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Posted on Fri, Nov 18, 2011 : 5:30 p.m.

Washtenaw County gets $3M grant for affordable housing and sustainable development initiatives

By Ryan J. Stanton

Washtenaw County is getting $3 million in federal grant funding for sustainable development, planning and affordable housing efforts in the urban core of the county — including Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Pittsfield and Ypsilanti townships.

County Administrator Verna McDaniel shared the news with commissioners at a county board working session Thursday night.

Mary Jo Callan, director of the county's Office of Community and Economic Development, said representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are coming to Ann Arbor on Monday to announce the award at a 1 p.m. press event.

Callan called the grant funding a "tremendous opportunity for all of the communities and residents who will benefit from the important and innovative activities included in this project."

The grant focused on the I-94/US-12 business loop — including Jackson Road, Washtenaw Avenue, and Michigan Avenue — for corridor planning and redevelopment.


Verna McDaniel

"It also focused on revitalizing distressed neighborhoods," Callan wrote in an e-mail. "The proposal included adding affordable housing to a higher-income neighborhood to address social disparities in affordable housing, and also included a green energy strategy for rental housing."

The proposal also included extensive public outreach and participation through activities such as a public health survey to gauge the impact of the proposed activities, a leadership development strategy for low-income neighborhoods, and workforce and economic development through a local food incubator.

The entire application can be found on the county's website.

Callan said the county is excited to move forward with the work outlined in the project with several partners, including the city of Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, Ann Arbor Transportation Authority, Arts Alliance, Community Housing Alternatives, Eastern Michigan University, Food System Economic Partnership, Growing Hope, Habitat for Humanity, Pittsfield Charter Township, SEMCOG, SPARK, University of Michigan Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute, Washtenaw Area Transportation Study, Washtenaw County Public Health, Ypsilanti Housing Commission, Ypsilanti Township, and the city of Ypsilanti.

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 e-mail newsletters.



Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 3:46 a.m.

I would be happy to invite people of all socioeconomic backgrounds to live in my neighborhood no matter what. But I would be especially happy to do so if it also meant I could live in a neighborhood with better architecture, infrastructure and public space. And since such changes will spur investment in our local economies, I really have no reason to complain. Nonetheless, affordable and sustainable housing go hand in hand with affordable and sustainable transportation. I would love to see projects like this one paired with redesigned roads and transportation systems. No matter how you build an apartment complex, it will be neither affordable nor sustainable if the residents have no choice but to drive to work, school and shopping.

Superior Twp voter

Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 5:12 a.m.

Diagenes, shepard145 - you have this $3 million pegged! Right down the rat hole. Wasted. A study. Fund admins get paid well. Some feel-good Dem legislation. Classic re-distribution of dough. And yes, Debbie Stabmenow needs to go. Go off to a very quiet (and wealthy) after-life. After all, she knows global warming exists (oh, 'scuse me, climate change...) 'cause she can feel it when she's flying.


Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 4:58 a.m.

I would love to see the plan, budget, schedule and qualificaitons of those who will be: Creating a Corridor Redevelopment Plan; "revitalize" distressed neighborhoods; adding affordable housing to a higher-income neighborhoods (HILAROUS!!); implementing some green energy "strategy??" for rental housing; and a "public health" survey! This is an excellent example of democrats managing the decline of America. These people have no concept of that a healthy economy leads to a high standard of living - it is not studied and nurtured into existance. The people involved in this travesty claim to be our mommies with some great "knowledge" necessary to take care of us as long as they first remove enough money from our bank accounts on April 15th. I was not aware that it's a major priority for poor people to live in affluent neighborhoods!?! That is new! Considering all those who are unemployed and trying to avoid losing their homes, I can see how liberals find it necessary to spend taxpayer dollars to attack the crises of "too many wealthy living next to each other" head on!! …then spend more on weird mix of nonsensical politically correct issues. Yet another waste of money ultimately borrowed from the Communist Chinese to be paid back by our grand children. I hope this reporter follows up on how every dime of this money is spent and who gets it. There is little to no chance any of this will happen – except perhaps a two million dollar "public health survey" that includes new BMWs for the winning grant writers.


