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Posted on Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Protecting parks: Ann Arbor charter amendment would force public vote on Fuller Road Station

By Ryan J. Stanton

Should the Ann Arbor city charter be changed so building a multimillion-dollar train station on city parkland would require a vote of the people?

At least four members of the Ann Arbor City Council believe so, and they're hoping at least three others will agree with them Monday night.

Seven affirmative votes are needed from the 11-member council to put a charter amendment proposal on the November ballot for city voters to consider.

The resolution to put the question on the ballot is being co-sponsored by Council Members Jane Lumm, Sabra Briere and Mike Anglin. A fourth council member, Stephen Kunselman, has indicated he plans to support the proposal Monday night as well.


City Council Member Jane Lumm is bringing forward a city charter amendment, along with two other council members, to protect parks from long-term repurposing.

Ryan J. Stanton |

If it passes through council and is approved by voters later this year, any future proposals that call for longterm repurposing of city parks for non-park or non-recreational uses would require special voter approval. That's a step beyond what the charter says now — that only the permanent sale of parks require voter approval.

"We owe this to the community," Lumm said. "The citizens have ponied up over the years a lot of money to create this incredible resource, these park resources, and we need to demonstrate good faith that we're going to be good stewards and protect these resources."

Those supporting the amendment aren't hiding the fact that it's a way of making sure the proposed Fuller Road Station project would face a voter referendum and couldn't just be approved by Mayor John Hieftje and the ruling council majority.

"I think the citizens deserve a vote there," Lumm said. "And if it's such a good idea, it shouldn't be a problem, so we should have no hesitation to go to voters."

Though the city recently took a step back to further evaluate alternative sites for a new Amtrak station, Hieftje and other council members still appear determined to see a new train station built in front of the University of Michigan Hospital in Fuller Park.

And they don't think it needs a public vote.

They argue Fuller Road Station, which would include accommodations for buses, trains and bicycles, would be built within the existing footprint of what's been a surface parking lot leased to U-M since 1993. So even though it's technically city parkland, no green space is being lost, and there's technically no sale of parkland involved.

A number of residents and environmentalists, including the local Sierra Club, argue a long-term repurposing of city parkland — for a train station expected to stand for decades — circumvents a 2008 city charter amendment requiring voter approval to sell parks.

"If you lose a park for 60 years, I think that's a lifetime," Anglin said. "I think to restore faith to the public for the parks, this would be a good attempt."


This is the surface parking lot in Fuller Park where Mayor John Hieftje and other council members want to build a train station against the objections of some residents who say that would represent a nearly permanent repurposing of city parkland. The city has leased the parking lot to the University of Michigan since 1993 and there are no plans of making it a usable park space anytime soon.

Photo courtesy of city of Ann Arbor

Under state law, cities can sell property designated as parks in the city's master plan with voter approval. Michigan law authorizes cities to sell the same lands without voter approval if they're removed from the city's master plan, and that's happened elsewhere in Michigan.

Ann Arbor voters in November 2008 approved a city charter amendment to ensure voter approval would be required for the sale of any land within the city that was purchased, acquired or used for parkland, regardless of whether it's part of the city's master plan.

But as some have found out, that technically doesn't protect parks in cases where ownership of the land is retained by the city, while the fundamental ability to use the property for park or recreation purposes is diminished under a long-term contractual arrangement.

"This is really much more about the long-term use, for example, for commercial purposes that really equate to a sale," Lumm said. "The 2008 amendment spoke to the requirement that, in the event a property is being considered for sale, then voters get to weigh in. So this is to address those situations where the action is similar to a sale, for all intents and purposes."

In addition to Fuller Park, Lumm fears the Huron Hills Golf Course, technically a city park, is vulnerable without the further protections offered by the proposed charter amendment.

The city considered a proposal in 2010 to privatize management of the golf course and allow a company called Miles of Golf to build an 11,000-square-foot golf center and driving range on the property. The city ultimately decided against the idea, but it left some nervous.


Mayor John Hieftje declined to offer his opinion on the proposed charter amendment, but he said he'll be pushing for postponement of its consideration Monday night.

