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Posted on Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 5:55 a.m.

The newest idea for Ypsilanti's Water Street: An $8 million to $10 million county recreation center

By Tom Perkins


The city of Ypsilanti cleared vacant buildings from a parcel of land known as the Water Street property. Now, officials hope to build a recreation center there.

Angela J. Cesere | file

Washtenaw County officials are beginning to push for a new recreation center to be built on Ypsilanti’s Water Street property. The $8 million to $10 million recreation center could spur Water Street development and serve as the centerpiece in a series of area parks linked by the eastern Washtenaw County Border to Border Trail, its planners say.

Last week, the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission discussed the possibility of building the new 50,000-square-foot recreation facility on a parcel of Water Street along the Huron River.

Officials on all sides underscored that the idea is only being discussed, but Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Director Bob Tetens said all the discussions have been positive and the Parks and Recreation Commission “has given the green light” to begin exploring the possibility.

The 38-acre Water Street site is adjacent to downtown Ypsilanti, off Michigan Avenue. Tetens said a recreation center would need 10 to 12 acres of that property, ideally along the Huron River, which flows into Ford Lake less than a mile downstream. The city recently cleared Water Street of its remaining abandoned buildings and Tetens called the property a “diamond in the rough."

“Having a river and lake in the heart of an urban area is so rare and valuable and special that we need to take advantage of this,” he said. “There’s a lot of opportunity here. It could take a couple years to pull this off, but in the end it will be a catalyst for development.”

Janis Bobrin, a Parks and Recreation commissioner and Washtenaw County Water Resources commissioner, said the center could be a "huge community asset" and is pleased that it would be designed to be sensitive to the river.

"We have one recreation center already, but the eastern part of the county has been growing and could use a similar facility," she said. "And this is a terrific opportunity to help launch an economic recovery in that area of Ypsilanti."

Tetens said he couldn’t offer any details on the center’s facilities, but it would likely include a fitness center, a gymnasium and a pool, and is a similar concept to the Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center on Washtenaw Avenue in Ann Arbor.

The building would be framed by small urban parks, Tetens said, and he envisions taking advantage of access to the river and the Border to Border Trail, which runs through Water Street.

Tetens said there is no specific timeline, but the center could be built and open in 2013 at the earliest.

How to proceed with attracting development to Water Street has been a source of debate among Ypsilanti City Council members. The city started acquiring parcels of the property in 2001 with the expectation that it would quickly attract mixed-use development.

Officials thought that development would add to the tax rolls and pay off the bond issued to fund the purchase. The development never came, and the city made its first bi-annual debt service payment of $476,000 last May. The city faces $31 million in debt after it refinanced the bond in 2006, as well as bi-annual payments that will grow to $1.3 million through 2031.


A section of the Water Street property along the Huron River where a recreation center could be built.

Tom Perkins | For

City Council rejected a developer's proposal to put a Burger King on the site last April.

Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber said he has only had one informal conversation with City Manager Ed Koryzno about the idea, but said it fit his vision for the property more than a Burger King would have.

“I think it would be a very interesting idea if it were seriously proposed,” he said.

Because the recreation center would be a county building, it would be exempt from paying city taxes. Koryzno said the City Council would have to decide whether it wants a building that doesn’t contribute taxes and whether it's the type of project that would attract other development.

Tetens said he expects such a center would attract development, and pointed to similar river development projects in Detroit, Lansing and Battle Creek. He said developers are afraid to be the first to build on such a property, and the center would address that issue.

“The objective is to get more people downtown, and more people to the river,” he said.

Bob Marans, president of the Parks and Recreation Commission, agreed. Marans is also a registered architect, professor emeritus in the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and the county representative on the Metro Parks Board of Commissioners.

“I think it could be one of the most significant things to happen in the city of Ypsilanti since I’ve been in Washtenaw County, and I’ve been here 40 years,” he said. “It could be a catalyst for all kinds of new development. All you have to do is look at what the YMCA has done for the east side of Ann Arbor, and you can imagine what this might do for downtown Ypsilanti.”

Marans said the center could serve as a focal point in a string of parks running from Ford Lake up the Huron River to Peninsular Place Park near Huron River Drive and LeForge Road. The site is just to the north of Ford Lake Park, and Tetens recently met with the chairman of the state transportation commission to discuss building a pedestrian bridge connecting Ford Lake Park and Water Works Park on either side of the I-94 bridge.

