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Posted on Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 2:19 p.m.

Time capsule list: More than 100 items being buried in Ann Arbor's new underground parking garage

By Ryan J. Stanton

So what ultimately ended up making it into the time capsule being buried beneath Ann Arbor's new underground parking garage downtown?

Downtown Development Authority leaders have released a list of more than 100 items that were donated by members of the public. They include everything from an "I Park Illegally for Zingerman's" bumper sticker to a time-lapse video of construction of the garage.


A fun riddle near the Division stairwell that conveys the time capsule location.

Courtesy of Ann Arbor DDA

DDA officials said the time capsule has been sealed and will be placed inside the structure in the coming week.

Decades from now, they hope, it will be rediscovered, and Ann Arborites of the future will have a chance to learn something about life in Tree Town in 2012.

The new 711-space parking garage opened temporarily for Art Fair and is now set to welcome permanent monthly permit holders next Thursday. The hourly rate to park will be $1.10.

Here's the list of items the DDA said made it into the time capsule:

  • Press releases related to the parking structure project
  • Photos from the ground breaking ceremony October 2009
  • Photos from July 12 grand opening
  • Program from July 12 grand opening
  • Calculator used by the project engineer during the project
  • CAM Magazine (July 2012 edition) featuring an article on the project
  • Design drawings and construction photos from Carl Walker Inc.
  • Time-lapse video of construction of the garage prepared by the Christman Co.
  • Letters and notes from Ann Arbor and area residents
  • AADL summer reading cards from 8-year-old child
  • "Never Runs Out of Battery" — random writings from young people participating in 826michigan
  • "What to Call the Place I Call Home" — voices of 26 Ypsilanti middle school students
  • "2020: Visions of the Near Future" from students of Roberto Clemente Development Center
  • Informational pamphlet about the Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibit program
  • About 25 business cards
  • Disposable camera
  • A roll each of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters
  • Used cell phone
  • Used Palm Pilot
  • Several Obama 2012 reelection bumper stickers and pins
  • Harvey's 2012 calendar with artist signature (each month features a Harvey photo of nudes in Ann Arbor scenes)
  • Main Street light pole banner
  • AIA Guide to Ann Arbor Architecture
  • Ticket stubs from various events at Michigan Theater and Hill Auditorium
  • Ticket stub from President Obama visit to the University of Michigan on Jan. 27
  • "One Hundred-Fifty Years of History — The Ann Arbor News"
  • "I Lived Two Lives: A Memoir" by Bob Barden
  • "Old West Side" and historical photo from Crest Street
  • "Old Ann Arbor Town"
  • Washtenaw Dairy Detroit Tigers Hat
  • Peace Bell crafted by local artist at Harmony Hollow Bell Works (showing how things were once made by hand)
  • Informational pamphlet about The Downtown Area Citizens Advisory Council
  • Tennis ball
  • 2012 Think Local Resource Guide, pin and stickers
  • Block M (U-M) towel and Block M (U-M) cat collar
  • 2012 Ann Arbor Art Fairs Poster, brochure, and t-shirts
  • 2012 Ann Arbor Summer Festival program
  • "Hillary for President" t-shirt
  • Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor 2011-12 Membership Digest
  • Downtown Home and Garden Spring 2012 Catalog
  • Michigan Theater organists schedule July 2012
  • Michigan Theater July 2012 schedule
  • Dish Fish — one dollar certificate
  • Firing Cycle — 50 Years of Clay at the Potters Guild
  • AATA Spring-Summer 2012 Ride Guide
  • University Musical Society winter/spring 2012 season program
  • Performance Network 30th anniversary season schedule
  • Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra 2012-2013 season schedule
  • The Ark July/ August 2012 schedule and "I'm Am An Arkie" pin
  • Wooden nickel from The Ark
  • Sonic Lunch 2012 summer schedule
  • "The Ann" July 2012 edition
  • "Jiffy: A Family Tradition" book
  • "Tradition" by Bo Schembechler
  • "The Little Club: A History of the Ann Arbor Golf and Outing Club"
  • Ann Arbor Club 60th annual meeting packet
  • "Ann Arbor Observed" by Grace Shackman
  • Ann Arbor Area Atlas
  • "Ann Arbor Family" July 2012 edition
  • Ann Arbor Downtown Walk Map with business listing 2012
  • Ann Arbor Area Visitors Guide 2012
  • Ann Arbor News, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2003 edition: "Greenbelt proposal wins landslide voter approval"
  • Articles reporting on the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in the public parking system
  • "Watchman of the Tracks" by Dale Leslie
  • State Bar of Michigan member card
  • Rolling Sculpture Car Show dash plates
  • Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase magnet
  • Beverage coasters from Arbor Brewing Co. and the Ravens Club
  • Ann Arbor Derby Dimes team photo
  • "I Park Illegally for Zingerman's" bumper sticker
  • "Keep Ann Arbor Funky" pin and bumper sticker
  • Forsythe Middle School Viking News March 2012 edition
  • Program from Skyline High School Commencement Ceremony 2012 - inaugural graduation
  • Ann Arbor District Library magnet
  • Photos of grand children posing with Denard Robinson
  • Borders book store gift card and rewards card
  • "I am A2" pin from the City of Ann Arbor
  • Ann Arbor Skate Park bumper sticker
  • U-M Museum of Art t-shirt
  • "UMMA: A Beacon for Art"
  • UMMA Magazine spring/summer 2012 edition
  • Whirlydoodle and articles about downtown installations of whirlydoodles
  • Hammer from East Stadium bridges project with informational pamphlets and presentations
  • Photos, information and directory from the First Presbyterian Church
  • City of Ann Arbor Recycling and environmental information 2012
  • Information on Huron River Day 2012 and the Huron River Watershed Council

