Ypsilanti City Council

6:30 am
Mon July 7, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council To Consider Purchase Agreement For East Side Rec Center

The Water Street Redevelopment Area.
Credit Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Council recently closed on a deal to sell a parcel of Water Street property for a Family Dollar Store, and there's no time to relax before the next proposal lands on council's plate.

A purchase agreement for Washtenaw County's proposed east side rec center is on council's Tuesday night agenda. 

City Planner Teresa Gillotti.

"There will be a public hearing on it," Gillotti says, "and probably a vote on it from city council to potentially accept the offer."

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4:19 am
Tue June 10, 2014

Ypsilanti Fire Department Hopes Grants Will Fund Big Projects

Credit Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange's proposed 2014-15 and 2015-16 budgets include $3 million for the fire department.

Some of that money would be used to repair and department's leaky roof.  The plan is to install solar panels on the roof as the repairs are completed.  It's estimated the panels could save the city $20-thousand a year in electricity costs. 

Grants and other funding will be sought to replace aging extrication gear and buy a new fire truck.

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8:13 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Ypsilanti Council OKs Budget Amendments For Freighthouse, Non-Motorized Projects, Traffic Calming

The Freighthouse in Ypsilanti's Depot Town.
Credit Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Council Tuesday night signed off on a handful of budget amendements that direct funds toward non-motorized plan projects, renovation work at the Freighthouse, and future traffic calming projects.

Council member Pete Murdock says the $220,000 for the Freighthouse will go toward upgrading mechanical systems. 

Other amendments include spending $100,000 over the next two budget years on non-motorized projects like the Border-to-Border Trail and a mid-block pedestrian crossing on Michigan Avenue near Water Street. 

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8:33 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Ypsilanti Budget Focuses On Public Safety, Economic Development

Credit Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange wants to bolster the city's police and fire ranks, and dedicate more of his time to economic development.

Those needs are reflected in the two-year city budget Lange has presented to City Council which, having concluded a pair of budget sessions, will now fine-tune the spending plan. 

Lange wants to give his assistant some of his duties - along with a $10,000 pay raise - and spend $55,000 to hire another city planner so that he and planner Teresa Gillotti can focus on economic development. 

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8:44 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Smooth Sailing On Ypsilanti Budget Front Thus Far

Credit Bob Eccles

The process of approving the city of Ypsilanti's next budget has been sailing along more smoothly than anyone can remember.

That's according to Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson, who says city department heads are aware of the city's financial situation, and have crafted their budgets accordingly. 

She says the city may not be where it wants to be, but Ypsilanti is generally doing well. 

City Council has another budget session scheduled for May 22nd, but since the process has been moving along so smoothly, that session may not be needed.

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7:30 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Pierce Withdraws From Ward One Ypsilanti Council Race

Steve Pierce.
Credit twitter.com

Ypsilanti businessman Steve Pierce has withdrawn from the race to represent Ward One on Ypsilanti city council.

Pierce says he filed essentially just to make sure there was a name on the ballot.  Incumbent council member Ricky Jefferson announced he wasn't running again just days before the filing deadline. 

Pierce withdrew to clear the way for the other person who filed on time - Nicole Brown - to run.

"I think she's going to do a fabulous job in representing Ward One," Pierce says, "so I'm looking forward to having her as my next  city council member."

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8:22 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

2014 Ypsilanti Heritage Festival Loses, Adds Attractions

Ypsilanti Heritage Festival board chair David Nickerson addresses Ypsilanti City Council in early December, 2013.
Credit Bob Eccles

This year's Ypsilanti Heritage Festival will look as bit different than in past years, as new attractions are added and others decide to strike out on their own.

Among the elements that won't be part of the festival this year is Chautauqua at the Riverside, which is moving to October this year. 

David Nickerson is chair of the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival board.

"With that being primarily presented at Riverside Arts, especially this last year we noticed that people weren't necessarily flowing up out of the park and to that event and to the venue," Nickerson says.

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4:46 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Three Candidates Seeking To Be Ypsilanti's Next Mayor

Credit City of Ypsilanti

The Ypsilanti Mayoral race has become a little more crowded.  

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5:24 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Ypsilanti Council Members Robb, Vogt Turn In Nominating Petitions

Credit Bob Eccles

The last two Ypsilanti City Council members whose terms expire in November have submitted petition signatures to run for re-election.

City Clerk Frances McMullen says Brian Robb and Daniel Vogt submitted signatures.  Robb represents Ypsilanti's 2nd ward, while Vogt represents Ward 3. 