Additionally, Angstrom, which recently purchased the former Visteon Plant, has agreed to donate a portion of land along the river that could be utilized for the Border to Border Trail and park space.

North of Water Street, Washtenaw Parks and Recreation and the city of Ypsilanti are building a pedestrian bridge underneath the Michigan Avenue bridge that will link the Border to Border Trail to Riverside and Frog Island Park. Beyond Frog Island Park, the Border to Border Trail turns into bike lanes through the city.

Washtenaw Parks and Recreation has been planning a recreation center in the eastern part of the county for several years, and eventually would like to build one on the western side, Tetens said.The organization is funded by a millage, and the project would partially be paid for with money from its fund balance. The rest would be covered by bonding, Tetens said.

The millage is set to expire in 2014, and Tetens said Parks and Recreation must also decide whether to wait to build until it is assured of continued funding or build based on past success in renewing millages.

Washtenaw County Commissioner Rolland Sizemore has played a central role in the recent discussion. He said he plans to work with local officials and county commissioners to make the project a reality.


A proposed recreation center in Ypsilanti could be modeled on Washtenaw County's Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center.

Ann Arbor News file

“We feel it brings something to the city that residents need and deserve, and the key is working together,” Sizemore said.

Koryzno said the project could offer some benefits.

“If the council determined that the recreation center could locate here in the city, it could address recreation needs, potentially spur additional development in Water Street, and contribute to creating a sense of place,” he said.

Ypsilanti Council Member Brian Robb said the idea has been discussed for several months and he’s “glad that it it's out in the open and we can have a public discussion.”

Tetens said the next step is to meet with Koryzno and county commissioners this week. He said once the concept is solidified and approved, they will move into a design phase in which public input will be sought.

He said graduate students from Eastern Michigan University and U-M might be tapped for assistance with planning and design.

“There’s an opportunity to have a lot of partners in this, and I hope everybody recognizes its value,” Tetens said. ”The more momentum we can get behind it, the better.”

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.


Forest City

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

People are missing the point. If a Rec Center was such a great idea, why doesn't a private company build one? On the flip side, why does the County want to spend so much money to build one? In this day and age of police and fire cuts, shouldn't the County spend money to shore up these vital services?


Mon, Apr 25, 2011 : 8:23 p.m.

@peter, so then it is OK for a .gov entity or .gov run organization to lose money, as long as it is tax payer money?????? WOW are you kidding me???

Peter Baker

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 9:59 p.m.

Because great ideas aren't always profitable, which is the only reason a private company would do it.

Dante Marcos

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 1:23 p.m.

I support this initiative, on one condition: that the City stipulate the center be LEED-certified, and good-looking. In other words, the design should materialize from an open-call process, in which actual architects (and not corporate engineers or EMU students) are invited to submit proposals. If something of this nature is to occupy such a prominent piece of Ypsilanti property, it should be as interesting, beautiful, and green as possible, and not look like another beige, stucco, strip-mall edifice. It should also include a massive-as-possible community garden site, as has been achieved with the property adjacent to the Rec Center on Washtenaw.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 1:08 p.m.

I often take my kids to Romulus Aquatic/Recreation Center and the Summit. Both facilities are beautiful. I think a combination of the 2 would be great! It would also bring jobs to the community. It would be a place for our teens/children to go that is safe while doing something other than sitting playing on the computer or video games.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 12:19 p.m.

What a great idea. Thank you Roland Sizemore and the Washtenaw County Commissioners.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 12:07 p.m.

@ cash....Normally I agree with most of what you post but in this case I believe that spending the ten million dollars to update the downtown area would be a better way to spend the money. Not only would it provide jobs(workers pay taxes) but it could also be a means to bring new businesses to the Downtown Area. A quick drive down Michigan Ave through Ypsilanti tells us that the area needs to be improved. Do you think that reducing education, reducing police and fire protection will do anything to make Ypsilanti a desirable place to locate. REC CENTERS do not make or break a city. I've always been proud of Ypsilanti as a "Blue Collar" city and as a young man would go to downtown. Now you can drive through the heart of the city and see empty building that are run down and waiting for some Venture Capitalist to come along and fill them with excitement again.