Ryan J. Stanton |

"There was a lot of community angst over that," Anglin said. "Let's settle that."

Lumm said the proposal on the table Monday is simple.

"What's being proposed is a charter amendment to tighten up the language to address the repurposing and re-designation of parkland for non-park uses," she said.

Lumm said city officials struggled with the language for the amendment since the city does have a lot of leases for city parkland, such as a 30-year lease for the Leslie Science Center.

"We have a lease with the rowers for use of public property," she added. "And all those parking leases we have with the U of M. So the city attorney's office has been very helpful and we certainly don't want to restrict those kinds of activities or contracts."

Hieftje declined to offer his opinion on the proposed charter amendment, but he said he'll be pushing for postponement of its consideration Monday night.

He thinks it should go through the city's Park Advisory Commission first and come back to council with feedback from the parks administration.

Hieftje said he shares a similar desire to protect parkland in Ann Arbor and that's why he sponsored the original charter amendment in 2008. But he said the portion of Fuller Park in question is a unique circumstance.

If it was going to go before voters, he said, that should have happened back in 1993 when it was turned into a paved parking lot and leased to U-M.

"I can't imagine the city would now go to that spot, rip up that pavement, and turn it into a field we would have to mow," he said. "Fuller Road has always seemed to me like a situation where the horse is already out of the barn, so that's why I think it's a special site."

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.


Elmer White

Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 3:56 a.m.

Dint yins "get it"? It's not about the Flood Plain land on Fuller Road! It's about Huron Hills Golf Course (9 dismal FLAT holes on the Flood Plain versus 9 Very Nice holes up-the-hills to where the RICH REPUBLICANS live (TONY D. ARE YOU READING THIS???). With $31M salted away and two (2) Golf Courses = one in Ypsi Twp and one in the City of Chelsea, the BEST RESULT would be for the City of Ann Arbor to TRADE the Huron Hills 1/2 FAKE Golf Course for the Washtenaw County former Juvenile Detention land on South Platt. There are TONS of city parks down there (Buhr Park and Murray County Park). Then sit back and allow the County Parks Commission to spend the money to operate the one-half functional "golf course." All the Senior magazines say that A.A. is a Great Place to retire. Kindly allow the City of Ann Arbor to SELL the former Juvenile Court land to a developer who will build Senior Citizen condos (assisted by Federal funds for senior housing). Duhh . . . there is NO "futuring" among A.A. City Council members. They are SLAVES to 20th Century NIMBY and their need to retain their $16,000 a year salaries for occasional attendance at City Council meetings. More's the pity, but Hey!, I'm just a taxpayer . . . (TONY D. ARE YOU READING THIS???).


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 2:44 a.m.

I went to a water saver series at the library the other nite and I was informed that DTE has land they are going to be cleaned up and selling a portion to the public and the other to a corporation aka this new train station. I am hoping this new train station ends up here and not on park land. Although after learning about fracking this week I am really worried about how the government can just take what it wants and we are not able to vote on anything. This would include Ann Arbor denizens voting on making this land accessible to them. I would vote no and have them take the DTE land that will be available once it is ready to be sold to non private corporations. Good luck and vote no.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 1:59 a.m.

Here I think this is a bad idea. Ann Arbor is over parked and in this case we are talking about a smidgeon of parkland that is not used as a park and even if the parking lot was not there, nobody still would be using it as a park. Also, with this proposal, why not include that in order to add a new park, a vote would be needed? You need approval to sell or convert a park then get a vote to make a new one. This may be a stalling act by anti train people. Depending on what happens in November, there might not be much federal assistance funding for trains anymore.

James D'Amour

Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 2:40 a.m.

@Mick, If the powers that be choose, the parking lot on the south side of Fuller Road could easily be converted back to open space (soccer field, etc.). There WAS a soccer field east of the parking lot before the new sewer line was installed last year. As for the city being "overparked", well that should be a decision made by Ann Arbor voters and citizens (which I recall you are not from previous threads). So far, when Ann Arbor voters have spoken directly, they do not share your assessment.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 1:16 a.m.

