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Posted on Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Ypsilanti rejects township assistance for resurfacing Grove Road

By Tom Perkins

The Ypsilanti City Council rejected an Ypsilanti Township proposal to temporarily fix a rough stretch of South Grove Road running through the municipalities’ border.

In the proposal, the township would have loaned the city money from a shared fund to pay to resurface the road. The resurfacing would have been a temporary fix, but a majority of City Council was only interested in a total rebuild of the road.

Thumbnail image for Grove_Road_Repaving.jpg

South Grove Road earlier this year.

Council voted 4-3 against the resolution at its Tuesday meeting. Mayor Paul Schreiber, Council Member Brian Robb, Council Member Pete Murdock and Council Member Dan Vogt all voted against a resolution to have the city use its own funds to repave the road.

Ypsilanti Township residents have regularly complained to Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo about the condition of the road, which is adjacent to the Gault Village Shopping Plaza near the I-94 Service Drive. They say it has been in disrepair for more than a decade.

The border between the township and city runs down Emerick Road, which dead-ends at a southwest angle into Grove. The area south and east of Emerick and Grove is the township. A small slice of land that includes the road north and west of Emerick belongs to the city.

Stan Kirton, director of Ypsilanti's Department of Public Works, previously said the city doesn’t have the funds to do the estimated $600,000 road reconstruction. A rebuild is estimated to last 10 to 20 years, while the resurfacing is estimated to last two to three years.

The Washtenaw County Road Commission repaved the road on the township’s side several years ago. During that project, it slimmed the township’s section of the road from four lanes to two while adding bike lanes. Kirton previously said that has caused extra stress on the city’s side.

Stumbo proposed the township loan the city $60,000 from the Joint Ypsilanti Recreation Organization fund for a two-inch overlay, and the city would have repaid the township over a three to five year period.

But after city officials ran the plans past their own engineers, an additional $40,000 to $50,000 in costs were added to that figure, bringing the project total to more than $100,000.

Council Member Brian Robb said he wasn’t interested in a temporary fix.

“In three years, when this falls apart, we’re going to look like idiots because we paved a road that fell apart,” he said. “If we’re going to do this, we need to do it right.”

But the project’s proponents said the city doesn’t end up paying more by opting for the cheaper project. Either way, the city pays the same average amount annually for the road’s estimated life, Stumbo said.

Council Member Lois Richardson supported resurfacing the road.

“I was on that road on Sunday and I would hate to have drive it in the winter or after winter while waiting on funds to completely rebuild it,” she said. “I would suggest to everyone on council; if you haven’t been on the road in the last two to three weeks, go.”

Following the vote, she said she was ashamed of the city.

“I think we missed an opportunity,” she said. “I think we had a hand reached out to us from the township and we slapped it back into their face. That’s something this council will be held accountable for for a long time.”

Council Member Mike Bodary agreed.

“We have missed an opportunity to make improvements to people’s lives,” he said. “We could have made a difference for an estimated three years, and it could have lasted longer. I think we are doing a disservice to our neighbors.”

Stumbo asked council to reconsider during public comment at the end of the meeting.

Mayor Paul Schreiber said the vote wasn’t easy.

“I would like to see it fixed, but we have to be good stewards of our finances,” he said. “And the length of time the road was going to be good wasn't going to be long enough.”

But he added that the vote was close and suggested City Manager Ed Koryzno could possibly bring forth a new proposal.

"For three years we have asked for this improvement from the mayor and city manager," Stumbo said. "This year it was stated they probably can't make the improvement until 2015. That is seven years total delay and the offer to pay for the overlay, which is often used method prior to total reconstruction, is a solution. There was no interest in terms of pay back. It could have been three to ten years and terms were up to the council. What more can we legally do? Nothing.

"My sincere apologies to residents and business owners who utilize this road for not being able to make the improvement a reality this year."


Carole Clare

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 12:36 p.m.

The residents of City of Ypsilanti voted for and are paying for our Roads replacement and upgrades... Why should we risk another cost to the City to repair Township Roads. I don't get it?

Carole Clare

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 12:38 p.m.

We are paying 4.5736 mills for City Roads.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 7:52 p.m.

If the people in the township want this bit of road fixed so badly, they should pay for it. I would not support a loan to the city for it. As a city resident and voter, I consider this road to be a very low priority and a temporary fix an even lower one.

Woman in Ypsilanti

Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 4:40 p.m.