McMullen says a couple of people have also taken out petitions to try and get on the ballot to run for Ricky Jefferson's seat on council.  The Ward One representative announced last week he won't seek re-election when his term expires in November. 

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7:08 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Ricky Jefferson Will Not Seek Re-Election To Ypsilanti City Council

Ypsilanti City Council member Ricky Jefferson.
Credit LinkedIn.com

Ypsilanti City Council member Ricky Jefferson says he will not seek re-election.

Jefferson has represented Ward One since winning election in 2010, and told WEMU news earlier this month that he was interested in another term.

In a statement to supporters, neighbors and business owners, Jefferson said he has pondered the decision for months with his wife, his Pastor and his advisors, and came to the conclusion that "this is the best decision for my family, my supporters and me."

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3:04 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council Member Pete Murdock Running For Mayor

Ypsilanti city council member and mayoral candidate Pete Murdock.
Credit Pete Murdock

Ypsilanti City Council member Pete Murdock says he's filed nominating petitions to run for Mayor.

Murdock says Ypsilanti has done a lot to "right its ship", and he'd like to help maintain that direction.

"We've done a lot of things financially and things are looking a little better than they were four years ago, six years ago," Murdock says. "I think I have the experience and knowledge to provide that leadership."

Murdock says public safety and economic development will continue to be big issues, and he's hopeful the AAATA transit millage will pass next month.

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2:34 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Ypsilanti Residents Glad Road Repairs Are Coming

Prospect Road across from Prospect Park.
Credit Bob Eccles

People who live and work along Prospect Road in Ypsilanti are glad to hear the city has approved spending some money to patch up the road and improve driving conditions until the road is completely re-built next year.

Jim Mufarreh owns Prospect Party Store at Prospect and Forest.

"Long time coming," Mufarreh says. "It's well-needed. It's terrible out there. It's a terrible road. It's been needed for years."

Mark Naess lives in the area, and he says the road is almost undriveable.

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1:04 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council To Consider Funding Road Repairs

Ypsilanti City Council tonight is expected to consider a resolution to spend $249,000 to fix some of the city's worst roads. 

Council member Ricky Jefferson says the city has already had to pay on a couple of claims of bent wheel rims, and the problem is only going to get worse if it's not addressed.

The resolution up for council's consideration would target four specific sections of city streets:

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2:32 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Ricky Jefferson, Daniel Vogt Seeking Re-Election To Ypsilanti City Council

Ypsilanti City Council member Ricky Jefferson
Credit LinkedIn

The terms of three Ypsilanti city council members expire in November, and at least two of them are seeking re-election.

Ricky Jefferson represents the city's first ward, and he tells WEMU news he'd like another term in office.

Daniel Vogt represents ward two. He says he'll file for re-election soon.

Council member Brian Robb's term also ends in November. He hasn't indicated whether he'll seek re-election. 

Mayor Paul Schreiber won't seek another term, and Growing Hope executive director Amanda Edmonds is running to take his place. 

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11:57 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council Approves Same-Sex Marriage Resolution, Park Improvements

Prospect Park basketball court
Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Council Tuesday night adopted a resolution asking the state to withdraw its appeal of the federal court ruling that says Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.

The vote was six to one, with  Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson voting "no", arguing that the issue should be allowed to finish its journey through the court system.

The resolution will be forwarded to Governor Rick Snyder and Attorney General Bill Schuette.

City Council also approved improvements at two city parks requested by council members Brian Robb and Pete Murdock.

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8:27 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Water Street Development Plans Coming Along

River Street entrance to the Water Street redevelopment area.
Credit Bob Eccles

Interest in Ypsilanti's Water Street redevelopment area continues to grow, as the three projects currently proposed  make their way through the process.

City Planner Teresa Gillotti says most of the interest lately is from residential developers. 

She says the Family Dollar store is close to closing, with construction beginning in April or May.  The Water Street Flats developer finds out in July whether they've received the state tax credits needed to move forward.  And a purchase agreement for the Washtenaw County Recreation Center is expected in the next month or so.

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2:39 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Next Step for Thompson Block: Brownfield Tax Credits

Credit Bob Eccles

Developers of the Thompson Block in Ypsilanti's Depot Town have secured a 12-year Obsolete Property Rehiabilitation Act tax credit from city council.

Project partner Tyler Weston said the city also approved a Brownfield plan for the project, so the next step is to ask Washtenaw County for Brownfield tax credits.

"What Brownfield allows us to do is essentially get paid back for site improvements at the property" Weston explained.  He said those improvements include things like added parking space and structural improvements to the building.