"But he said the portion of Fuller Park in question is a unique circumstance." The Mayor can always say something is a "unique circumstance"..just so he can have his way again, and again, regardless of what the citizens feel is more important. We have a train station within a few blocks of that area, and there is other property closer to the current train station that could be "converted" for bus use and additional parking! I vote with the saner members of Council....Jane, Sabra, Mike and hopefuly Stephen will see the "light"!! ...and the other Council members will refuse to be the Mayors puppets this time on this item!! Let the citizens of Ann Arbor have a is OUR town!!


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 2:49 a.m.

Because of him we lost some very valuable homes to this city thing and now it looks like a lot of us are regretting this decision. Why did they vote to limit on what gets knocked down or not? People you need to wake up and realize Ann Arbor government is taking over and we are all like zombies not knowing what to do. Vote no and start voting for a new board. Ann Arbor government is starting to remind me of Washington.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 5:45 p.m.

I humbly ask the mayor and city council to approve Ms. Lumm's amendment. To do so will go a long way in restoring public trust in Ann Arbor city government. If it passes, you may also be surprised to find that citizens might actually support the Fuller plan in a subsequent ballot vote, if it comes to that. Ms. Lumm's amendment offers everyone a chance for win-win. Any council person that votes "No" on the Lumm amendment sends a clear message of voter contempt and disrespect. A "No" vote for the amendment will also likely translate to a "No" vote for YOU in your next election.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 2:03 a.m.

Question for you. If people do not trust city government, why do they keep electing the same folks over and over? Seems to me that indicates quite a bit of trust. And your last paragraph implies you know the thinking of voters in the precincts. How do you know that a council person that votes No is not doing so firmly convinced that is how the constituents feel? You have a poll or something to support your statement?


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 5:28 p.m.

Does anybody remember when Hieftje ran for council on a ticket of protecting our green spaces? He had a flyer that asked the voters to choose which Ann Arbor they would like to live in, as illustrated by two pictures. One was a happy family biking through a park, the other, a long line of traffic stuck in construction and road cones. The implication was that a vote for him for council was a vote for a green future, and a continuation of the "tree city" lifestyle. Of course, as long as this former real estate agent has been involved in city politics, we have lived firmly in the wrong picture. Hieftje and his council and committee buddies have presided over the biggest building boom in city history. We have spent countless hours wasting time and resources stuck in traffic, dodging road cones and potholes, and fighting to keep every available parcel from becoming a high rise or business friendly boondoggle, at our expense. Every penny collected from our substantial property taxes is spent immediately, never saved. And every procedural trick in the book has been used to get his way. A long term lease is not a sale, he says. Ok, if that is still city parkland, can I park there to enjoy the river, or do I need a Blue Tag? If you are trying to promote alternative transportation why did you build a giant car parking structure in the center of town? I am going to call it like I see it. Hieftje is a pro-business, pro-tax mayor who doesn't care one bit what the people of Ann Arbor think. He is certainly not "green", and we need to find a suitable replacement, soon.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

I agree with VOTE THEM OUT! The city council and the mayor are weak individuals who don't represent the better part of Ann Arbor but a few development-orientated minority. The Skate Board Park being planned in Vets Park is another example of the mayor and his cohorts caving to a small (albeit organized) group of pro-skate board park people instead of the vast majority of residents on the West Side of who do not want more development in Vets Park. If there was a vote there is NO WAY a skate board park would be approved at the corner of Maple and Dexter roads!! Get a clue Mayor Hieftje and your merry band of out-of-touch council members! I am a life-long Democrat but when it comes to Ann Arbor, VOTE THEM OUT!


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 4:13 p.m.

Council: Understanding transit is hard! Waaaa!! This issue is the result of poor leadership resulting in a befuddled and confused understanding of how Ann Arbor should plan for future mass transit. LISTEN UP!: The passenger rail line at Fuller is a FAILURE. It is too expensive, service is insufficient and nobody uses it except as an over priced novelty - kind of like flying to Atlanta for lunch. That may not always be the case but it is today. FORGET THE NEW TRAIN STATION - ITS A LOSER. That could change if Michigan finally builds a state wide subsidized multi billion dollar light rail system that LINKS to a passenger train rout driven by ridership data. Such an undertaking would require federal rule changes to access the matching funds, so yea, our century old Senators would have to start earning their pay for a change!! ...and the auto industry would have to stop working behind the scenes to crush serious mass transit planning.....even as they claim to be "green" (look at our solar panels!). So forget the new Fuller train station and start focusing on something that matters - a light rail system that links the university and other major population centers of Ann Arbor. ...and remember, like EVERY OTHER TRANSIT SYSTEM IN THE UNITED STATES, this is an amenity designed to attract business and improve the value of the city - it is NOT a rider funded venture. If you think riders should fund it, then it's over now.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 5:30 a.m.