Jay Thomas

Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 12:54 a.m.

Please. I'm not going to Ypsi to work out. This is just an Ypsilanti recreation center that we are all being made to pay for. Just like many other services located in Ypsi (homeless shelters, food banks, etc, etc) and paid for from county taxes.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

There are no shelters or food banks in Ypsi. Those are all in Ann Arbor.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 11:47 p.m.

I'm not familiar with the Summit in Canton , but the A2 rec center is a wonderful place. I'm guessing the Summit is more extravagant than Washtenaw Parks and Recreation can afford, while keeping fees affordable.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 10:45 p.m.

<a href=",-parks--trails-82/" rel='nofollow'>,-parks--trails-82/</a> Duck Lake Another idea?

Sandy Castle

Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 10:08 p.m.

Nothing like a community rec center to make it more desireable AND it's a show of faith from the county for that entire area. I think that would be a draw for business, as well. Downtown Ypsilanti is really quite a nice place to visit. There are some really great businesses already there. Beezy's has wonderful, homemade food, Ypsi Studio is a great place to workout, there's the Ypsi Cycle shop and The Rocket for unique gifts, and Haabs has great food, plus you're a hop, skip and a jump from the great eateries and brewpubs in the Depot Town area.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 7:38 p.m.

I approve of this idea. It should definitely be considered. Based on the not-so-wonderful, but tax-paying businesses and homes on the Water Street property several years ago, I can live with 1/3 of the land going towards a positive asset to the community that will: 1. Bring people into town to recreate and provide fitness activities in the dead of winter. 2. Provide and maintain additional public access to the natural resource of the Huron River. 3. Attract high-density residential or even commercial development close to the center. 4. etc.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 7:11 p.m.

Just build some soccer fields for now. It wouldn't be horribly expensive and they are in constant demand. It would certainly bump the ice cream sales at the close by Dairy Queen. Then, if they ever want to build a commercial bulding on that spot, they could. In the mean time, the fields could be rented out.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 6:04 p.m.

I love this idea. I think having a facility like Ann Arbor's Rec Center in Ypsilanti would be a great for the community. I can understand not wanting to drop another piece of property off the tax rolls, but having some sort of attraction for the Water St. area certainly won't hurt future development. As a side note, I don't use the Rec Center in Ann Arbor because it's inconvenient for me. So having a similar facility nearby would be awesome from my perspective - I imagine there are plenty of other people who live in the Ypsi area that feel the same way.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 5:41 p.m.

The Ypsilanti area has a number of gym and recreational centers already. There are rec centers at WCC and EMU that sell memberships to the general public (I know they are not cheap, but who is to say this would be affordable?) There is the Clark Road center and many community programs during the summer with fitness classes, adult sport leagues, etc. Merri Lou Murray isn't that far for those close to Ann Arbor and Canton isn't far for those in Superior Township. If you're jsut looking for a gym, there is Planet Fitness on Washtenaw which is incredibly affordable. I lvoe rec centers - but isn't there a bit of glut of fitness/recreational facilities around here already?

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 8:14 p.m.

make that $200 at the Washtenaw County Rec department now. I guess its going up 20 bucks.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 8:02 p.m.

EMU has sold public memberships for quite some time. I want to think a few years in fact. They are a bit pricy however at $402 a year at the moment...then you have to park. The Washtenaw County Rec department is only $180 on a renewal basis.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 7:11 p.m.

EMU doesn't sell memberships to the public unless that has changed this is for students/staff/emeritus only


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 5:03 p.m.

It's obvious that Ann is practicing selected censorship again. Please tell me why my comment violated your conversation guidelines. No profanity. No name calling. Just a little sarcasm regarding what I would consider a poor use of County money. What the people in Ypsilanti and the county need are good paying jobs not another park. They need a tax base to provide more and better services for the citizens of Ypsilanti. They need funding for their police force and schools. Hey, Maybe we can get the money from Snyder's &quot;Pure Michigan&quot; fund. Anther &quot;money saving&quot; idea would be to privatize the County Commissioners.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 5:43 p.m.

And if you don't bring people downtown you will never have a tax base again. No one will invest in a business without customers. Those who have tried and given up their life savings to do so, working 24X7 trying to make it....lost.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 5:29 p.m.