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10:58 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Thompson Block Developers Secure First Commercial Tenant Letter of Intent

The Thompson Block in Ypsilanti's Depot Town
Credit Bob Eccles

With developers of the Thompson Block securing their first commercial letter of intent, City Council tonight will consider a tax exemption to help move redevelopment of the property forward.

Thompson Block partner Tyler Weston says a local restaurant entrepreneur has taken the first step toward becoming a tenant, and a coffee shop has also expressed interest. 

Weston says the development plan has improved greatly since he came on board a year ago, with parking space now included for commercial and residential tenants, along with patio space for commercial tenants.

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11:18 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council Approves Water Street Flats Purchase Agreement

City Planner Teresa Gillotti updates Ypsilanti City Council on Water Street Flats proposal.
Credit Bob Eccles

Ypsilanti City Council Tuesday night voted 4-3 to approve a purchase agreement for the Water Street Flats affordable housing proposal. 

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7:33 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Downtown Ypsilanti Businesses Split on Water Street Flats Proposal

The Water Street Redevelopment area lies beneath a blanket of snow off Michigan Avenue.
Credit Bob Eccles

As Ypsilanti City Council prepares to vote on a purchase agreement for the Water Street Flats affordable housing proposal, downtown businesses are sounding off on the project.



Business owners have been portrayed as being united in opposition to it, but an informal survey shows most like the idea or don't really have an opinion.  

Of the 13 businesses WEMU news asked, four said they support Water Street Flats, two are opposed and seven didn't feel strongly either way. 

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12:10 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Residents Continue to Raise Concerns over Water Street Flats Proposal

Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange (l) and Mayor Paul Schreiber view a presentation on the Water Street Flats proposal.
Credit Bob Eccles / 89.1 WEMU

If Ypsilanti city staff had hoped to convince Sandy Ellinger that the proposed Water Street Flats affordable housing proposal is a good idea, they were not successful.

WEMU's Bob Eccles reports.

Ellinger wasn't for or against the proposal when she came to Tuesday night's City Council workshop on the project, but at the end of the meeting she said if it were up to a vote of the people, she'd vote "no".

Ellinger said she had concerns that the city was going to be "left holding the bag" if the proposal doesn't work out, and she said the appearance of the building was also worrisome. 

The city plans to sell a 3.14 acre parcel of land on the southern edge of the Water Street Redevelopment Area to a developer who would build a four-story, 90-unit apartment building there. 

Everyone who spoke on the subject during the public comment period last night had concerns, which you can listen to below. 

City Council is expected to consider a purchase agreement for the project at its March 4th meeting.

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12:02 am
Wed February 19, 2014

City of Ypsilanti to Convert Old Lights and Fixtures

Ypsilanti City Council has approved replacing old lights and fixtures in city buildings and parking lots with more energy-efficient LED lights.  

Changing the lights in City Hall, the police and fire departments and their adjoining parking lots is expected to cost $48,000, but will save the city between $8,000 and $12,000 a year in energy costs and about $8,000 a year in labor costs.  

Rebates from D-T-E will save the city an additional $3,000 to $4,000 a year.

12:00 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council Won't Consider Surveillance Camera Policy

Ypsilanti City Council won't be considering the issue of surveillance cameras in public places - at least not for now.  

City Manager Ralph Lange asked council whether they'd like him to start working on a policy that would cover cameras in areas where crime has been a concern, like along LeForge Road.  

The cameras would supplement surveillance equipment being installed by apartment complexes in the area.  

Mayor Paul Schreiber and council member Pete Murdock said they were skeptical of the effectiveness of cameras in fighting crime.

11:58 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council votes down Special Events Policy

Ypsilanti City Council Tuesday night voted down a Special Events Policy designed to go after fees and charges the city hasn't been collecting.  

In voting "no", council member Brian Robb said if the city hasn't been collecting the fees, maybe it doesn't need to.  

Mayor Paul Schreiber said he didn't think the public has had enough time to examine changes in the policy, which is available on the city's website.  

The policy will likely be back before city council at its first meeting in March.

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8:09 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Ypsilanti City Council approves Speed Humps For Three Residential Streets Near Prospect Road

Ypsilanti City Council Tuesday night approved the installation of speed humps on several residential streets near Prospect Road, streets that neighbors say drivers use to avoid Prospect, which is in bad shape and scheduled for re-construction. 

Several residents of Dwight Street spoke in favor of the temporary speed humps, which would be placed on Dwight, Hemphill and Stanley.  The speed humps – on in each block, for a total of six – will cost the city $18,000

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