shepard 145 - There is no Fuller station to fail, as of yet. But you are correct that light rail will be difficult to develop so that it would provide convenient travel times to the largest group of commuters. I have not seen maps that display the distribution of home locations for those working in Ann Arbor but traveling into Ann Arbor from elsewhere. Such vital data along with preferred travel times into Ann Arbor in the mornings and returning times in the afternoon should be accumulated and analyzed before designing a new rail system. The ideal track layout design may well require multiple branches spreading out from the central rail line and with three or four times as many trains operating simultaneously. The expense for building such a complex rail system should be prohibitive and will not be financially self-sustaining with user fees. As with most railroad lines, sizable subsidies will be required. Subsidies in the form of a millage should be a ballot item for voters who I expect will repeatedly vote a millage down. A new rail system should not be expected to cause economic expansion by itself. The only way that new businesses will be developed is if they must await availability of employees unable to get to the jobs until the rail line is complete. This scenario is extraordinary and unlikely. In reality a new light rail system will have limited number of pickup times, cut travel time between Detroit and Ann Arbor by only ten or fifteen minutes, and be convenient for only a small number of passengers who live close to railroad stations. The light rail system will be underutilized and poorly funded requiring local municipality subsidies. Little economic benefit will be attributed to the new light rail system and within ten years the populations of supporting municipalities will wish that they never heard of light rail.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 5:14 p.m.

Federal funds are mentioned over and over. Federal transit programs are FAMOUS for trying to force communities to do things that don't make any sense. …these grants are often they are thinly disguised poison pills designed as poison pills for states trying to develop new transit systems while favoring those with existing systems. Interesting that Michigan has stuck itself with some of the most senior democrat senators in the nation, they can't seem to deliver anything useful when it comes to transit (or anything else!) – see "the auto industry union lobbyists/campaign workers" and wonder why that is. Hence federal funds are trying to push Ann Arbor build a train station it does not need and that is way out of sequence. The council is poorly lead and generally a confused bunch of know it all busy bodies that simply does not know what to think – so rather then do some work, they want to punt. Simply put, focusing on a new light rail system FIRST, then considering links to a passenger train station makes much more sense then a stand alone train station with weeds growing around it. …and to say AA is one of the "busiest stations" in a bankrupt system so we should build another only makes sound economic sense to the obama government or, of course, California.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 4:47 p.m.

I agree with your statements about light rail improvements and more trains running each day and the actual purpose of a transit system, economically, to attract business and improve the city's value. This should go hand in hand with building a new train station. Ann Arbor is already THE main train stop for ridership on the notoriously underused rail line between Chicago and Detroit. I'd like to have the option to use the railway system to commute to Detroit when my work calls for it, but realistically, I cannot simply because it doesn't run at the right times for my work schedules. It's a pity that Detroit is the ONLY major city in the U.S. that doesn't have a reliable mass transit system in place. And you wonder why the city is foundering and losing population.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 4:12 p.m.

So, I'm thinking this from a couple of angles. Let me throw one out there for consideration and comment. I'm supposing that the main reason they wish to use the fuller road location is that it would allow the probablility of more train usage by U of M employees and visitors. A train station in it's current location would tend to negate that being a bit farther to walk or cab or bus from to the hospital, thereby discouraging people from utilizing the train vs. driving. A train station in that area would serve the VA hospital as well and provide incentive for future growth in that part of town. Keeping it in it's current location might not encourage any real growth in that part of town, which is already pretty developed and might discourage active use of the train system because of it's location. What do you others on this board think? Any ideas?


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 1:42 a.m.