I was thinking the same thing.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

I like the idea of a modern exercise facility on the south side of Ypsilanti. I currently use the rec center on Clark Road but it does not have a pool or a workout room. All I can do there is take an evening exercise class. Many exercise classes are held in rooms that were not designed for that purpose so there is a slight level of discomfort level as a result. Why can't the new rec center have a few stores where you can buy juices, salads, protein bars, vitamins and exercise equipment, like yoga mats and weights? The stores could be privately owned and operated and taxable. I used to live in Dearborn and belonged to their recreation center, which was very nice.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 5:41 p.m.

Actually it would be downtown just on the east bank of the Huron River. I do like the idea of leasing out space for a food spot inside of it for some revenue.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 4:10 p.m.

The big question is how are you going to pay for it? From what I read the proposal is that every taxpayer in Washtenaw County will pay for it and continue to pay the maintenance for as long as it exists. A city project yes, a county project no.

dading dont delete me bro

Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

nice idea, but i have 3 words... rutherford swimming pool. city can't afford to do maintain that on a regular basis. how are they going to afford a recreation complex? i don't see people lining up for memberships in downtown ypsilanti with the police numbers being whittled(sp?) down...


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 1:09 a.m.

What Steve said. The city would not pay for it but would benefit from it, as would all of the businesses downtown.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 7:28 p.m.

I would go there, too - much easier to get to than the AA one for me, and closer to my house. My church is just a few blocks away from this site, as is my car dealer, and I don't feel nervous at either location...


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 5:40 p.m.

Me too Steve. This would be great.

steve h

Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 3:53 p.m.

and while I'm here, I for one would get a membership. I spend time in downtown Ypsilanti and I haven't had any concerns with crime. You people should get out more often and quit reading the propaganda here.

steve h

Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

Do you people not read the articles? It would be county facility like the county facility on Washtenaw in Ann Arbor. The city of A2 doesn't pay for upkeep on the county rec center, the county does. duh


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 3:08 p.m.

Why is this a county-funded development? This sounds so much like something Ypsi should be funding on its own -- to bring more development downtown, provide services for Ypsi residents, etc. I see, of course, that the county has deeper resources than Ypsi, but beyond that -- is there a history of the county funding development-sparking ventures in other towns?


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

The Merry Lou Merry Recreation Center in Ann Arbor is part of Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation and thus not funded by the City of Ann Arbor. Since the Ann Arbor center can be accessed by bus as well as by private vehicle, I think site selection in Ypsilanti should take such access into consideration.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 5:39 p.m.

Hmmmmm, the eastern half of Washtenaw County pays County taxes as well.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

As a resident, my emotions are somewhat torn-- I like the idea of our limited river frontage being a public use asset, and not hidden in the backyards of look-a-like condos. However, my gut-feeling is that this idea is completely at odds with &quot;The Plan&quot; long designed for this site. The idea was to generate more taxable base for the city-- A city with a very small geographic footprint to begin with. Heck, Eastern Michigan already takes up one quarter of the city's footprint as it is. My one original thought on this (back when water street was first proposed) was to add even further to this hope for redevelopement, by adding the little used Gilbert Park in as well-- As it stands now, other than a small cadre of &quot;hipsters&quot; playing frisbee golf, this park is under-utilized, dotted with used condoms, and a liquor bottle strewn eyesore. This could add additional acreage to the Water street plan that might allow for a County maintained entity. Just my two cents, as we'll probably have one of those new EFM's in place soon anyway, who will sell off as many of our public assets as they can-- and they will do with Water street (and our parks) as they see fit. Won't it be nice driving by the water tower in the near future with its new high-def billboard blazing forth its ads for all to see.............


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

Yeah, Midtowner the Water Tower comment was meant as pure snark-- I will grant you since YCUA is part of a multi-community authority, it's probably outside of the grabby hands of any future EFM, but on the other hand but I wouldn't put it past them! As to the Waterworks reference, technically ya got me there too-- But in my own fantasy urban renewal plan, I'd actually give over Waterworks, the abutting Gilbert and land west to Chidester, rework most of the property east to Grove as well-- Just dreaming though-- Gotta give ya the floodplane scenario too, really there has been questions about that even in regards to the Water street plan as stated-- That area has flooded before, and just last year (late spring?) Riverside Park flooded its banks for better than a week, just north of the projected Water Street site....


