Water Street Family Dollar Sign Crisis Averted

Oct 17, 2013

The crisis that could have derailed plans for a Family Dollar store in the Water Street Re-Development Area has been averted.

City Council on Tuesday approved a development plan for the store that removed a provision to allow a so-called monument sign on the property – something a representative of the developer suggested could be a deal-breaker. 

Action taken by Ypsilanti City Council last night may put the Family Dollar store planned for Water Street in jeopardy.  WEMU's Bob Eccles has the story. 

Water Street Re-Development Area Update

Oct 16, 2013

Ypsilanti has been getting a few nibbles from developers interested in the Water Street Re-Development Area. Discussions are in the very early stages, but Ypsilanti has been seeing a lot more interest in the Water Street Re-Development Area over the past six months.

City Planner Teresa Gillotti says there's been a lot more interest over the past six months.  Gillotti explains that developers interested in building a variety of housing types have been in contact with her office.

Gillotti adds that they've also been reaching out to grocery stores, since many of the comments gathered during the ShapeYpsi planning process indicated an interest for a larger, more traditional grocery store in the downtown area.  Aside from the Family Dollar and Recreation Center proposals, Gillotti says everything else is in the very early discussion stage. Gillotti says aside from the Family Dollar and Recreation Center proposals, other talks are in the very early stages, but she's hopeful it won't be long before firm proposals can be brought to city council for consideration.

Ypsi Police Chief Hiring Process Moving Forward

Oct 10, 2013

The process of finding Ypsilanti's next Chief of Police is moving forward, with the application period closing Monday. WEMU's Bob Eccles has more.

The Ypsilanti Community Schools Board of Education last night approved replacing the alarm systems in several district buildings.  Superintendent Scott Menzel maintains that most of the new systems are being installed in former Willow Run school district buildings.

Bob Eccles has the full story:

National Solar Tour comes to Ypsi This Weekend

Oct 4, 2013

The National Solar Tour is coming to Ypsilanti this weekend.

You'll be able to visit nearly a dozen buildings - including a few homes - that have solar panels, and learn about solar energy at each site.

The event is organized by SolarYpsi. Founder Dave Strenski says says the sites on the tour will include the Corner Brewery, the Ypsilanti Food Co-op, Adams STEM Academy, and City Hall.

The tour runs from 10am to 4pm Saturday.  For a complete list of tour sites or more information visit SolarYpsi.org.


Ypsilanti Firefighters Contract Approved

Oct 2, 2013
City of Ypsilanti

The president of Ypsilanti's fire fighters union says with last night's City Council approval of a new contract, the proposed Public Service Officer model is dead.  

WEMU's Bob Eccles has the story:

meltedplastic / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

The City of Ypsilanti is getting rid of it's old mercury-vapor streetlights in favor of new and more energy-efficient LED models. 

In this week's installment of Issues of the environment, WEMU's David Fair talks with Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber about the financial and environmental impacts of the switch.

Ypsilanti Council Approves Street Light Conversion Fee

Sep 19, 2013
meltedplastic / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Ypsilanti land owners will soon be paying more money for street lighting.  The money will be used to help pay for 500 new LED streetlights through out the city, though 

  Ypsilanti already has around 300 LED streetlights. 

The Ypsilanti City Council approved a special assessment fee at this week's  meeting that will charge residents around $120 over the next two years for each parcel of land they own. The city will replace older sodium and mercury-vapor lights with more efficient, longer-lasting LEDs.

Ypsilanti Police Chief Amy Walker is retiring. 

Walker's October retirement was announced today, and follows more than twenty years of service to the city. 

Ypsilanti Township Votes to Join AAATA

Sep 9, 2013
Bob Eccles

The Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees Monday night voted to seek membership in the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority. WEMU's Bob Eccles has the story.

Last year at this time, the football teams for the Ypsilanti and Willow Run School Districts were preparing to open separate football seasons. Now, the districts have consolidated.

WEMU's Bob Eccles reports, the newly-formed Ypsilanti Community Schools will field its first ever football team tonight as the Grizzlies host the Milan Big Reds. 

Bob Eccles

As marchers descend on Washington, D.C. this weekend to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic civil rights march, Ypsilanti Mayor Pro Tem Lois Richardson is among them.

WEMU's Bob Eccles has the story.

Bob Eccles

The national spotlight will be shining on a fixture of our local restaurant scene this weekend, as Haab's is featured on the QVC Network. 

WEMU's Bob Eccles has the story:

Ypsilanti City Council has voted unanimously to have the city Assessor create a tax roll for the city-wide Streetlight Special Assessment District, and to file the roll for public examination. 

