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Posted on Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor residents asked to share ideas for future of Platt Road juvenile court property

By Ryan J. Stanton

Washtenaw County Commissioner Yousef Rabhi is inviting residents interested in the future of the former county juvenile court property on Platt Road in Ann Arbor to share their ideas.

Rabhi, D-Ann Arbor, has organized a community forum that will take place at 3 p.m. Saturday at the now-vacant facility at 2270 Platt Road, just south of Washtenaw Avenue.

The purpose of the forum, Rabhi says, is to help build a community vision for what the county should do with the 13.5-acre site.

County officials recently moved the juvenile court staff out of the aging facility and into the third floor of the downtown county courthouse.

The juvenile detention portion of the operation was moved out to Hogback Road about eight years ago. Some records are still housed in storage on the Platt Road site.


Yousef Rabhi

With the future of the Platt Road site uncertain, Rabhi said it's important that neighbors and concerned citizens have a voice in the process of determining what happens there.

"I think this whole conversation is just starting now," he said. "We only moved out at the beginning of May, so it's not like the property has been vacant that long. I think the discussion is going to happen over the course of the next year."

Two buildings stand on the site, including the 45-year-old, 42,320-square-foot juvenile court building and a smaller house-like building. County officials have decided the cost needed to complete repairs would exceed the cost of demolition.

Rabhi said demolition of the buildings is likely sometime in the short-term. What happens after that is up for the county to decide.

As he's gone door to door talking to residents, Rabhi said he's heard a wide array of ideas for the property, including making it a dog park, a community garden or an alternative energy demonstration plot.

Others suggested selling it to a private developer, possibly for affordable housing, while one man simply said anything that'll generate tax revenue.

"There's not really any traction in one direction because this isn't really an issue that's on the top burner right now," Rabhi said. "I figured the best way to do that is to bring it right to the community that's most affected by it because it's sitting right there in their backyard."

Rabhi is hoping for a good turnout Saturday.

"I've handed out fliers inviting the neighbors immediately adjacent to the property," he said. "It's also open to anybody who's interested in coming. It's an open forum."

For more information, contact Rabhi at (734) 548-5159 or

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 e-mail newsletters.


Anne McKee

Sun, Jun 19, 2011 : 2:54 p.m.

I think it would be a great place for a community meeting/party space. The Flat Rock recreation center has one complete with tables, chairs and catering kitchen. We used it for a lunch after my brother died, but I understand people use it for weddings and all kinds of things. The space is beautiful and I think would attract a lot of business if the outdoor environment was kept intact.

John A2

Sat, Jun 18, 2011 : 5:10 a.m.

Sell it to the highest bider and get rid of it. It's just another expense we can''t afford. Let go and let GOD TAKE CARE OF IT. God tends to do things that us humans won't do.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 10:37 p.m.

Isn't the building next door the new home of the Summers-Knoll private school? I would hope that would be a factor in the eventual disposition of this property.

John B.

Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 11:47 p.m.

How so?


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 8:58 p.m.

There are plenty of parks, old government buildings and vacant government land in the county. Let's get this one back on the tax rolls.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

The building as it is now would make an excellent set for a court, legal, jail, or horror movie. It has court rooms, detention cells, and business/officey type corridors....Someone should alert one of the film companies.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

Since the city/county need money, why not sell it and get instant cash plus tax money every year after!


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 12:33 p.m.

Bear Sanctuary for the win.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 12:19 p.m.

This idea is rather complicated as it entails two seperate government entities but here it goes anyway. If some or all of the county buildings can still be maintained/remodeled/reused at a reasonable cost. AAPS and Washtenaw County should consider land swap(s) or sales to each other. AAPS central admin, Roberto Clemente, Stone and bus parking/dispatch could all eventually be located on a single campus. The shuttered AAPS properties could then be eventually sold to private developers.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

YouWhine - Nice sarcasm. Blahblahblah - AAPS should surplus Balas right now (and the administrators in it) and sell that piece of property.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 4:29 p.m.

The fact that much of the building is designed as a secure detention facility would make it ideal for Clemente and Stone.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 11:15 a.m.

Also, the land is currently zoned PL, Public Land, in the current city zoning ordinance, as well as the future master plan. This adds an interesting dynamic, in that the city may wish to add its "plan" for future use.


Fri, Jun 17, 2011 : 10:31 a.m.

The property is actually very nice, near some established single-family neighborhoods, county park, and myriad non profits. Just off the Washtenaw Ave. corridor, it's situated on a fairly quiet connector street, close to everything Ann Arbor. Future use is a puzzle. It will be interesting to see everyone's ideas here, as well as ideas by those with economic resources and means.