tour.
Swift attended about 90 meetings including one in every school in the district to get feedback on the common themes and patterns that are concerning the district. Swift says her report should serve as a good outline of issues that the district needs to tackle.
Swift says she expects about a half dozen issues the district will be able to tackle immediately, while many others may take years to fully address.
Swift says the Listen and Learn tour also served as a valuable way for her to get to know about the unique story behind each neighborhood school.
— Andrew Cluley is a reporter and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him aCluley@emich.edu.
WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on the success of Ann Arbor's Bike House that opened in the Maynard Street Parking Structure earlier this year.
The success of Ann Arbor's bike house inside the Maynard Street Parking Structure has officials with the Downtown Development Authority and the Get Downtown Program considering putting another one in other parking structures.
The enclosed and covered bike house opened in May with space for 30 bikes in what had been two parking spaces.
GetDowntown Program Director, Nancy Shore says the feedback they've gotten from users of the bike house is that it's another valuable option to get to work. She adds that they've also heard that some people that occasionally used a bike to get to work are doing so more frequently now that they have a safe place to store their bike out of the elements.
Shore says the bike house gets the most use from nine-to-five, primarily from people who work in the State Street area.
Ypsilanti's Corner Brewery is now Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery.
Arbor Brewing Company co-owner Renee Greff says the name change came about out of concerns raised by the former Corner Brewery's general manager that the business wasn't getting the benefit of the Arbor Brewing Company brand.
Greff says not everyone knows that Arbor Brewing Company's beer is made at the Ypsilanti location.
She says new logos were designed, and word of the name change was spread through the Arbor Brewing Company blog and Facebook page.
The Ann Arbor School Board hopes to find alternative options to make the district's high schools even better for a broader range of students. A group of high school leaders have studied more than a half dozen programs including magnet schools, blended classes, new technology programs, and others. They plan on presenting the school board with two or three concrete program ideas in January or February.
School Board president Deb Mexicotte says they hope the upcoming election year could help make some additional high school options possible thanks to additional funding.
Superintendent Jeanice Swift says there are some common themes of more personalized learning approaches and choices in all of the programs reviewed. She says the goal will be to find options that balance increased costs with attracting additional students.
The City of Ann Arbor lost 100 units of low-income housing when they had to close the former YMCA building. Now that the property at 350 South Fifth Avenue is about to be sold the city’s affordable housing will get almost $1.4 million.
City Council Monday night voted to put all of the revenue from the sale of the property to affordable housing after covering the initial purchase price, closing and broker fees.
Mayor John Hieftje explains that some of the funds could be used to provide some important services to help keep tenants in Miller Manor. Hieftje adds that the city has made real progress in finding funds for affordable housing in the last year.
The sale of the Y-Lot to Dennis Dahlmann is expected to close by the end of March.
Ann Arbor City Council has once more postponed a decision on a policy to charge developers for the removal of on-street parking meters. Some fine tuning is expected before council votes on a policy to charge developers $45,000 if their project leads to the removal of on-street parking meters. The proposed policy was developed by the Downtown Development Authority in response to a growing number of parking meters being removed.
Among the most debated issues in Ann Arbor and the Southeast Michigan region, is the matter of public transportation. What should we be working towards, what should public transit of the future look like, what elements should it contain….and of course: how do we pay for it all? These are questions debated on a regular basis at Ann Arbor City Council, and our guest this morning is in the middle of all of it. John Hieftje is the Mayor of Ann Arbor.
Early next year Ann Arbor Public Schools will have a better idea on how effective and efficient their behind the scenes business practices are.
The School Board last night unanimously approved a contract for up to $45,000 with Plante Moran for the audit.
Superintendent Jeanice Swift says since the board originally budgeted up to $80,000 for the audit they will be able to dig deeper into issues raised from the review or other sources. Swift says the audit, her Listen and Learn report, and a benchmark study comparing the district to six similar districts should all be completed in late January or early February. She says this will give the district a good 360 degree look at the health and overall function of the district.