@chris. Yes, if my neighbor has a tree that is harming my house but not causing him any trouble, I would not expect it to be a high priority for him. I would hope that he would allow *me* to pay to have the tree removed or trimmed appropriately but why should he pay for it?

Chris Daniel

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:01 a.m.

So just because your neighbor has a treeat the side of his yard and its not touching his house but its tearing the roof off of yours means its supposed to be a low priority because he needs to fix his car and it dosnt affect him. Going off this theory you you should pay to trim his tree right??? I stay in the city and I want that dam* road fixed. So what do you say to all the people that stay in the city and want it fixed

Michigan Reader

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 10:31 p.m.

You may consider this road a low priority, and I'm sure it is for a lot of other city residents, because it's not near much (if any) city residential area. But, politics being what it is, the township wants to please its residents who traverse this local boundry.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

I would hope the Ypsilanti City Council would reconsider the vote to repair this road at their next meeting on November 1, 2011. If we all work together there may still be time to repair the road this construction season. I wish that Supervisor Stumbo or myself would have been asked to give input into the Council's discussion as we watched the deliberations at the meeting last night. We could have alleviated the fears of some council members who were concerned about wasting money on a short term fix. If the initial repairs cost $110,000, which is probably a very high estimate, and the additional fixes cost $60,000 each three to five years from now it is still a better financial decision to fix with asphalt overlays several times than a complete reconstruction at $600,000 which is estimated to last 15 years. It is a basic math calculation. Spend $600,000 for a 15 year concrete fix, or $350,000 ($110,000 first fix, $60,000 x 4 more fixes) for a 15 year asphalt fix. So the asphalt fix that could be done this year and then four more times over the 15 years would save the city $250,000 over the 15 years and have the road in good shape during this time frame. So it is much more fiscally responsible for the City to do the so called short term fix and they could use the $250,000 savings on other roads or however they see fit. We need to move quickly to fix this road this year and a savings to the City. I hope the City Council members would please vote to reconsider once they understand the actual savings to the City to do the asphalt paving vs. concrete. Please urge the City Council to reconsider at their next Council meeting. You can reach the Mayor by calling 483-1100.

in the know

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 5:22 p.m.

As a resident on Grove Road I want to personally thankmy Supervisor Brenda Stumbo for stepping up and showing true leadership on this issue. I heard at the city that the County Board had an opportunity to fix this catastophe by allocating funds to repave Grove road, but our County Commissioner failed to take any action. I heard he is now thinking of running for supoervisor next year against Stumbo. If he wants the votes in the nieghborhoods using Grove road everyday he better get on the job and find the money to fix this concrete cowpath before someone is killed. Instead of giving raises to the topdogs under his control, fix Grove Road now.

Larry White

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 5 p.m.

I'm not sure where they are getting this "three year" problem? I moved into the neighborhood 1994 and the bridge approaches were a hazard to traffic. Has anyone attempted to cross the roadway on a bicycle? I don't recommend it.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 4:03 p.m.

While I understand that the road needs repair, I think the vote was correct because the sceme to only repave the road via some sort of loan and such...thats the township trying to take advantage of the city to pay for some cheap, bandaid that won't last. I am glad the city will insist on doing it right. Cheap crap fixes just bury us deeper. Doing it as part of a loan to the township...I think we have enough debt as it stands.

Chris Daniel

Fri, Oct 21, 2011 : 2:07 a.m.

How is the township taking advantage of the city by loaning them money they NEED. If you cant take care of all of your responsibilities on your NEED help. Its the cities road, they cant pay to fix it and the township is offering a solution. To me it sounds like everyone in the city its acting real stuck up because this road dosnt apply to them for the most part even though its their road.

Tom Perkins

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 3:13 p.m.

Comments from Township Supervisor Brenda Stumbo were added to the story.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

Wilow Run is in trouble. Ypsi schools are in trouble. Now the roads are in trouble. Sounds like a lot of mismanagement to me. But I do say this, it is an election year, if Dingle and those others can get money to redo that bridge on Stadium near the UM stadium, then I say why can't we get money to redo this road the right way and we don't have to deal with it for another 20? We need to wake up our politicians for political favors.

General Demitrius

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 3:18 p.m.

Voter turnout in this neighborhood is abysmal. If you don"t vote, you can"t expect to Have the same power as areas where people do vote.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:28 p.m.

"...I would hate to have drive it in the winter..." I seriously doubt someone's spoken grammar was that bad. Did they maybe say "driven" instead? Or did they omit the "have?"

General Demitrius

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:24 p.m.

