Residents not benefitting from downtown development
Between the boundless greed of downtown landlords and the handing over of downtown to developers by the City Council, all the unique and interesting independent businesses that gave Ann Arbor its special appeal are rapidly being driven out.
For years my husband and I lived downtown. The numerous and diverse mix of small, independent businesses made it possible for us to do most of our shopping downtown and made it a great place to live. Those days are long gone, obviously. Yet those businesses are what made living and working downtown a joy.
The DDA and City Council should think hard about what it is that makes living in Ann Arbor, and particularly downtown, attractive in the first place before allowing more high-rise development.
The push to make the downtown more “vertical" as a means of containing sprawl, are making the downtown darker with the enormous cast-shadows created by these high-rises. When skyscrapers first appeared in Chicago and New York early in the 20th century, ordinances were passed to require greater setbacks in order to minimize this effect. Our City Council, however, is pushing for buildings right up to the sidewalk, thereby exacerbating the problem.
These projects benefit no one except out-of-town corporate interests. The goose that laid the golden egg is gasping for air, and no one appears to care, except current residents, whose opinions apparently do not count.
Karen Cass Anderson