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.



Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 3:41 p.m.

Is there a search for a buried time capsule from 1912? How about 1847? Can't wait. When this 2012 time capsule is opened in 2112, they'll be saying: BORING!

John of Saline

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

I'm surprised they didn't commission a special piece of public art for the time capsule.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

It's not a *real* parking garage time capsule unless a vagrant pees in it.

Scott McWhinney

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 1:40 p.m.

Please include a parking ticket....


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 12:51 p.m.

"Garage Mahal" Take some unelected cronies give them free rein for three years they'll make N-S travel through town a huge pain "We needed a big ass lot!" they would proclaim for exactly what reason they could not really explain but one thing for sure - be scolded with "nay sayer" if you complain The only thing the Grand Opening lacked was a parade while it was obvious to all it was just a grand charade yet the DDA pressed on with disingenuity fully displayed While the long-time local businesses took it on the chin the DDA and the mayor trumpet Barracuda's six-block move as a huge 'win' but just like with the dry, tacky fountain it's nothing but spin So that's the story of the Garage Mahal $50mil for a big hole in the ground just has to appall remember on election day so that the next knucklehead decision we might forestall

Madeleine Borthwick

Sat, Aug 4, 2012 : 6:59 p.m.

Bravo, Brad! well said! and no, I'm NOT being sarcastic.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 12:15 p.m.

They must've put's expose of the incredibly lame job the DDA did with project management in the time capsule, because it's nowhere to be found.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 11:56 a.m.

"Photos from July 12 grand opening" I believe "grand opening" should be in quotes since it wasn't truly an opening. "Calculator used by the project engineer during the project" - Because it holds more digits than other calculators due to the over budget project? "A roll each of pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters" - Because the buying power of this currency for paying for parking has greatly diminished as rates go up. "One Hundred-Fifty Years of History — The Ann Arbor News" - Showing how a once well-done newspaper imploded as they lost focus on quality reporting and became a regurgitation of AP stories and became a shadow of itself. "Ann Arbor Downtown Walk Map with business listing 2012" - With businesses that closed crossed out, and street people "detours" "City of Ann Arbor Recycling and environmental information 2012" - explaining how you pay consultants to implement a rewards program that results in a decrease in recycling and a payoff to get out of the contract. What about a photo of the non-working $1 million fountain / urinal? Or photos of the "we need to upgrade the sewer lines but this isn't prep work for the train station that no one wants? Or photos of the ladder trucks out of commission?