Our current train station is only a few blocks away from the U of M Hospital complex, and many employees walk further than the location of the current station...I live in the Northside, and see them parking and walking every day to and from work. It is healthier for them to walk,,,it reduces the excess baggage some carry around their bodies! :) For those who can't walk that far, there would be buses to transport them. The University is very good about providing bus transportation!!


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 4:11 p.m.

With the majority of "City Council" memebers being an embarrassment to their positions, as well as to this community, I'd say EVERYTHING should be put to public vote!!! Last time I checked, they (are supposed to) work for US!!!


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

1) It is VERY gratifying to see a desire to act in the RESIDENTS' best interest, which I think is probably the duty of the mayor and city council members, but we haven't been seeing a lot of it. Please stay resolute, Anglin and Lumm; I hope we get a few more in there like you, before you throw up your hands and quit because a minority of sense still can't seem to get anything done right. 2) It is a sad fact that voter turnout has historically been very, very poor. However, it's an important step, a VITAL step, that we at least make it possible for CITIZENS to make the major calls, not a small group of people with already-entrenched friendships, deals, etc. 3) This is a great move, and I sure do hope it passes (being against this proposal seems to me like just another admittance that council members have selfish, or even corrupt, agendas), but it would be nice if, instead of having to maneuver politically, we could rely on council members to act in our best interest without such resolutions. The new train station debacle was clearly a bad (like so bad it was CRIMINAL) idea, in just about every way imaginable. They STILL owe us BACK those several millions spent on planning and moving that plumbing in preparation for it. This is a good added layer of protection for voters, but it would be great if their original oaths and the laws against graft, bribery, etc. were enough. Thank you Lumm and Anglin. Please, PLEASE hang in there, and don't go changing.

Vivienne Armentrout

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

I am on record (in my campaign blog) both in supporting a ballot proposal for amending the charter as described, and in opposing Fuller Park as a location for a new train station. I also wrote an op-ed for some months ago supporting the retention of the Amtrak station at its current location. It is interesting that what is up for discussion here is not really the decision about whether to build a train station on Fuller Road, but whether to allow the use of public referendum, first to require such votes with regard to permanent repurposing of parkland, and then to hold the actual vote on the specific location. This goes to how we view the process of governance in our city. There have been some recent discussions about this in comment threads elsewhere. As I recount in my post , some current and past elected officials have expressed the view that the only citizen referendum should be at the time those officials are up for election or reelection. I believe that some major decisions should be considered for voter approval too, in the spirit of Michigan traditions. We'd have to have a discussion about what "major decisions" are. In this case, the voters have already approved a charter amendment to require such approval for sale of parkland, and this new proposal merely addresses a loophole that was not anticipated at the time of the original ballot measure.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 2:46 p.m.

Thanks to the council members already supporting this measure. If your council member isn't on that list yet, right now would be a great time to send them an e-mail and let them know that they need to get behind this measure. It seems like the only reason that they wouldn't would be if they wanted to improperly circumvent the voters.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 2:42 p.m.

Jane; You are my hero. Can you run against that buffoon currently pretending to be a mayor?


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 1:31 a.m.

Jane, I second EyeHeartA2's motion!! I'd vote for you too! We need some sanity in the Mayoral Office!!


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 3:51 p.m.

I wonder if he even votes in Mayoral elections? Hieftje seems to follow obamas strategy of trying to conceal the fact that he has no idea what he's doing by refusing to vote, comment or lead. ...which explains why he is such a great fit for Ann Arbor!


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 2:39 p.m.

Ballot initiatives over issues Council should decide indicates they are poorly chaired and once again NOT DOING THEIR JOBS so punt to "the people". Interesting that when voting on their WORST IDEAS like the absurd "green statement" or the accident causing crosswalk ordinance, they had no doubt about their wisdom as junior traffic engineers.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

I guess not all of the city's surface parking lots were created equal. The mayor would have us believe that five year parking leases on park land (which are renewed by his handpicked, non-elected Parks Advisory Commission) should be considered permanent, irreversible decisions. Whereas the surface lots being erected downtown (old Y lot and Library lot for example) are considered temporary. Thanks for the clarification.