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 2:57 p.m.

YCUA owns the water tower. You probably don't mean Gilbert Park either. You must mean Waterworks Park. Too bad it's in a flood plain. I also agree with you about &quot;The Plan.&quot; City council should stick to the plan and adopt the zoning already and quit dragging their feet. People are going to start moving back to the cities as gas prices rise. This land is too valuable to give to the county.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 2:14 p.m.

I am so thrilled to hear this. Ypsilanti really needs a shot in the arm boost such as this. It would also help vitalize the Heritage Festival in August as well. Can't wait to have something like this in our area. The YTRD is great off Clark Road but to add to this is a boon. I would vote for this one.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 2:01 p.m.

Interesting idea however it is still putting lipstick on a pig. Ypsilanti, at least &quot;that part&quot; of it, is really not a desirable place to go for anything other than the occasional festival.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 1:06 a.m.

I think it's plenty desirable. It's why my husband and I bought, and are living in, a building downtown. Great things are happening in Ypsi, and a rec center would be another of those.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 5:38 p.m.

Well then as a community we need to work to make it desirable don't we?


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

Anyone saying &quot;another government building that doesn't pay taxes&quot; don't have a clue about how this draws people into the community. An excellent example is the library in Dexter. Nine years ago the library board proposed building a new library on a greenfield in Scio Township. The community rejected the initial bond millage attached to the proposal and demanded the library find a location in the Village of Dexter in the downtown. Even though land had been sought for years, three parcels were found and purchased, removing them from the tax rolls. However, the library literally brings hundreds of people into the Village everyday, and there is not a single business person in the Village that thinks it has been unsuccessful or that the draw is not a huge asset to the community. A Rec Center on the Water Street property could be a similar catalyst for Ypsi. Also, the project is only slated for less than 1/3 of the entire acreage available. The Rec Center can be a huge draw for developers to build around, especially with access to the BTB. Developers could definitely build to the original vision of the Water Street with mixed retail and residential. Access to a park, rec center, and the water could be a fantastic draw and centerpiece for a resurgent Ypsi. I would love to see that happen.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 12:30 p.m.

EMU is only slated for 1/3 the geographic area of Ypsi and we all love what that non-tax paying entity is contributing to the city.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 1:14 p.m.

No sale or use of Water Street property = no property taxes for Water Street = bankruptcy/receivership for Ypsilanti. If we don't bring people downtown, NOTHING will be developed on that property or the rest of the downtown area for that matter.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

For sure!!! I am all for this idea.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 2:14 p.m.

What he said. I agree 100%. Wanna go out for ice cream afterwards?


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

County rec center = no property taxes for Water Street = bankruptcy/receivership for Ypsilanti. The long term plan was to pay down the debt associated with Water Street with the taxes generated by development there. If this thing gets built, that's $10-12 million of otherwise taxable real estate that will have to be made up somewhere else. What's the financial plan to make this work and keep Ypsilanti out of receivership?


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

There are some small cities that have had successful redevelopment. They have common factors: -Green spaces and parks -Encourage pedestrian and bike traffic and slow car traffic. Often they have plazas where people can gather and community events can take place. -Prohibit drive through businesses. -Support the arts in a way that the entire community can enjoy. -Keep signs small. -Public transportation. Wherever people walk, they stop and make purchases. People enjoy living in a town where there are positive activities within walking distance. More people moving into an area will increase economic revenues of the shops in that area. Since few large businesses pay taxes, housing provides most of the tax base for cities and communities. Having a community where they live encourages people to shop there and not go to larger shopping areas. One business we could do without in downtown Ypsi is Deja Vu. It is not conducive to pedestrian traffic to have to be concerned about stepping on used condoms on the sidewalk.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 1:01 p.m.

I appreciate the concerns those folks have about the tax issue...a recreation facility would pay no tax. The question is would using 26%-33% of the property for a tax exempt recreation center &quot;prime the pump&quot; to get tax paying development on the other (+/-) 70%? Thats a question without a clear answer. But I will say the status quo doesn't seem to be working.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 8:50 p.m.