The cost of replacing streetlights with more efficient LEDs will be covered by the $58 every parcel of city land would pay each year for two years.  That's a big change from the original proposal, which had residents paying for the replacement and operation of the lights for the next 18-years. 

Bob Eccles

It may not be terribly exciting, but tonight's agenda for the Ypsilanti Community schools Board of Education includes some items important to helping the newly-formed district get the school year started on the right foot.  

WEMU's Bob Eccles provides a preview of tonight's session:

Library of Congress

The annual Ypsilanti Heritage Festival kicks-off on Friday and the celebration will run through the weekend.  It's a perfect time to take a look back at some of the elements that have helped create the identity of this Washtenaw County community.


The city of Ypsilanti is seeking public comment on its draft 2013-2018 Parks and Recreation Plan.  WEMU's Bob Eccles spoke with City Planner Bonnie Wessler about it.

View the plan here

The Washtenaw County budget is in much better shape through the second fiscal quarter than originally projected.

As WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports, the question now under debate is how best to use the additional money.

Domestic partners of Ypsilanti city employees will soon have the right to the same benefits that spouses of  of city workers enjoy. WEMU's Bob Eccles has the details in the report below.

“Caveman Chuck” Coker / Foter.com / CC BY-ND

Ypsilanti City Council has voted to limit the number of medical marijuana licenses it accepts or renews in a given year. The second and final reading of an ordinance to that effect was approved Tuesday night.

Residents voiced their objections to the Ypsilanti's plan to charge land owners a fee to replace the some of the city's street lights with new LED models at Tuesday night's city council meeting.

Under the proposal, each parcel of land was to be charged a $98 fee for the first year, with the fee steadily declining over the following years to around $70 by 2031.  AnnArbor.com says council amended the proposal so that residents would not have to pay to power the streetlights during that period, and instead would pay about $58 a year for just two years.

The most commonly-voiced objections to the plan included its cost, the perceived value attained from the switch, and having to pay an additional fee for something that has previously been payed for by property taxes.

Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange says the city has worked hard to make the project as affordable as possible. 

The cost over converting older, less efficient streetlights to LED's over the 2013-14 and 2014-15 fiscal years is estimated at over $555,000.   Converting the lights is expected to save the city over $100,000 a year.

Public discussion about the street lights will continue at the at the next council meeting, scheduled for August 20.

Growing Hope/Facebok

The City of Ypsilanti continues to explore how best to incorporate urban farming into it's vision for the future. 

In this week's installment of  WEMU's  Issues of the Environment David Fair talks with Amanda Edmonds. Amanda is the executive Director of Ypsilanti-based, Growing Hope.

It took years for Ypsilanti Township officials to get a local housing complex declared a public nuisance, but only a few minutes for heavy machinery to bring down the first apartment.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley files this report on the start of demolition at the Liberty Square development on Grove Road.

Ypsilanti Township's blight busters team started legal proceedings against the owners of the Liberty Square  development in 2010. the physical condition of the complex was in bad shape and deteriorating rapidly.

Additionally, the Washtenaw county Sheriff's Department was spending a lot of time in the complex, combating illegal activity. Demolition work began Monday on the 21 acre, 17 building complex on Grove near the I-94-Rawsonville Road interchange.

Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo says the demolition should serve as a reminder to other property owners that Ypsilanti Township won't tolerate blighted properties. Demolition of the entire complex is expected to take about three months.

As far as elections go, today is going to be a light day in Washtenaw County.

Ypsilanti Township has four tax questions on the ballot.

  1. Proposition "A" would generate revenues to replace some of the fire service revenues lost due to decrease in property values.
  2. Proposition "B" would generate revenues to replace some of the police services revenue lost due to decrease in property values.
  3. Proposition "C" would raise money for the purpose of providing revenues for recreation and park facilities, bike paths, the repair of sidewalks and roads and general operating purposes.
  4. Proposal "D" Would provide money for waste collection and environmental protection.

In Ann Arbor, there are two contested, Democratic primary races for city council.

  • In the 3rd Ward Julie Grand is looking to unseat Incumbent Stephen Kunselman.
  • In the 4th Ward. Marcia Higgins seeks to fend off a challenge from Jack Eaton. The winners today will be unopposed in November, barring a write-in campaign.

 Voters in the Whitmore Lake School District will decide a $12.3 million dollar bond issue. If passed, the district would sell bonds to raise money to remodel and update school facilities.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley has a look at anticipated voter turnout today.