Denise Heberle

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 1:43 p.m.

There it is - the point I was looking for. "Whether you agree that the Fuller Road site should be an Amtrak station or not, it is in your best interests to avoid allowing the use of that land to set a precedent that applies to all parks."


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

With the trust and transparency of our elected city council I am sure that they would never screw the voters over! After all, we elected, they are so much smarter than us, It's really too bad they have to be elected at all! Lets go build the Mayor John Hieftje Transportation Centre!


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 1:28 a.m.

I do hope you are being sarcastic xmo!


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 5:05 p.m.

Ha ha

Linda Peck

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 1:08 p.m.

I think the Mayor is overreacting to the bring it to the voters question. It illustrates where he misses when it comes to his interface with the citizens of Ann Arbor. He does not trust us to make good decisions and wants to make all of them for us, is my guess. We as citizens who pay for these parklands should have a say in how they are used if not for parklands. There are other places this station could go, and perhaps this parking lot is a good space, but it needs to be brought to the public for a decision. Not everything that happens in this town has to come from the City Council and the Mayor's office. Thank you Jane, Mike, and Sabra, and possibly Stephen and others for supporting the citizens.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

People want to rein in this city council and mayor because they need to be reined in. The mayor's line of reasoning, "If it was going to go before voters, he said, that should have happened back in 1993 when it was turned into a paved parking lot and leased to U-M," is non-sensical. According to a recent article from Contrate (, the WALLY line from Howell to Ann Arbor could be completed without any train station on Fuller Road. The station could be somewhere near Plymouth and Barton Road where the tracks owned by the Great Lakes Central Railroad end. This council has the opportunity to bring some sanity back to the city. I encourage all the council members to support the proposal from Jane Lumm, Sabra Briere and Mike Anglin.

Vivienne Armentrout

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

Of course I meant "cost".

Vivienne Armentrout

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

Actually, WALLY, if it is ever established, would not and is not planned to run through the Fuller Road site. The tracks don't go there. The Fuller Road station would serve only the East-West rail line(s). A WALLY station would be located in the Barton Road area, at an additional coast to any new station built to serve Amtrak and a future E-W commuter rail (which is not currently funded). I've been trying to keep this blog post current on the subject. Looks like time for another update.

Jack Eaton

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

The Fuller Road site that has been proposed for use as a new Amtrak station has been under "temporary' lease to the University Hospitals for nearly 20 years. That surface lot, however, could easily be removed or reduced in size to allow greater recreational use of the property. On the other hand, repurposing the site from temporary surface parking lot to permanent Amtrak train station site would preclude recreational use of the land for the foreseeable future. Arguments can be made in favor and against using the land for an Amtrak station. To shift the designated purpose of the land from the Parks and Recreation Open Space Plan (PROS Plan) to a transit use would establish a precedent that would apply to all park lands in the PROS Plan, from our golf courses to our neighborhood parks. Whether you agree that the Fuller Road site should be an Amtrak station or not, it is in your best interests to avoid allowing the use of that land to set a precedent that applies to all parks. If the proposal to provide additional protections for our parks is placed on the ballot and if it receives approval by the voters, that does not end the discussion about the use of the Fuller Road site for the Amtrak station. It merely adds a precondition that the voters approve that use of that land before it can proceed. The Council should not fear the voters. If indeed the Fuller Road site is the best location for a new Amtrak station, there should be no difficulty convincing voters to approve the new use of that site. Conversely, if the Council is afraid that the voters would not approve the repurposing of the park, then the Council should not act in a manner that tries to circumvent the public's preference. I hope Council will give voters the chance to provide additional protections to our parks by placing this amendment on the November ballot.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 10 p.m.

Mr. Eaton, I appreciate your comments in this article, as well as others recently posted by It is refreshing to see someone from our 4th ward, who is able to communicate. Best of luck to you in the primary on August...see you in November!

Ron Granger

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 12:44 p.m.

Let the people vote! This parking structure was a complete boondoggle - the majority of the parking would have been reserved for the University. Where would the public train users have parked? Would we have repurposed more parkland for parking later? It was just a farce and abuse of our park land.