Sat, Nov 19, 2011 : 11:40 p.m.

The commissioners have to seriously consider the issues of coming up with matching funds and any costs of maintaining any of this development before accepting this grant. "The proposal included adding affordable housing to a higher-income neighborhood to address social disparities in affordable housing, and also included a green energy strategy for rental housing." While I think this is a good idea, and may result in children being able to attend better schools, good luck getting this part done.

Basic Bob

Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 6:33 a.m.

The Ann Arbor school board could address some of these goals by moving some internal district boundaries to reduce the ethnic and economic disparities between certain schools. Their negligence has resulted in much larger numbers of children attending charter and private schools in southeast Ann Arbor. These are not rich kids, but kids whose parents value a quality education that the district fails to provide to all students. This does not even begin to address the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti divide. You would think there is a Great Wall separating the "civilized" world from the barbarians.

Macabre Sunset

Sat, Nov 19, 2011 : 8:01 p.m.

This is one way to reduce the tax rolls; decrease property values in as many places as possible. Don't complain when even more services are cut down the road.


Sat, Nov 19, 2011 : 2:46 p.m.

Another 3 millin dollars borrowed from China. This is Debbie Stabenow's re election stategy. Buy votes with feel good projects financed by the next generation.


Sat, Nov 19, 2011 : 3:54 a.m.

That's probably why they voted to cut the human services stuff out of the budget. Either Verna knew the money was coming or was hoping it was coming. Hopefully she knew it was coming before the vote or she certainly would be county her chickens before they hatched. I guess she's not evil after all.

Vivienne Armentrout

Sat, Nov 19, 2011 : 2:50 a.m.

Here is a better link to the actual grant application: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> I need to do more reading but apparently much of this is about the Reimagining Washtenaw project, which aims to create a Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) corridor between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. This would have TIF fiinancing (using property taxes from new development to support new initiatives) similar to a DDA. It is also worth looking at where matching funds for the project will come from, which evidently includes a number of existing dedicated millages.


Sat, Nov 19, 2011 : 9:24 p.m.

great. once again voters get shafted.


Sat, Nov 19, 2011 : 1:58 a.m.

Is the mob involved in this somehow? I watch a lot of Soprano's


Fri, Nov 18, 2011 : 11:45 p.m.

Affordable housing is great as long as it is not in my neighborhood. Why would the people who worked hard and took risks want to live with those who didn't? and vice versa? In &quot;Rich Neighborhoods&quot; you have stores like Whole Foods and Plum Market which the &quot;Affordable Housing&quot; people could not afford. So why bother? Unless you feel guilty? &quot;The proposal included adding affordable housing to a higher-income neighborhood to address social disparities in affordable housing,&quot;


Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 3:50 a.m.

Are you kidding? Or do you actually think that people are poor because they don't work hard and take risks? Also, Whole Foods and Plum Market don't exist in neighborhoods; they exist in shopping centers. Small grocers and food co-ops do exist in neighborhoods, and they seek to serve the needs of everyone, rich and poor alike.


Sat, Nov 19, 2011 : 9:23 p.m.

i dont feel guilty and i dont want anymore social disparities being eliminated at cost to my property value, thanks.


Fri, Nov 18, 2011 : 11:32 p.m.

In building affordable housing, it is important to provide public transportation. Being near grocery stores, parks and other recreation and having access to medical and other services are essential to success. Plan in recycling services. Please do not put seniors away in towers. Age segregation is not good for anyone. The AATA is considering decreasing or eliminating service to Ypsi at the same time this grant is being considered for redevelopment of the I-94/US-12 business loop area. The 2 things are contradictory.