Craig, no guarantees in life at all! No SE Mich river is going to compare to the Two Hearted or the Fox. :-) But our winters are shorter, so I'll take the Huron.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 7:46 p.m.

The catalyst for other business in that acreage would be a rec center not a walking trail along a polluted river to I-94. And I stand by the statement i made that there are no guarantees.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 7:10 p.m.

Craig, the article says the Rec Ctr would be a part of a string of interconnected parks.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 7:03 p.m.

&quot;Creating green areas and eliminating drive through businesses does prime the pump&quot; we are talking about building a recreation center.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 1:16 p.m.

Check out articles about San Luis de Obispo in California and other towns that have successfully redeveloped. Creating green areas and eliminating drive through businesses does prime the pump


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 12:59 p.m.

Just this week I was discussing with some friends how if we could add one thing to Ypsi, it just might be a Rec Center. I would fully support this venture. There are so many kids in Ypsi who could benefit from having a positive environment to spend their time, in addition to the benefits of being active. And even though the building would not be taxable, I can't see this hurting development on Water Street. As it stands, there is no taxable buisness there, and there is less likely to be any if we say no to good ideas like this one. While finances have to be considered I also think it's important for us to consider what we want our Ypsilanti to look like. And i would rather have a downtown centered around good projects that encourage a positive environment rather than a strip of fast food chains, taxes included.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

Drive through businesses do just that...encourage people to drive by and go somewhere else


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

Well said, Joel. Bringing customers to the downtown area could spur some business growth around the rec center as well.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 12:57 p.m.

so a city that has huge financial problems is looking to bring in a property that will be run by a govt entity that won't be paying taxes on the property, will increase service load on already understaffed police and fire, sounds like a typical ypsi city idea.LOL


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 1:48 p.m.

Morninggirl- yep if the city is in on it (ie selling the land to a tax excempt entity) then yea it is a &quot;ypsi city idea&quot; too, which BTW is a poorly thought out plan. Realize that with all the university property, churchs, other county/state properties, city properties (public housing etc) and properties that the city has given a tax abatement too that only aprox 50% of the property in the city is taxable. If I am not mistaken the largest tax payer currently is the evil De Ja Vu, LOL. As for bringing people to Ypsi to spend their money I dont see a rec center doing that. I have been to the Romulus rec center close to 100 times and have NEVER stopped for even a gatorade at the corner gas station let alone gone to a resturant or other business while there. Other ideas for water st that have been passed up: 1)Burger King, wanted 1 acre and would pay close to 400k for it plus 30-40k a year in taxes. Plus I could almost gaurntee that there would be other interested parties if they had gone in (no one wanted to be the first, LOL). 2) Minor league baseball facility (from what many say this was a very serious discussion), was shot down as it is 'seasonal&quot; even though they pay taxes year round. 3) Aldi's grocery store (no other grocery in ypsi) but they pulled out when they did their studies to see who the clintel and employee pool would be. As for increased police and fire runs, even if there is an increase of 12 peryear (one a month) on a property that does not pay for city services (through taxes) then that is to many. knowing the city the way I do, I'm guessing that there would be an increase of aprox 50 callers/year. For a cash a strapped city like Ypsi this is not the way to do it. You can either 1) increase revenue (through taxes and fees) and/or 2) cut spending (through cutting services). This would do neither by decreasing potential revenue and by increasing speanding through increase of city services used.


Tue, Apr 19, 2011 : 1:02 a.m.

It's not an &quot;Ypsi idea&quot;; it's a county idea. And as someone who lives very close to the property, I think it's a great idea.,

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 9:52 p.m.

I've never been to the Fifth Quarter. I have been to Frasiers and Banfields regularly and also have been to Aubrie's, Sidetrack and the Corner Brewery. Your assumption that somehow east Washtenaw County residents won't behave at the gym is a bit presumptuous.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 1:56 p.m.

Craig it's two totally different areas.Thats like comparing Frasier's Pub to Fifth Quarter

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 1:11 p.m.

As a regular at the Rec center on Platt and Washtenaw I don't see the police and fire department in there much at all so I'm not sure your point in that regard.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

jjc, What are examples of &quot;ypsi city idea?&quot; similar to this? I didn't know of any other ideas for this property other than trying to sell it.

Wolf's Bane

Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 12:55 p.m.

