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Posted on Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 9 a.m.

Newport Road sidewalk and downtown sidewalk repairs on Ann Arbor City Council agenda

By Ryan J. Stanton

The Ann Arbor City Council will consider two sidewalk-related resolutions when it meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, on the second floor of city hall, 301 E. Huron St.

The first one directs staff to develop a preliminary design and cost estimates for construction of a new sidewalk along Newport Road between Wines Elementary School and Riverwood Drive.

The city's staff received a petition signed by 79 residents requesting the city provide a new sidewalk there and to consider taxing the neighboring areas to help pay for the costs.


The area along Newport Road where the city could move forward with a study to determine options for a new sidewalk.

Google Maps

"Building a sidewalk at this location would provide pedestrian access between high-need areas," reads a memo from Nick Hutchinson, the city's interim project management manager, noting the proximity to Forsythe Middle School, Wines Elementary and even Skyline High School.

The other sidewalk-related item on the council's agenda is an agreement between the city and the Downtown Development Authority for sidewalk repairs downtown.

Under the agreement, which runs through June 30, 2014, the DDA would transfer to the city any tax revenues it captures from the city's 0.125-mill sidewalk repair millage.

Abigail Elias, chief assistant city attorney, wrote in a memo the funds can be used to make sidewalk repairs within the DDA district boundaries, but the city is neither obligated to use the full amount nor limited to using only that amount for the sidewalk repairs.

The City Council is meeting Tuesday night this week — instead of Monday night — due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

It's a relatively light agenda that also includes a dispatch update from Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton following the merger of police dispatch operations, a resolution to create a residential parking district for North Ives Woods, and a $211,602 lease/purchase agreement with Deere Credit Inc. for a new loader at the city's Materials Recovery Facility/Waste Transfer Station.

The council packet also contains an annual financial report from the DDA for the period ending June 30, 2012, showing the DDA brought in more than $17 million in parking revenues and captured more than $3.7 million in downtown property taxes. The DDA spent $2.1 million on administration, $8.7 million on parking operations, $3.5 million on capital outlay and $6 million on debt service.

The report shows the DDA with an outstanding bond indebtedness of $111 million, including $74.2 million in principle and $36.8 million in interest.

Also included in the council packet is a report showing revenues and expenditures for the city's Open Space and Parkland Preservation Program for the last fiscal year, and a letter from an attorney for Zaragon Place, a student high-rise in the South University area, objecting to the plan for a new high-rise proposed at 624 Church St. above Pizza House.

Tuesday night's council meeting will be preceded by a meeting of the newly established Public Art Task Force at 5:30 p.m. in the first-floor south conference room of city hall. The council's budget committee also will meet briefly at 6:30 p.m. in a workroom on the second floor of city hall.

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.



Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 5:19 p.m.

I am thinking a walk/bike path all the way to the river would be very nice.


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 4:22 p.m.

Is continuing the sidewalk north of Riverwood now off the table or was it never under consideration?


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

Not sure. I do know there were some neighborhood meetings (I was unable to attend) maybe last year, and despite much support, there was some minority but noisy opposition to a sidewalk north of Riverwood. There was the idea floated of making it more like a meandering "path," up there, but I don't know where it all stands.


Tue, Jan 22, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

YAY on the sidewalk!!! I've been requesting this since Skyline was built!