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 2:54 a.m.

Park land is public land and can be sold at any given time to any individual including corporations and government to do what they want when they want it when ever they want it. This includes government selling land to individuals that do not benefit us. This includes the fracking going on in Saline because everyone wants money and wants to be do gooders. Very scary to think about this.

Ron Granger

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 4:14 p.m.

Not the land. That was a gift from Ann Arbor taxpayers. What's the point of building a structure on park land if it cannot accomodate the land-owning users for it's intended purpose? I mean, really.. Build a transit station but make most of the parking private?


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 4:04 p.m.

The University was going to pay for their portion of the building/parking as well, though, correct ?

Common Sense

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

I agree that the issue should be placed on the ballot for a vote by the citizens. Personally, I think the present train station location should be kept in place! What needs to be done is to look at that whole area from Main St. to the Gandy Dancer and the DTE land to the north of the tracks to the river. Take a look at this site on Google maps and let's think outside the box and be creative! Let's provide direct access to the north parking lot by a walkway going directly across the tracks at ground level (this is done in some Swiss train stations with appropriate safety precautions and pedestrian crossing gates), rather than climbing up and down the stairs and over the bridge especially during the winter! If it comes to a vote, I WOULD VOTE AGAINST THE FULLER ROAD LOCATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 2:55 a.m.

I agree vote no. Keep government out of our land and our business.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 1:10 p.m.

"Let's provide direct access to the north parking lot by a walkway going directly across the tracks at ground level (this is done in some Swiss train stations with appropriate safety precautions and pedestrian crossing gates), rather than climbing up and down the stairs and over the bridge especially during the winter!" Bad idea. Your assumption that we are as disciplined as the Swiss is misguided. We are lazy though... :-)


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 12:22 p.m.

Thank you Jane Lumm !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 12:07 p.m.

Mayor - if Fuller Rd. is a "special site" then you should have no trouble convincing the voters to approve its repurposing. While we're being democratic how about we put that "1% for art" up for a vote?


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 11:47 a.m.

i agree we need to protect our parks. we have great parks and two great golf courses. i hope this will pass. lets see what happens. i am sure people will notice the voting.

Stephen Landes

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 11:28 a.m.

The reason this amendment is necessary is because we cannot trust elected officials (like our current mayor and the majority on city council) to respect the wishes of citizens even when those wishes are already expressed in a charter amendment! Who would have thought that amending our charter to prohibit the sale of parkland would be insufficient to prevent the political clique that runs Ann Arbor from finding a way around it by claiming that what amounts to a perpetual lease is not essentially the same thing as a sale of parkland? When I worked with heavy equipment acquisition we had company rules about renting vs leasing vs buying: one could not "rent" a piece of equipment long-term to avoid having to execute a lease -- no way around having to declare having to capitalize a lease and declare it as an asset. In business stuff like that was called "hiding the wienie" because it was just a way to keep things from the auditors. The mayor and council are just trying to keep things from the public so they can pursue their own agenda instead of OUR agenda. VOTE THEM OUT!


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 11:26 a.m.

The tax paying voters of Ann Arbor need to take back our city from a city government that doesn't listen.


Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 11:11 a.m.

Amendments to Charters and Constitutions can be bad ways to make policy, as can ballot questions in general -- look at the seven or eight ballot questions Michiganders are facing this fall -- but this Mayor and his supporting Council majority need reigning in. They don't seem to listen well, so forcing the question might be the right answer. Or, the simpler solution is to elect the challengers this August so that Council won't just be the Mayor's rubber stamp committee!


Mon, Jul 16, 2012 : 12:27 a.m.

This is an excellent suggestion! When I presented this issue to my teenage son, he got it better than our current city council does. Fuller Road is not a good site, have you ever tried to turn around on Fuller from the Fuller Pool? It is horrible... and you want to add more traffic? But we already have appropriate space, not far from this area.... use it? No wonder cities are in such financial trouble with leaders who fail to use common sense!

Stephen Landes

Sun, Jul 15, 2012 : 11:30 a.m.

I agree with you in general, but sometimes we find out that there is a weak spot in our charter that needs fixing. I believe this is one of those times.