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 11:33 a.m.

It's a shame they aren't including a comment from mentioning it's new name, the Garage Mahal! Oh, and FYI, as of yesterday when I went to the downtown post office to mail a letter, the Garage Mahal still wasn't actually open.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 11:29 a.m.

Finally, a use for a Border's reward card.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 10:24 a.m.

Ann Ar b o r .c o m s er v er??????????????????????????????????????


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 3:04 a.m.

Ryan Stanton's job sure cannot be easy sometimes. Ever thought of going with the byline "Arch Stanton" for certain stories?

Ron Granger

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 1:08 a.m.

How does one symbolize and bury an out of control DDA?

Madeleine Borthwick

Sat, Aug 4, 2012 : 6:56 p.m.

Ron, if you figure that one out, please please please let the rest of us know!!

Kai Petainen

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 12:05 a.m.

Didn't they bury $50 million in that lot already?


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 12:21 a.m.

Excellent point, Kai.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 11:37 p.m.

I wonder if the future people will know the time-lapse video of construction of the garage was actually time-lapsed. Are the photos from ground breaking and "opening" dated, so everyone will see it took more than 3 years? That's real nice and honest that they're extending the embarrassment and dishonesty of the July 12 "opening" that was far from being an actual opening. Putting pictures of that in this thing just shows the absolutely COMPLETE lack of shame, grace, or honor these people have. Disgusting. Should include some videos of the city council meetings where the Jerusalem Garden, Earthen Jar, and Herb David people were asking about some kind of comspensation or action because of the INSANE delays. Everyone involved in this whole thing is an absolute disgrace, from the people who planned it, OK'd it, built it, and celebrated it.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 11:27 p.m.

I'd love to get the names on those 25 business cards too. How self centered can you be?

Ron Granger

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 1:07 a.m.

FOIA request!!


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 12:20 a.m.

Leave it to AA reps to do this - arrogance at it's finest!


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 11:25 p.m.

How about the water fountain in front of city hall!

Madeleine Borthwick

Sat, Aug 4, 2012 : 6:55 p.m.

too big....


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 3:18 p.m.

I KNEW someone would post this! Yay! BTW, it was working the other day....and it looked nice, it's just so small next to that large (rather ugly) building.

Kai Petainen

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 12:06 a.m.

it's in there indirectly... the HRWC was responsible for starting that fiasco.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 11:24 p.m.

A Hillary for president shirt? A palm pilot? Are these things people have ironically in the year 2012?


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 11:17 a.m.

I think the Palm Pilot was still relevant when the project started.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 12:19 a.m.

According to the DDA, this must brag about Ann Arbor.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 11:20 p.m.

Many items I agree with. With the rapid turnover of restaurants in town a snapshot of 2012 menus would have been interesting to add. The Zingermans bumper sticker does represent the visitors to Ann Arbor well. The DDA could rake in some serious funds just sitting and waiting to write parking tickets at Detroit and Kingsley.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 12:17 a.m.

These items, as selected by the DDA represent all of Ann Arbor. Don't you think? I think it stinks and is not representative of all AA residents.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 9:36 p.m.

"time-lapse video of construction of the garage." Does that make the Guiness Book for longest time-lapse sequence ever? I hope they didn't pay much for that riddle, either.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 12:12 p.m.

Well the DDA seems to act without rhyme or reason, so somehow that fits.


Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 4:30 a.m.

Not to mention that "shaft" and "elapsed" don't rhyme.


Wed, Aug 1, 2012 : 9:13 p.m.

From the articles selected, you can sure tell that this is a one party town. I am surprised that there is not a Mary Sue Colman plaque, as well as a Hieftje bobble head.

tom swift jr.

Thu, Aug 2, 2012 : 1:28 a.m.

"Hieftje bobble head" isn't that redundant?