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Posted on Thu, May 24, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

South University Park to get makeover thanks to $50,000 donation from Ann Arbor couple

By Ryan J. Stanton

A small park at the corner of Walnut Street and South University Avenue, aptly named South University Park, is getting a makeover thanks to a generous citizen donation.

The Ann Arbor City Council this week approved a $39,575 contract with Terra-Firma Landscape Inc., as well as a $3,958 contingency budget, to make improvements to the park, which contains trees and shrubs, a small half basketball court, and a bench and kiosk.

Council Member Jane Lumm noted the project is being funded thanks to a $50,000 donation from Leslie and Michael Morris, who used to live by the park and would like to see improvements to make it more attractive and usable.

Leslie Morris, a former city park commissioner, served as a Democrat on the City Council from 1977 to 1983 and was an honorary co-chair of Lumm's campaign last year.

South University Park once housed a small playground and was more actively used by the neighborhood when it was populated by young families, city officials said.

The neighborhood now consists primarily of University of Michigan student housing and the park is used for the basketball court and as a cut-through to a bus stop.

The corner bench is rarely used, city officials said, and the kiosk is in poor condition and not serving its intended use.

The proposed upgrades include removal of trees and shrubs that are overgrown and invasive, replacement of the basketball court, removal of the bench and kiosk, and installation of three new benches along a new concrete walk that bisects the park. Also included in the plans are a new picnic table and native flowering trees and shrubs.


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.


Woman in Ypsilanti

Thu, May 24, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

What a nice gift to the city and people of Ann Arbor!


Thu, May 24, 2012 : 12:03 p.m.

I remember I once sat on the bench in this park and drank a beer and ate cheetos with a homeless guy.

Linda Peck

Thu, May 24, 2012 : 11:07 a.m.

Thank you Leslie and Michael Morris!

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, May 24, 2012 : 10:38 a.m.

Kudos to Leslie and Michael Morris for their public spirit and generosity!!