Ypsilanti asks residents for ideas on improving city as planners develop long-term plan
What do residents what to see changed, built or improved on in Ypsilanti?
They will have the chance to give their two cents next week as the city continues its master plan design process that will help shape the city for the next several decades.
AnnArbor.com file photo
From Tuesday through Friday, Shape Ypsi will hold a series of discussions about what residents would like to see change or remain the same in the various diverse neighborhoods. At the end of the week, officials and consultants hired to help design the plan will synthesize the information and present the public's ideas.
“We want to hear from the public, what we should preserve, what is working well, and what do we need to completely change,” said City Planner Teresa Gillotti, who said housing, transportation, census and other data will serve as the framework for the discussions.
“But we are going to be planning for the community, so we need to hear how to do that from the community.”
The series kicks off with an information session at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Riverside Art Center, 76 N. Huron St.
On Wednesday, March 13 at 3:30 p.m., residents, business owners and students are invited for a walk between the Eastern Michigan University student center to downtown to discuss the relationship between the university and Ypsilanti.
Among the topics are how the geographical layout affects the relationship between the two communities, the physical barriers between the school and business community, the partnerships - or lack of - between the city and university, the housing district between the school and commercial area and how all these factors play together to form the relationship between EMU and downtown business.
“The hope is to have a rich dialogue about physical changes or improving relationships - there’s a lot that can come out of walking and talking about it,” Gillotti said.
A second walk between Depot Town and downtown is planned for 5:30 p.m. from the Depot Town Freighthouse to the downtown Ypsilanti studio serving as a temporary base for the project.
Among the primary topics of that walk is how to prepare to further develop Depot Town once there is a commuter rail stop, ideas for the vacant Boys and Girls Club of Ypsilanti and a discussion about the Water Street project.
On Thursday, March 14 at 4 p.m., residents are invited to gather at the Parkridge Community Center, 591 Armstrong Drive, for a walk through Ypsilanti’s southside to discuss with planners and police what can be done to stabilize the neighborhood, what programs might be useful for residents there or how to create jobs among other topics.
Residents also can drop in to the studio at 206 W. Michigan Ave. and discuss ideas with planners and designers any time on Wednesday and Thursday.
At 5 p.m. on Friday, the community is invited to a presentation from the planners at the downtown studios on what they heard the community would like to see happen and receive further feedback on those ideas, which will be used as guides to developing the plan.
Gillotti said she wants to hear exciting ideas, but she also wants to make sure they are within the city’s means and realistic for an area with financial challenges.
“One of the things tempering the entire conversation is that Ypsilanti has changed a lot in 20 years so we want to make sure we’re realistic,” Gillotti said. “There’s a lot to be considered and we want to be very realistic; not have pie in the sky ideas, but still be innovative and creative.”