Not a bad idea, but first I would do a study to determine if you have enough folks interested in having such a facility.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 12:50 p.m.

What about the extra law enforcement that would be needed ? Sorry not to be PC, but thats right in the middle of the two highest crime areas in the county.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 1:20 p.m.

Studies on reducing crime indicate that green areas and pedestrian traffic reduce crime.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 12:42 p.m.

No county building will be paying taxes. Do we really want a building that won't be paying taxes anywhere near Water Street? There are more than enough county buildings in the city that don't pay taxes. You can't throw a stick in Ypsi without hitting a church that doesn't pay taxes. Lure a bloody building that will pay taxes!!!


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 1:05 p.m.

Thomas, How do you lure a &quot;bloody building&quot; to an area with no foot traffic? In order to lure businesses they need paying customers.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 12:18 p.m.

Great idea. And I agree with &quot;thehawk&quot;, look to the Summit in Canton for some ideas. It's like a city center as much as it is a recreation area. With the library and city hall downtown it would be similar. However, add in the businesses within walking distance and it would be even better. Talk about a jump start to downtown.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 12:08 p.m.

Oh good! I was afraid that Ypsilanti was going to follow through with its threat to have tax and job generating business on this land.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 12:55 p.m.

The land has been for takers. Business owners have tried to make Downtown Ypsi come to life and it hasn't worked. There are NO people downtown. Traffic whizzes by and no one stops. If we want business in Ypsilanti we have to bring the people there. This development could do it. Right now, no one would invest in an area where there is no foot traffic.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : noon

Another chuck of real estate being placed on the permanent tax exempt rolls in the City of Ypsilanti? Just who do these &quot;Washtenaw County officials&quot; think pays the bills in Ypsi. Certainly, not them. Given that train of thought, why not build another dam on the Huron River, between Michigan Ave and Factory/Spring St., and utilize the natural flood plain of the river? With the addition of some minor creative excavating, a new &quot;lake&quot; would result. If completed properly, that could remove most, if not all, of the real estate permanently from the tax rolls. Fraud Lake or Faux Pond would spur economic development in the area. Bait and tackle shops should flourish around the &quot;development&quot;. Local restaurants could feature a &quot;catch of the day&quot;, freshly havested in Faux Pond. Huron River Trout and Washtenaw Walleye will become local delicacies. Fishing license sales should rise sharply, as will the number of fines for &quot;Fishing withoiut a license&quot;. Even the State would benefit from this creative use of public funds. The remaining taxpayers in the City of Ypsilanti would be able to see that not only are they under water, but so is the City.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 1 p.m.

Hi old blue, We need something to bring people downtown in order to get business people to invest there. Have you any serious ideas for how we do that? At one time some folks were trying hard to get a minor league baseball team on that property but they ended up settling in Oakland County, I believe. (The Sliders) I think that would have been great but they chose another site. So what can we do that will bring customers to the downtown area?


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 11:59 a.m.

I live in Ypsi. Twp. off Packard between Golfside and Hewitt. I'm about 3 miles from the current Washtenaw County Recreation Center on Platt. If they were to go ahead and build a new facility at the proposed Water St. site, I'd be about 4 miles from that recreation center. Would it really serve the interests of ALL of Washtenaw county to locate the 2 centers so close to each other? I think if I were an outer community in this county, I'd be a little ticked at this proposal. I'm all for finding development for Water St., but don't force the issue by wasting taxpayer's money on a boondoggle. Don't let this idea go beyond the stage it's at now.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 3:43 p.m.

Although I do believe my comment and ddots, I would like to see ypsi regenerized . . .


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 3:37 p.m.

My first thought was it seems close to the Mary lou center. I live on the westside of ann arbor and you would think you could give the people in this area county a rec center before another one in the ypsi area. . . .


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 10:18 a.m.

A rec center is a great idea, but look at the Summit in Canton for inspiration, rather than the A2 rec center.


Mon, Apr 18, 2011 : 10:04 a.m.

If we can afford it, I love the idea for many reasons....primarily because it would bring life to Downtown Ypsilanti, almost always ignored in any Washtenaw County plans. But one request: DO NOT name it after any elected official. Name it after a service person killed in the line of duty, either in the military or in police or fire service.....a real hero. Thanks.