Why are you beating up on the Council? They do not have money to fix anything. The State government decided to take that money and give it to businesses instead. Go ask Walmart to fix your road. Maybe you will vote in the next election next time.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:02 p.m.

I heard Hyundai/Kia and Toyota use this stretch of road now as their Buzz Squeek and Rattle test track =-}'


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.

I think years ago the stretch of Geddees in Ann Arbor from Arlington to the east towards the Gallup park sidewalk entrance was replicated for a test track at one of the local proving grounds. that being said, Only in a Jeep!

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

maybe the township can dump the heap from kmart in those holes when it gets demolished? hehehe


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:55 p.m.

This part of Grove is terrible. I drive on it regularly since it is near my home. However, the city does not need more debt. I live in the township and I think the best solution was from another reader: the township should offer to buy the strip of land from the city. Most of the tax payers near that part of Grove live in the township. That is probably why we have been neglected for so long. The city council member should own up to their neglect of the road and sell it for a low price, allowing the township more funds for the repair.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:47 p.m.

A rough stretch? I'm surprised you got a picture of that road that looks so good...


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.

Post removed. Great. Why would the township loan money to a city on the brink of default? With our tax dollars no less? Too risky for my liking.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:19 p.m.

""In three years, when this falls apart, we're going to look like idiots because we paved a road that fell apart,"" Classic! This article is another prime example of why I dread the township and the city ever becoming one single entity.

Turd Ferguson

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

Think the Insurance Company's can lean on the City to fix it? Seems like it's some sort of Code violation...? No? Insurance Company claims for wheels, tires, accidents must be enough to cover this. Or why can't WCRC (Washtenaw County Road Commission) fix it and put some sort of 'lien' on the City? That strip of a hundred yards or so is ridiculous. They ought to get it fixed while the Township has (had?) a crew over there milling/overlaying the Service Drive.

dading dont delete me bro

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 12:54 p.m.

"We have missed an opportunity to make improvements to people's lives," bam wonder what the wcsd or ems has to say about driving that stretch during an emergency call... "In three years, when this falls apart, we're going to look like idiots because we paved a road that fell apart," no, you look like that now. this road is worse than most dirt roads. at least those can be graded.

Carole Clare

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 12:23 p.m.

The City of Ypsilanti no longer has the funds to take care of everything that needs to be addressed. Do you think that a Financial Manager would pay for this? Wake up.

Andrew Jason Clock

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 12:15 p.m.

"Following the vote, she said she was ashamed of the city." Lois, if I had a dollar for every time I have that feeling after an Ypsilanti City Council vote, I'd be rich.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 4:11 p.m.

Craig - if he got a buck everytime she said could borrow alot more than 10.

Craig Lounsbury

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 2:16 p.m.

as long as the dollar came from the private sector I say....can i borrow 10 bucks?


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 12:14 p.m.

I appreciate the attempt by the Township officials to propose a solution. Unfortunately, it sounds like it didn't make financial sense. 5 years worth of funding dedicated to 2 years worth of band-aid just delays a real fix.


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 11:48 a.m.

I would guess that none of the esteemed coucil members nor Mayor Schreiber, himself, use this sad stretch of road. This was a really bad decision. Don't kick a gift horse in the mouth!


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 10:50 a.m.

This area is so bad and neglected. The layers and layers of un-even, low-grade cold patch that have been put down for years are as treacherous as the pot holes. They paved the City side north of the I-94 overpass, and the bridge, but left this last little stretch undone. They don't care how much local residents have to pay every year to fix their tires, tie rods, re-alignments, etc. This same stretch is more often than not overlooked in the winter for snowplowing and salting as well. It's like an orphaned child. Property tax of nearby homes may go to the township, but a majority of us work and shop in the city and our kids are defaulted to the Ypsilanti school district, so we contribute to both the city and the township, yet the township takes care of us and the city neglects us. This stretch definitely adds to the drop in property value for an area of long-term homeowners that still maintain and take pride in their own property. A temporary fix may only last 2-3 years, but wouldn't that slow down the disintegration of the road and make a long-term fix in the future less costly than if nothing is done now? I wonder if the township could viably consider loaning the full amount the city needs to properly fix it with the condition that the city also properly maintain it in the winter, or better yet, make an offer to buy this outer stretch from the city so that it can be properly fixed and maintained year-round? Then we might be able to draw a responsible owner and remaining tenants for Gault Village.

in the know

Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 5:26 p.m.

excellant points


Wed, Oct 19, 2011 : 10:45 a.m.

Nice to see responsible management!