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Posted on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 3:40 p.m.

Ypsilanti mayor: Survey says public supports proposed Eastside Recreation Center on Water Street site

By Amy Biolchini


A rendering of a proposed $12 million recreation center on eight to 10 acres in the northwest corner of the City of Ypsilanti's 38-acre parcel that it has amassed on Water Street.

Courtesy of the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Department

A market survey commissioned by the Ann Arbor YMCA shows the public supports siting a proposed $12 million Eastside Recreation Center on a piece of property the city owns on Water Street, officials said Tuesday.

“The basic questions that were being asked for the study in the first place: Is Water Street the best location for it? How big should it be? What type of people would be attracted to it? The study addressed all of those things,” Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber said in an interview with

Schreiber declined to discuss the details of the survey results after listening to a presentation of the draft report Tuesday in Ypsilanti.

The private briefing for staff and board members from the Ann Arbor YMCA, several Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Department staff and Ypsilanti city officials was held in the SPARK East offices. The YMCA’s private consultant, FourSquare Research from Atlanta, Ga., presented a draft report of the survey results to stakeholders.

County Parks and Recreation paid for half of the study, said Bob Tetens, department director. Tetens said the results of the survey will be presented at a public meeting - likely before the Parks Commission - at a later date.

The consultant surveyed local households on the east side of Washtenaw County and generated a population profile to help stakeholders understand interest in the proposed recreation center.

“I think the interest is high in the rec center; I think it continues to be high and I don’t think this market study has done anything to … indicate anything otherwise,” Schreiber said. “To me, I think we’re still moving ahead … Nothing’s been derailed; let’s put it that way.”

Tetens said the Washtenaw County Parks Commission received the preliminary results from the marketing study at its June 11 meeting, which indicated most people supported the location of the project.

“All indicators were favorable,” Tetens said.

In April, Schreiber said he had yet to decide what site would best suit the proposed recreation center.

On Tuesday, Schreiber spoke more definitively about his opinion:

“The Eastside Recreation Center - having it on the Water Street property - is going to be good for the city and also for the east side of the county.”

Schreiber said the survey will help city and county leaders to have baseline data to present to taxpayers and potential investors.

It also helps officials answer a critical question of “How do you maximize the number of memberships and the need?” Schreiber said.

The proposed project is jointly being pursued by the YMCA, the city of Ypsilanti and the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Department.

The parks department is considering about eight to 10 acres on the northwest corner of the city’s 38-acre Water Street property off of Michigan Avenue. The parks department is planning on leasing the property from the city and the YMCA is planning to staff the facility.

Similar to the Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center that the county opened in 1991, the proposed Eastside Recreation Center would be equipped with a swimming pool, various aquatics facilities, locker rooms, a gym, a fitness facility and other amenities.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.


Ypsi Eastsider

Wed, Aug 14, 2013 : 5:19 p.m.

Survey said residents were opposed to the Family Dollar store on Water Street but that didn't stop the Mayor from pushing it forward too.


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 11:33 a.m.

Once again Schreiber and the rest of the council can't make a decision to save their lives. For the love of all that's holy, don't just sit there while Ypsilanti continues to go down the drain... make a decision! I have to agree with HA, the City of Ypsilanti doesn't belong to Schreiber and it's not ultimately his decision. Yes, he may be entitled to his opinion, however he's a minion who needs to be pushed out of office. All he ever says is "no" to everything. I can't wait to see how this all pans out. They'll take their time, tick off the YMCA folks and they'll pull out of the deal. Therein lies the status quo for Ypsi.

joe golder

Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 6:27 p.m.

The question, " Why is the twp not putting more effort into having this facility located closer to its residents?" Do they have plans for their own rec complex?


Thu, Jun 27, 2013 : 10:20 a.m.

Uh! Two pools within the city of Ypsilanti. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't the million dollar Rutherford pool going to open soon?

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 12:52 p.m.

Why should the majority of county residents pay for an elaborate rec center in Ypsi which they will never, ever visit? Are the users going to fund the center via user fees? To what extent?

Nicholas Urfe

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

How was this "survey" worded? People love to get something for nothing. But when you mention the cost to them, everything changes. I can easily design a survey that will produce the desired outcome, one way or another.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 10:41 a.m.

Does Mr. Schreiber declining to discuss details mean there's no way for the people of Ypsilanti to find out the cost of the survey, the questions, and how many people responded and how they responded? If so, I think that's a pretty poor way to run things. Would a FOIA get all this info? Why is the Ann Arbor YMCA involved in this? Are they going to somehow be affiliated w/ the county rec center, besides staffing it? Why is the Ann Arbor YMCA staffing it? Does this mean the pay will made out to YMCA instead of county employees?

Fresh Start

Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 3:48 a.m.

This Riverfront area of Ypsilanti should be dedicated to recreation and entertainment! The Mayor of Ypsilanti should begin meeting with and soliciting minor league baseball team owners about moving to the water street site or demo and reclaim the former Ford plant on Spring Street with some new streetscape segue and roundabouts at 94 and Huron...


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 3:05 a.m.

You're darn right people think it's a good idea. BRING IT! And Ypsi council, please stop getting in the way or suggesting the location should be changed. The planning is done, time to build.

Mostly Purple

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 11:37 p.m.

Everyone we know in Ypsilanti has not only been smitten with the idea of a Rec Center at the Water Street property, but also quite disconcerted that local officials and their middlebrow consultants would do anything to stand in the way of the Rec Center happening as soon as possible. Furthermore, the team of architects who developed the initial designs and plan for the center and the property, are cutting edge and highly respected in their fields. Ypsilanti is about to given its first work of grade-A architecture, while functionaries and administrators try and throw their weight around to either have the center sited elsewhere, or to have it look typical, familiar, and beige. A whole lot of people are rooting for the Rec Center to become reality and also to be a work of wonder, and this survey brings this fact home.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 10:24 p.m.

So now the county is going to be leasing the land from the city when previously it was stated that the city was giving the land, free of charge to the county. Atleast there will be some income from the deal then, unless its one of those dollar a year leases, LOL. Since the county is a tax free entity there will be no tax income despite increase draw on city services. At least a Burger King, Dollar General etc would be paying for both the land and taxes, which would help pay down what the city owes on the land, since coincidentially the amount owed each year is mysteriously close to each years deficit for the city, lol.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 9:02 p.m.

As someone who currently rents in Ypsilanti and is looking to purchase a home in Ypsilanti or Ypsi Township, I like the sound of this. I've always been frustrated with having to drive 15-20+ minutes away to get to a decent workout facility and so having one in the heart of Ypsi would be nice. I live, work, eat and play in Ypsi so this would be exciting.

Honest Abe

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 8:20 p.m.

"In April, Schreiber said he had yet to decide what site would best suit the proposed recreation center." Last I checked, the City of Ypsilanti did not belong to Paul Schreiber.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

Get over yourselves. The mayor is entitled to an opinion just like you are.


Wed, Jun 26, 2013 : 2:37 a.m.

I must agree with you.


Tue, Jun 25, 2013 : 8:45 p.m.

And, therein lies the problem...when a public official begins to believe it does.