Ann Arbor

Pages

Arts & Culture
8:26 am
Wed December 25, 2013

The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, The Original, Will Get City Funding Help

Scenes from the Art Fair
Credit The Ann Arbor Street Fair, The Orginal

The Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, The Original has been running at a financial deficit the last few years. Event organizers put the annual losses at a range from $5,700  to $8,000. 

Ann Arbor City Council  is dedicating $10,000 to it's community events fund to help cover anticipated losses in 2014. City Council Member Christopher Taylor explains that the unique importance of the art fair makes it worth supporting.

SEE ALSO: The Shadow Art Fair Set To Make Its Last Stand

Overall, the city charges the four art fairs about $60,000 for barriers, extra safety services, and trash removal.  $8,000  is paid by the original art fair.  This fair also pays rent to the University of Michigan and has limited sponsorship options because it's located on campus.

Christopher Taylor also says that the the other three art fairs haven't requested funding from the city, but did write in support of the original art fair receiving assistance.  He says the unique importance of the art fair to the city makes this investment worthwhile and doesn't serve as a precedent for funding other events.

Listen to Andrew Cluley's full report.

 — Andrew Cluley is a reporter and anchor for 89.1 WEMU News. Contact him at 734.487.3363 or email him aCluley@emich.edu.

Read more
Community
2:44 am
Tue December 24, 2013

A2 Bike House Getting Good Usage, Program May Expand to Other Parking Structures

Credit Ann Arbor Downtown Development Athority

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.

Community
1:48 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Ann Arbor Police Making Staffing Assignment Changes to Improve Efficiency

The Ann Arbor Police department won't be getting any new officers in January. But, a couple of assignments are changing.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on changes coming for the Ann Arbor Police Department based in part on data collected through electronic patrol activity logs.

Read more
Local News
3:58 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Christopher Taylor Running to be Ann Arbor's Next Mayor

Another Ann Arbor City Council member is seeking outgoing Mayor John Hieftje's job.
Third Ward Democrat Christopher Taylor today announced he's running for mayor in 2014.

Stephen Kunselman who also represents the third ward on council has already announced he's running, while Hieftje has said he won't seek re-election.

Local News
11:06 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Corner Brewery now Arbor Brewing Company Microbrewery

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. 

Education
1:03 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Ann Arbor School Board Hears Preliminary Report On Additional High School Options

Credit AAPS

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.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on programs being studied for increased options for high school students in Ann Arbor Public Schools.

Environment
8:41 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Issues of the Environment: Downtown Development in Ann Arbor

In this week's installment of Issues of the Environment, WEMU's David Fair talks with Susan Pollay about development in downtown Ann Arbor and how it fits into a more sustainable future for the city. Susan Pollay is Executive Director of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority. 

Read more
Community
4:55 am
Tue December 17, 2013

A2 Council Approves Overtime for Police to Step Up Traffic Enforcement

Motorists around Ann Arbor can expect to see more police cars focused on traffic enforcement in January. 

City Council Monday night voted ten to one to provide $125,000 to the police department to fund overtime for officers specifically focused on traffic enforcement. 

Read more
Community
4:50 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Ann Arbor to Put Proceeds from Sale of Y Lot In Affordable Housing Fund

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.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Ann Arbor City Council opting to put funds from the sale of the old YMCA property in the Affordable Housing Fund.

Community
4:42 am
Tue December 17, 2013

A2 Council Again Delays Decision on Parking Meter Removal Policy

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.

Read more
Environment
1:42 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Issues of the Environment: Mayor Hieftje Talks Public Transit in SE Michigan

Issues of the Environment 12/10/13
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.
Read more
Education
2:57 am
Thu December 12, 2013

Plante Moran to Audit Ann Arbor Schools Management Processes

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.

Read more
Community
8:51 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

ReImagine Washtenaw Right-of-Way Plan Presented

Meeting attendees check out the plan and ask questions.
Credit Bob Eccles

ReImagine Washtenaw presented its right-of-way plan to the public at a meeting Tuesday night. 

The plan covers the corridor from the water tower in Ypsilanti to the Washtenaw-Stadium split in Ann Arbor.

Ypsilanti city council member Pete Murdock says the city is dealing with a lot of traffic issues as part of its master plan revision, and those will have to be coordinated with ReImagine Washtenaw.

The ReImagine Washtenaw right-of-way plan includes improvements such as refuge islands to help pedestrians safely cross the street, buffered bike lanes, and eight "super stops" for Ann Arbor Area Transportation busses along the corridor. 

The next step in the implementation process is to have municipalities along the corridor adopt the plan.

Click here for a report from WEMU's Bob Eccles.

Community
1:47 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Ann Arbor Mayor Officially Files Veto of Changes to Crosswalk Law

Mayor John Hieftje
Credit City of Ann Arbor

Motorists in Ann Arbor still need to stop for pedestrians waiting at the curb at a crosswalk.  Mayor John Hieftje yesterday formally vetoed an ordinance amendment passed by council last week to only require drivers to stop for pedestrians already in the crosswalk. 

Hieftje says Ann Arbor's current law is safer for pedestrians than the state traffic code and laws in other Michigan cities.  Hieftje says he looks forward to other measures to increase pedestrian safety.  These will include increased education, and enforcement of the crosswalk law. 

Council would need eight votes to override the veto, but only six members voted in favor of the ordinance amendment.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje officially vetoing changes to the crosswalk law.

Community
1:41 am
Tue December 10, 2013

Expectations of Ann Arbor Council Members Discussed at Planning Session

What Ann Arbor City Council members expect of each other and the mayor ended up being the primary discussion item at yesterday's planning session.  Council members created a long list of expectations with most of the issues easily gaining support. 

Julia Novak of the Novak Consulting Group was the meeting facilitator.  Novak says a couple of other expectations took more discussion before all council members would agree to them.  She says this includes sharing information and efforts to make council meetings shorter.

City staff updated council on progress that has been made over the last 12 months on priorities identified at last year's planning session.  Council kept these priorities and tentatively produced new areas of focus for next year, including working on unfunded liabilities, increasing traffic enforcement, promoting work force housing, and efforts to alleviate homelessness.

Read more
Local News
3:14 pm
Mon December 9, 2013

New Parking Garage Opens in Ann Arbor

A new 250-space parking garage is now open on the corner of First and Washington streets in downtown Ann Arbor. 

Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority Director Susan Pollay says the new garage provides the mix of public and private uses, with an apartment building under construction above it.

A "soft opening" for the structure was held Friday, with a grand opening expected sometime in January to coincide with the apartments opening.

Community
7:38 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

A2 DDA to Fund All Main Street Lightpole Replacements

Credit meltedplastic / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Ann Arbor's Downtown Development Authority has resolved a dispute with City Council on the replacement of lighpoles along Main Street by agreeing to fund the entire project.  During the budget approval process in May City Council tweaked the DDA budget, leaving the city responsible for about $280,000 of the $580,000 cost to replace the poles that are rusting out at the base.  In October however City Council failed to approve funding for their portion of the project. 

DDA Board Chair Sandi Smith says this work is too important not to be completed.  Smith says the additional funds will come from money leftover from a more than decade old State Street Improvements project, and next fiscal year's budget.  She says based on how long the entire lightpole replacement project will take having the funds split between two budget years won't be a problem.

WEMU's Andrew Cluley reports on Ann Arbor's Downtown Development Authority covering the entire cost of replacing lightpoles on Main Street.

Pages