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Posted on Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Ann Arbor residents and officials anxiously await demolition of 8 blighted houses on Main Street

By Ryan J. Stanton


One of eight blighted and boarded-up houses on North Main Street that await demolition for the Near North affordable housing project in Ann Arbor.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Hannah Bailey has lived on North Main Street near downtown Ann Arbor about four months, and until recently she couldn't figure out the eight boarded-up houses on her block.

"I've always wondered why there are so many abandoned houses on this street because it's Main Street downtown Ann Arbor," said the 22-year-old from West Virginia.

The blighted structures have been a sore point for residents and city officials. They were supposed to be torn down last year, but demolition still hasn't occurred.

Michael Appel, senior developer for Ann Arbor-based Avalon Housing, said the long-awaited Near North affordable housing project is still moving forward, though.

Slowly but surely.


Another one of the blighted houses on North Main.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Avalon, a nonprofit housing corporation, and its for-profit partner, the Three Oaks Group, are planning to demolish the houses to build a 39-unit apartment complex, potentially with ground-floor retail. The City Council approved the project nearly three years ago, and for a while it was expected to break ground in early fall 2010.

"Our Near North project is still working through final financing and some remaining regulatory questions," Appel said this past week. "We hope to resolve them this summer and move forward."

Bailey, who moved here from West Virginia for a substance abuse treatment program through Dawn Farm, welcomed the news.

"It's great that they're putting in that complex," she said. "I think it will be good for the area."

She's been living in a transitional house owned by Avalon Housing and said making more affordable housing units with supportive services available in Ann Arbor is a good thing.

The Near North project includes 39 one-bedroom units, 14 of which are supportive housing units that are subsidized with project-based Section 8 vouchers and restricted to special needs tenants with incomes at or below 30 percent of the Area Median Income.

The other 25 are normal affordable housing units restricted to tenants with incomes at or below 45 percent or 50 percent of AMI.

The Downtown Development Authority last September renewed its financial commitment to the project, pledging up to $500,000 in grant assistance from its housing fund.

Mayor John Hieftje offered hopes at a DDA meeting in early June that Avalon Housing and Three Oaks would be moving forward with demolition for Near North by July.

"They expect at this time to wrap up financing and close on the deal by the end of June and begin demolition," he said at the time. "It shouldn't take very long to wipe those houses off and start to improve that property and start the construction."

Appel said on Friday he didn't have a specific date for when the demolition could happen, but he said his team is working with city staff to bring down the houses in a timely manner.

Wendy Rampson, the city's planning manager, said Near North's development team is waiting for the city to sign off on plan revisions at this point. That includes minor changes to the building footprint and a 2,791-square-foot increase in the floor area for mechanical systems.

"We waited months to get their revised plans," she said, noting they came in June 7. "Once those are signed off on, then we can move forward with issuance of permits."

Appel confirmed that retail remains part of the plan, but that's still a second phase that requires its own financing and some additional site plan approvals.

Bill Godfrey, a co-founder and principal Three Oaks, could not be reached for comment.

Hieftje said he thinks Near North will be an attractive addition to the North Main Street corridor, which has been the subject of increased focus by the city.

The city recently started a task force that's looking into ways to improve the corridor — a major gateway to Ann Arbor — and to rid it of blight like the eight houses at 626-724 N. Main and a former Greek church that's crumbling down the street at 414 N. Main.

"We'd like to see something happen with the Greek church but it's not easy," Hieftje said. "We have to build a case so that if it's challenged, we'll be able to answer that in court about why it needs to come down. We'd love to see it down."

The city also has been pushing for a long time to get rid of an abandoned gas station at the corner of Depot and Main, but the city was denied by a judge.

The City Council voted in February to establish a $250,000 blight fund to secure and demolish buildings the city deems unsafe under Chapter 101 of the city code.


The city-owned property at 721 N. Main on a recent afternoon.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Hieftje noted the city has a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to pay for demolition of two buildings in a floodway at the former city maintenance yard across the street at 721 N. Main. The city hopes to turn that into a greenway anchor park eventually.

In addition to Near North, Avalon Housing has plans for a 32-unit affordable housing complex and a community center on the city's west side. The site is located just east of Arbordale Street at 1500 Pauline Boulevard — a stone's throw from Fritz Park.

"We have closed on the Pauline project and are moving ahead there," Appel said. "We expect demolition to begin in the fall."

That project includes six one-bedroom units, 14 two-bedroom units and 12 three-bedroom units. Sixteen of the units are subsidized with project-based Section 8 vouchers and restricted to special needs tenants with incomes at or below 30 percent of AMI.

Another 15 units are restricted to tenants with incomes at or below 40 percent of AMI. One unit is restricted to tenants with incomes at or below 60 percent of AMI.

Rampson said the city is close to issuing a building permit for 1500 Pauline.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.


The Picker

Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 12:07 p.m.

This is just a wake up about what is being created on this corner. Avalon and the city are creating a village within the city, at the choke point for the Northwest side where everyone walks to Kerrytown and the downtown. This commercial district and the park are where the neighboorhood children are going to hang out. Who will be hanging out with them ?

Ron Granger

Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

What I read here are a bunch of snobs suggesting we should pretend there are no poor, or that we should discriminate against them by denying low cost housing options. It's like a giant cloud of smug. If you want to live in a gated community, talk to Governor Snyder. Maybe they have room in his.

Chris Hall

Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : midnight

39 units total - a very small complex as they go. 2/3 of the housing units are "normal affordable housing" and 1/3 are section 8 - restricted to special-needs residents, which I read to mean physically or developmentally disabled. (I apologize if those aren't the correct terms) Actually, this is exactly the type of housing project that many people in Ann Arbor have wanted to build for decades. It serves the needs of the poor without blasting the neighborhood with blight. It sounds as though the developers and city got this one right. It balances pure Section 8 with other people of slightly better means in a smallish complex that will be relatively easy to manage. Ann Arbor is large enough and diverse enough to absorb this small complex.

Basic Bob

Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

But Ann Arbor is not open-minded enough to absorb it. I say let it stay looking like a West Virginia ghost town or East Michigan Avenue. In a few decades the trees will hide what's left.

Jack Campbell

Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 4:56 a.m.

Section 8 on the main street is unacceptable. This will be the first thing people see when entering the city. Are we going to stand for this? What can be done? Tell Hieftje that section 8 doesn't belong on main street: (734) 794-6161, extension 41602 Tell the DDA to come up with a better solution than a ghetto welcome:

Jack Campbell

Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 6:43 p.m.

Ypsi would be great, it is already crime-ridden.


Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 5:20 p.m.

I agree, there has to be a better place to put the poors. Like Ypsilanti. Am i right?

Jack Campbell

Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

down votes? You want a ghetto on main?


Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 2:37 a.m.

"The city also has been pushing for a long time to get rid of an abandoned gas station at the corner of Depot and Main, but the city was denied by a judge." Why was this denied? AA dot com, please follow-up and report back.


Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 12:17 a.m.

I prefer single family dwellings to multi-unit buildings

Dog Guy

Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 12:08 a.m.

What are the police and fire department response times to the Near North site?

Jon Wax

Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 11:48 a.m.

LOL depends on the call: if you do something violent on the north side they will be there. FAST! Peace

Jared Angle

Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 10:46 p.m.

I wrote the linked article below for Washtenaw Community College's student newspaper several months ago, it has additional information about the blighted houses on Main Street and input from local residents.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 9:48 p.m.

we need privet low income and not million dollar condos and homes.


Tue, Jul 3, 2012 : 5:54 p.m.

@ Jon...that's correct!

Jon Wax

Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 11:47 a.m.

... and apparently we need more money spent on education. Peace


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 9:40 p.m.

maybe if we had an affordable Ann Arbor in the first place people could afford tax's and these home's wouldn't of gone to waste in the first place.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

As our group in DC continues to lead us down the path of becoming a socialistic society, we will see more of these homes pop up. People will only be able to find low paying jobs or will be on government programs and handouts. Personal wealth will continue to drop. Thus, low income housing will be needed more and more. The Ann Arbor we knew will no longer be a reality and only a fond memory.

Jon Wax

Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

1. it's interesting that in the same breath, one can accuse the "rich" of hiding in their own little snobby communities away from all this and still have air left over to complain that they don't want section 8 housing in THEIR OWN neighborhood. i think this proves that "class" and "money" are not synonymous. 2. interesting as well that from the people who wish to increase the aesthetic of inbound North Main we get a solution that includes section 8 housing. I'm wondering how this well "look" come football saturdays? "hey look kids, there is the dam! there is the railroad station! hey look... there is a guy being loaded into an ambulance because he and another person had a fist fight over who makes the better kool-aid!" keep it classy!! 3. not sure what the "other stores" on the ground floor would be, but if any of em are a grocery store, my guess is that most of the folks within 15 minutes of said location who posted on here complaining about it will be eating leftover crow for a long, long time. we need a grocery store and that would be an acceptable spot for it. 4. all this is great but the REAL problem is the riverfront, not the empty buildings. tenants come and go. time moves on. but the riverfront is entirely wasted space that could not only increase business in the area but would serve to beautify the area as well. 5. totally off topic but semi-related: take the speed limit back down to 35 or 40 on N main. Preferably 35. Peace

Jon Wax

Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 11:47 a.m.

Mike, you are making my point for me. Both parties are playing the nimby card. How is either one different? We KNOW the rich live in exclusivity. What, was it a secret that the middle class wanted the same and it only comes to light when something like this pops up? A2 has changed from the old days and that's what happens with cities. it's also interesting to me that until something happens, folks have jumped to the "guilty before charged" aspect of it. the folks this place would help have nothing. The folks commenting in this section have stuff. How can you hate on someone who is simply trying to get by for a night? (no, obviously i don't mean junkies. if you think i'm supporting that, you should probably back out of this conversation.) Peace


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 11:14 p.m.

"1. it's interesting that in the same breath, one can accuse the "rich" of hiding in their own little snobby communities away from all this and still have air left over to complain that they don't want section 8 housing in THEIR OWN neighborhood. i think this proves that "class" and "money" are not synonymous. " You miss the point. "The rich" want low income housing and are actively attempting the make it reality, but not in their neighborhood. They want it, but not near their homes. The middle class people that live near this project are not trying to put low income houses anywhere, they just don't want anyone to put it near them.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 8:32 p.m.

I am so with you about the speed limit!


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 7:24 p.m.

Ann Arbor is becoming an ultra rich town with no income diversity. Just a bunch of robots stuck in the rat race to make the next buck. Maybe some creative people will move into this Section 8 housing and bring some much needed heart and soul back to Ann Arbor.

Angry Moderate

Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

Yes, because housing projects are well-known for improving the cultural richness of cities that already rank highly in terms of wealth and education levels.

Wolf's Bane

Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 5:32 p.m.

Just glad that our Water Hill neighborhood is insulated from all these bull projects. Surreal, what a goofy situation this has become; 5 years of having to stare at the Summit and Main Ghettofication. Lovely. How many more years??? And then what, section 8 housing? I bet the Liquor store will enjoy the boom.

The Picker

Thu, Jul 5, 2012 : 12:15 p.m.

What makes you think you have separation?


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 4:29 p.m.

Weren't those houses affordable in the first place? And isn't there a difference between "affordable housing" and low income subsidized housing (historically referred to as "the projects")?


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

This is good news for my fellow section 8 housing people. With Section 8 I can live in an apartment usually about $550 month and only pay about $150 a month for it. In addition since I got my SSI my life is much better too. I get $700 month for claiming I'm bi-polar after I finally found a doctor who agrees, in addition I get $200 in my welfare bridge card. Getting $900 a month with cheap housing for doing nothing is way better then working 40 hours a week making $1050 a month after taxes making minimum wage.

Bertha Venation

Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 3:46 p.m.

oooohhhh.... NOW I get it! ;)

Tom Whitaker

Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

I'm truly curious as to what has changed in the affordable housing sector that appears to be forcing organizations like Avalon to take on these mega-projects instead of continuing the practice of using individual houses scattered around town. For the most part, these existing houses appear to be well-maintained, well-managed, and well-integrated into neighborhoods. But it appears, from a distance, that these mega projects are actually taking truly affordable units in existing houses and buildings off the market--perhaps forever--only to be replaced with new units that are fewer in number, very costly to build, and more expensive to rent. Have other units come on-line elsewhere in town to absorb the demand while the Near North and the Pauline projects are slowly grinding through the process, or has the organization been overwhelmed with the complexities of these large projects, distracting it from its core mission? Again, I'm sincerely curious, as this is the perception I have from a distance. Is there a local, state or federal policy that is forcing this approach? FYI: The 2011 median household income for a single person in Ann Arbor was $60,500, and went up about $9000 for each additional member of the household. 60% of $60,500 was $36,500, 40% was $24,500, and 30% was $18,150. An individual working full-time at minimum wage ($7.40/hr) grossed $15,392 before taxes.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

As a North Main home owner and resident, it troubles me greatly to see the city and mayor are eager to demolish these 8 homes. Cities and neighborhoods do not grow and prosper by building subsidized housing. I love my house and I don't plan to move anywhere. Being a short walk to downtown restaurants, the Farmer's Market and the train station while still living in a house and not a condo is very appealing to me. And I am confident it would be appealing to many young professionals working in the city. It's beyond me why these homes cannot be rehabilitated, and sold to professionals at an affordable price. The North Main corridor present a tremendous opportunity that's being squandered by city council and the mayor.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

I agree with you about subsidized housing not being the answer here. But, in regard to rehabbing these homes, I'm afraid it's an all or nothing deal. Professionals won't want to move in unless the entire area has been improved. If the house they want to buy that's been fixed up is right next to a decayed dump of a house, guess what? They're not buying. The problem in a situation like this where's there's lots of individual landlords and property owners owning dilapidated housing, there has to be a large-scale program to buy up the property and rehab it. Again though, subsidized low-income housing may not be the best solution in this case.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

But condos are not hundred year old homes. I just don't think these houses at this location are the hot ticket you envision them to be.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

@48104: You're totally off here. There are $600,000 condos sprouting like weeds all over this neighborhood. Big houses too. This is the one corner of town that you can actually live in like a city: walk to work and see your butcher and baker on the walk home.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 6:41 p.m.

The reason seems to be that people with that sort of money looking for houses would either rather buy bigger houses with bigger yards out in the townships, or buy similar homes in better condition on quieter streets. Both are already available in large supply. I think you're in a minority -- demand is not there or someone would be meeting it.

The Picker

Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

How does this developer get this special treatment from the building dept? These homes will never be rehabilitated so they should come down NOW ! Do they carry property insurance or will the taxpayers and the Building Dept be on the hook if a serious problem occurs. This is the immediate problem and should be addressed first thing Monday morning. As for what to build there, Joe Sobran HAS said it best, If you want more of anything subsidize it. Do we as a society want to enable disfunctional behavior indefinately? Don't permanently build in poverty and disfunctionality to this neighborhood.

The Picker

Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 5:47 p.m.

Tearing down THESE houses is necessary because they have been allowed, under the cities' nose, to deteriorate to the point of no return. This was done to enhance the developers hand in their dealings with the city. The demolition of these homes does not preclude new single family homes from being built in their place. Much more in keeping with the present character of the neighborhood.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

Section 8 is a cash cow for the folks providing the housing. Plain & simple.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 3:15 p.m.

Section 8 housing next to a liquor store is a bad idea!


Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 12:31 a.m.

I believe that is actually good planning because it is within walking distance and will not require subsidized transportation to get there


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

good idea, since middle class people drink too


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

If someone wants to consume,they'll get it. Doesn't make a bit of difference.... walk a few blocks over and down-yeah, that's really different .


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 3:13 p.m.

Congrats to the young woman coming here from W Virginia to improve her health and well being. She is welcome. [perhaps her particular story has other details-like a relative in the area...a school opportunity she has her eyes on/etc.]....The situation regarding the houses that fell into disrepair is probably a messier story than a person trying to help his/her self.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 9:05 p.m.

I don't blame anyone for leaving WVirginia. It could be at age 22 she regards her "subsidy" as an opportunity to do something with her life. In that sense, hooray for what you describe-anyone who looks around, sees things can be better has the right to take the opportunity. As a matter of fact, many white NorthernEuropean Immigrants came here for "a better" life.Subsidy was not needed because they had skills and the infrastructure of this country was being built. .....however,tody the circumstances are vastly differnt yet we seem to apply morality to the quagmire of the cycle of hardship/failure and more hardship. The Avalon profile and this corridor in particular could be debated,however the story of people is never so simple will not help anyone to have more numbers of downward spiralling lives.....get over it...subsidy is just a word.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

People will always go where they can receive the best subsidy. The more you offer the more will come.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 2:57 p.m.

It looks like the " holier than thou " snobs in Ann Arbor are going to get a little dose of reality like most of the people of Michigan have to endure :(


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 5:54 p.m.

Suze, thanks for welcoming diversity, that is refreshing to see. tdw, agreed. this town could use a dose of reality.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 5:22 p.m.

@tdw, I know! wtheck is that about, anyway? We Ann Arborites can increase our skills to live alongside and help others 'different' than ourselves--what is it, really 2 paychecks or something like that? And this is my neighborhood. I welcome the diversity.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 4:35 p.m.

May our light shine down on you.

Michigan Man

Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

TDW - Keep on preaching!


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

I hope the developers and the city have adequate accommodations for the rainwater run off! N Main/Depot/Summit become impassable during heavy rainfall. In my opinion, the city of A2 doesn't put enough limits on development for rainwater run off around N Main/Depot/Summit. I can imagine lawsuits from the nearby residents if it's not done properly. As for Section 8, I do think it's an odd place for it & would like to see the plans, including the support--i.e will they have social workers, etc associated with the project. It's a major thoroughfare into A2 & people have been complaining about it's aesthetics for years. One of the reasons section 8 housing gets run down is that the payments to the landowners are not timely, causing a cashflow issue for repairs & upkeep, not to mention landlords want a certain profit margin and squeeze to get it. It's a model needing a rework. Not to mention that studies have shown being in poverty is as stressful as a CEO's job (with none of the benefits). Folks need a LOT of support to rebuild from it & at this point it's a systemic/generational problem. Ypsilanti has an inordinate amount of section 8 housing. Ann Arbor can take their fair share, too. We Ann Arborites can adjust and be nice. there are many questions that still need to be answered from this article (but what's new,

Silly Sally

Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

@"Suzeh" Are you a landlord who is willing to take section 8 people and all of their problems?


Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 12:28 a.m.

There is no "Fair Share" for section 8 housing. Nobody divides it up.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 6:14 p.m.

adjust it in your own neighborhood. i don't need to be nice. we have more than our fair share in ann arbor already.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

Jeffersonian, I am next door already.. Wave when you pass by.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 4:32 p.m.

I'll pitch in to buy the house next door to you for section 8.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

Fix them up or knock them down.

David Cahill

Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 2:02 p.m.

The omens for Near North are not good. Promises that are non-promises from Avalon Housing, developer unavailable for comment, endless delays. Looks like a case of too many moving parts and no money. Another big project slouching toward the graveyard. Meanwhile, the blighted houses remain.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 4:30 p.m.

Occam's razor: never replace a simple solution with a more complicated one. Simple solution: let market forces work their magic; complicated failure- what we have.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 1:57 p.m.

Disgusting. Sorry, don't believe that this is the best project for the neighborhood. Maybe they need to be torn down, but surely we can find something better to replace -- like a park or art gallery.

Bertha Venation

Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

Art is ALWAYS a good thing for the city! (NOT)


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

yes! we so need another damn park to waste tax dollars!


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 1:49 p.m.

As someone who saw our local property values elsewhere plummet and the schools go downhill after an apartment building in our area went Section 8, I can only say that for Ann Arbor to invite this type of housing in voluntarily is crazy. Be prepared to move if you are anywhere near. And allocate more money for police, do not cut the force.

Silly Sally

Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 1:36 p.m.

These "fears" are based on a reality: increased crime and bad behaviors. People do not want to leave near that. They want peace-of-mind, not worries. Even if 2/3 of the people are OK, it is the other 1/3 and especially their visitors that ruin it for all.


Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 11:47 a.m.

arbor28 the fears you expressed in your post are the reason why home values can drop, not the Section 8 housing. People freak out with worst-case scenarios when they learn subsidized housing will be built near them. The freak-out instigates a panic, as reflected in your "be prepared to move in you are anywhere near" statement. People start to sell their homes, often quickly and below market value. Others in the neighborhood then feel pressure to do the same. That's what causes the drop.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

I love Capitalism and the free market! This section 8 and afforded housing is for socialist! It ruins neighborhoods and peoples lives! If you want affordable housing move to Ypsilanti or Manchester!


Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 12:31 p.m.

Middle America don't harsh on xmo. This is actually one of his most coherent posts.


Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 2:25 a.m.

Ann arbor might be better served as an intellectual market...where you would not affford to belong. Capitalism is a commercial concept, respect is something you must earn.

Middle America

Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 9:39 p.m.

"Afforded housing is for socialist!" What a strong, well worded argument.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 4:27 p.m.

Peopleshould move where they can afford to live. There's nothing wrong with having a bus line from there.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 1:22 p.m.

A city wide problem: More then N. Main Street, Ann Arbor has many homes that are in decay see: Ann Arbor, Michigan: Code of Ordinances: Building Regulations: Chapter 101: Dangerous Buildings. This Ordinance states the City Attorney may prosecute violations to the city code. Why hasn't this been done for ALL blighted houses in Ann Arbor? A dangerous building has one or more of the stated conditions. See stated conditions, online, City Code of Ordinance. In my nice neighborhood we have a house that has no paint, no siding and a very bad roof. In fact this house looks just like the house in the photo in the above article. (people are living in this house!!) needs to do an article on all blighted houses in Ann Arbor. Perhaps an expose would shame some owners into fixing up their places. ps: I just got my Ann Arbor Property Tax Assessment. LOL. I could never sell my place for the stated value, due to the dilapidated/deteriorated house located on my street. Please Ann Arbor Building/Planning Department, City Attorney and Mayor/City Council do your job.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

Social engineering projects like this are BULL. It allows misguided people with no skin in the game to sleep better at night thinking that they have helped the needy- as long as it takes place well away from their exclusive neighborhood. Well which needy will be the lucky one's to benefit? Becuase you can only help a handful of the eligible multitudes. Then selecting the lucky one's becomes an arbitrary process- which is what social engineering is all about. Joseph Sobran stated "If you want more of anything subsidize it". Subsidize being poor and you will have poor steaming in from every corner of the world. In a just society everyone seeking help would receive an equal share of the available benefit- but it doesn't work that way in a socially engineered cabal.

Pamela Bethune

Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 12:46 p.m.

So one of the people quoted came here from West Virginia to be part of their drug abuse offerings. I dont feel that bringing in people from out of state is a good use of our tax dollars.


Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 11:41 a.m.

She came here for a recovery program, not "drug abuse offerings." In other words, she's serious about getting better and starting a new life. This isn't "bringing in people from out of state" with tax dollars.

Michigan Man

Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 6:25 p.m.

Did not work out too well for Rich Rod who was also from West Virginia.

Jack Campbell

Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 12:42 p.m.

Section 8? Why? Best just to keep the blighted housing. Is there anything that we can do to stop these bonehead decisions? Seems like its one after another.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 9:45 p.m.

these blighted housing is taxed to the extreme.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

Not me. I'm anxiously awaiting the demolition of the Georgetown Mall which at the rate it's going will happen ... never. Wish we could get the city interested in that one.


Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 1:18 p.m.

Yeah, should be soon (I hope). Construction of the new stuff is supposed to start in August:

Rod Johnson

Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 7:56 p.m.

I've heard (can't remember where though) that that's supposed to happen later this summer.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 12:22 p.m.

I just don't understand this city's obsession with low-income housing. From an economic perspective alone, acquiescing to the building of low-income housing (not to be confused with "inexpensive" housing) implies an acceptance by local area business that it is OK to pay wages that are so far below what's acceptable in an area as to necessitate purpose-built low-income living accommodations for workers. In other words, when we build low-income housing like this, we tell business that "It's OK - you do not have to pay your workers a wage upon which they can rely and live. Instead, pay what you want and the city will step in and make up the difference with Section 8 housing." Take out the city as the middle man, and what you have is a situation where the taxpayers of Ann Arbor are essentially subsidizing the labor bill of many Ann Arbor area businesses. This city is already full of entry-level labor; many of them are called "students." We do not need to be busing in people from the outlying areas to perform work at slave-level wages, while providing them with indentured servant quarters as far from polite society, and as close to the freeway entrance as possible.


Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 2:55 p.m.

Do you know what the amount of AMI is to qualify for low income housing is in Ann Arbor?


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 9:44 p.m.

well if you not have a high school degree you'll only work for low wages these days.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.

this seems out of touch with real people who need section 8. how many people are homeless because the lack of affordable housing? these people work part time for low pay and are homeless.


Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 12:05 p.m.

Oh yes, Section8 housing..... that should do the trick.....

Michigan Man

Sun, Jul 1, 2012 : 11:53 a.m.

Long for the days of our All American City status! Blowing into Ann Arbor via North Main might confuse someone into thinking they have arrived in Ypsilanti. But wait, most motorway entrances into Ypsilanti are actually much more picturesque, impressive and enjoyable. This pristine image of Ann Arbor is basically a fraud and reasonably bogus. Ann Arbor residents are really fooling no one except themselves if they believe their local government has served them well over the past few years. Clearly, the quality of life in Ann Arbor is on a downward trend.

Chris Hall

Mon, Jul 2, 2012 : 11:44 p.m.

I don't know about A2 being on a downward trend, but I have to agree that Ypsi is becoming a nicer place. I travel through Ypsi on my way to Canton every day and it's definitely been improving over the last several years.