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Posted on Mon, Mar 4, 2013 : 11:41 a.m.

Ypsilanti's State of the City address: Mayor to focus on Water Street development, city services

By Katrease Stafford

Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber will deliver a State of the City 2013: Shaping Ypsilanti address Tuesday, focusing on the city's economic future, city services and its Water Street development.

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Paul Schreiber will deliver a state of the city address Tuesday.

"It's going to be a look not only over the last year, but over the last number of years on how Ypsilanti has changed," Schreiber said. "I'm focusing on the master plan process and how we're really planning for the future and the changes we're seeing... We have to plan for what we want for Water Street."

Water Street development is necessary in order for the city to move forward, city officials have said many times. One development that may come into fruition over the next few months is the proposed Family Dollar store.

Many residents have spoken out against the proposed development, while some city officials believe it will finally lead to some much needed development.

Schreiber shared a snippet of the address with and in it, he says the proposed single-story building conforms to many of the Water Street zoning guidelines created by the Ypsilanti Planning Commission.

Schreiber noted the proposal has "sparked spirited comments." Schreiber said the crux of the Family Dollar debate has centered around what type of developments on Water Street will continue Ypsilanti’s transformation.

"Critics preferred independent retail or a supermarket to attract customers to other businesses downtown," Schreiber wrote in his state of the city address. "Supporters wanted to start development now with a viable proposal.

"In the end, the majority of city council voted to continue negotiations with Family Dollar because the proposal conformed to the planning commission guidelines, fit in with the buildings directly east and north of the site, and provided a building that could be adapted to other uses in the future." Schreiber said the city's updated master plan will address the vision for Water Street and the entire city.

The address title mirrors the name of the city's master plan update process, Shape Ypsilanti, which is expected to create guiding values for land use, housing, transportation, equity and sustainability within the city.

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Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber will focus some of this address on the proposed Family Dollar store.

Schreiber said the city is undergoing a transition from being a manufacturing town to a "destination college" town.

Ypsilanti's manufacturing plants have closed throughout the years, resulting in reduced tax revenues and the elimination of close to 1,600 jobs, Schreiber said.

"This master plan process will not be a status-quo update," Schreiber wrote. "As the request for proposals points out, Ypsilanti’s previous 1998 master plan assumed that heavy industry like the Ford plant would exist in Ypsilanti indefinitely."

The economic recession that occurred in 2008-2009 dramatically reduced property values and the 2013 master plan is expected to factor in these changes.

"Some of the revenue sources we had in 1998, that's just not the case now," Schreiber said. "I think people have to sit back and really take in the tremendous changes that have happened in Ypsilanti."

The rest of the state of the city address will focus on proposals to deliver police, fire, waste removal and other basic city services, Schreiber said.

Last year's state of the city address focused on the city's 5-year budget plan and a city income tax and a Water Street debt millage, that were both voted down overwhelmingly by Ypsilanti voters.

In order for the city to remain solvent, Schreiber said the city has to look at other ways to generate revenue.

The city is now considering a proposal that would create a hybrid police and fire department, that would see some officers become cross-trained public safety officers.

The city also is pursuing a special assessment district that would cover the electricity costs.

Schreiber will deliver his address at 7 p.m., Tuesday at the Ypsilanti City Hall.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.


Jay Thomas

Mon, Mar 4, 2013 : 11:40 p.m.

City income tax = EMU employees (who mostly don't live in the city).;)


Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 1:11 a.m.

But doesn't that also then tax the already over taxed residents? Residents who work in Ann Arbor or the townships or elsewhere would get hit harder than those coming into town to work at EMU. And didn't that get overwhelmingly shot down last year. But why let history and logic get in the way of your argument?


Mon, Mar 4, 2013 : 10:36 p.m.

Family dollar will not bring more developement- but hinder it. Nodody wants to put a nice resaraunt or event center next to a low-end joint like that. besides, across the street is a wallgreens. It's just another filler spot. Can't you guys find anything of quality to go here? It defeats the purpose of redeveloping the area! more crap yay.


Mon, Mar 4, 2013 : 9:20 p.m.

Sorry thats the BP not HP


Mon, Mar 4, 2013 : 8:31 p.m.

Family dollar the crowning jewel of waterstreet! There are already 2 within 5 miles away and a dollar general just around the corner. How about a small grocery so we dont have to shop at the HP or the overpriced lucky two

Ben Petiprin

Mon, Mar 4, 2013 : 8:27 p.m.

We'll be in a lot of trouble if we start thinking of ourselves as just a "destination college town." I don't know who keeps pushing this idea but there's really not a lot of attractions. And with U of M a few minutes west, EMU will never be the big draw of the region. And what kind of economy is formed around the nexus of a college. The only jobs created are for EMU and restaurants to serve the students. Those are basically the only jobs that exist here now, and we're not doing great. And regarding all these people you'll theoretically bring in for college, why would they stick around after graduation with no options for meaningful employment. Not to mention the school system they'd be putting their kids in. People need to start thinking about making this a manufacturing town again. Maybe it wouldn't be the utopia people have in mind but the place would start to function.


Wed, Mar 6, 2013 : 5:58 p.m.

@Ben, I disagree. First, relying on one industry just isn't that prudent. I don't disagree with trying to get some manufacturing into the area, but you have to develop the town along with it. and it can be done without manufacturing. I know plenty of people who simply don't want to deal with going to downtown Ann Arbor, especially in the winter. So why not make a destination for them in Ypsi? I don't think Ypsi will become another AA, but there definitely is a niche that could be developed and I don't think it would take much to get it.


Mon, Mar 4, 2013 : 10:58 p.m.

There is no shortage of thriving cities built around schools much smaller than EMU. It's ridiculous that the city hasn't been able to take advantage of EMU, but that is slowly starting to change.


Mon, Mar 4, 2013 : 8:05 p.m.

Is Mr. Screiber even relevant anymore? I thought Mr. Lange was running the city.


Tue, Mar 5, 2013 : 12:51 a.m.

Schreiber is a genuinely nice guy that cares about the city. He is probably too nice to put Lange in his place, which might need to happen a bit more often.


Mon, Mar 4, 2013 : 7:38 p.m.

Special Assessment........ Another word for TAX.


Mon, Mar 4, 2013 : 8:07 p.m.

If the law says you can't raise property taxes anymore, then you have to call it something else to get around those pesky laws.

Katrease Stafford

Mon, Mar 4, 2013 : 4:54 p.m.

Here's the link to last year's address: