415 W. Washington not a good site for 24-hour warming center, Ann Arbor officials say
- /calendar/photologue/photos/415 W. Washington St./cache/120911_415_W_Washington_1_fullsize.jpg
- /calendar/photologue/photos/415 W. Washington St./cache/120911_415_W_Washington_12_fullsize.jpg
- /calendar/photologue/photos/415 W. Washington St./cache/120911_415_W_Washington_13_fullsize.jpg
- /calendar/photologue/photos/415 W. Washington St./cache/120911_415_W_Washington_14_fullsize.jpg
- /calendar/photologue/photos/415 W. Washington St./cache/120911_415_W_Washington_15_fullsize.jpg
- /calendar/photologue/photos/415 W. Washington St./cache/120911_415_W_Washington_16_fullsize.jpg
- /calendar/photologue/photos/415 W. Washington St./cache/120911_415_W_Washington_17_fullsize.jpg
- /calendar/photologue/photos/415 W. Washington St./cache/120911_415_W_Washington_2_fullsize.jpg
- /calendar/photologue/photos/415 W. Washington St./cache/120911_415_W_Washington_3_fullsize.jpg
- /calendar/photologue/photos/415 W. Washington St./cache/120911_415_W_Washington_4_fullsize.jpg
- /calendar/photologue/photos/415 W. Washington St./cache/120911_415_W_Washington_5_fullsize.jpg
- /calendar/photologue/photos/415 W. Washington St./cache/120911_415_W_Washington_6_fullsize.jpg
- /calendar/photologue/photos/415 W. Washington St./cache/120911_415_W_Washington_7_fullsize.jpg
- /calendar/photologue/photos/415 W. Washington St./cache/120911_415_W_Washington_8_fullsize.jpg
Supporters of an effort to open a new 24-hour warming center for the homeless in Ann Arbor say they now have an operational plan and volunteers lined up.
But they still don't have a building.
Ann Arbor resident Alan Haber, one of the supporters of the project, called on the City Council this past week to make space available at 415 W. Washington, a city-owned property on the west edge of downtown across from the YMCA.
The two-story building there — now more than 80 years old — has been vacant for several years, and it remains in a state of disrepair.
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
"No person should have to be out in the cold Ann Arbor winter — hundreds are," he said. "There should be a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week, warm place for whomever needs."
Mayor John Hieftje said the warehouse-style building, which includes office space on the second floor, probably isn't the best place for a warming center, though.
For nearly two years now, the city has been exploring the creation of a greenway park and arts center at 415. W. Washington with the nonprofit Arts Alliance and Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy. But those efforts have been slow to progress.
"One of the largest hurdles that we have faced — and that we can't get around — is the condition of the 415 W. Washington building," Hieftje said. "The building is filled with asbestos. There are jagged pieces of metal. I have no idea whether the plumbing there works anymore."
But probably the most daunting task, Hieftje said, is that "you're talking about a seven-figure number to make that building usable."
The site originally was home to the Road Commission in the 1920s and later was used by the city as a headquarters for forestry, park operations, signs and signals, the city's radio shop and parking enforcement. Many of those operations moved to the city's new Wheeler Service Center on Stone School Road in 2007, and 415 W. Washington has been vacant since.
Hieftje said city officials and members of the Arts Alliance have spent time inside 415 W. Washington over the past two years and have held meetings there. At the next meeting of the group, he said, the Arts Alliance is probably going to announce it can no longer afford to expend resources to stay involved in the arts center project.
"We've had a grant writer going after grants, we've been searching and doing everything, but the major hurdle to that dream is the building's condition," he said.
Hieftje said the greenway vision for 415 W. Washington, which includes transforming the eastern edge of the property into a green space, will be easier and less expensive.
AnnArbor.com toured 415 W. Washington on Friday with Rob Millett, field operations supervisor for the city, who used to work inside the building.
Among the items a reporter spotted during the tour was a stack of University of Michigan football schedules from 1978 and a box of outdated downtown parking maps.
Even when the building was operational, Millett said, the city still dealt with leaking pipes and heating issues.
"It's an old building and I'm surprised it's still standing," he said. "It's tired. It's in poor shape. I don't even know, at this point, if it's really a safe site."
Windows remain boarded up. Shards of broken glass and other discarded materials linger on the ground. Water is leaking from a damaged ceiling.
And outside, the exterior walls are starting to crack.
"It also has no heat or water, so that is something to consider. And I mean no ability to connect heat or water," said Lisa Wondrash, a spokeswoman for the city.
"All of the infrastructure is still there, but it's 30-year-old boilers and inoperable equipment," she said. "And the boiler on one of the floors had ruptured and it hadn't been winterized, so it does not operate and it would constitute a fire hazard."
Wondrash said the building, though not officially condemned, is not fit for occupancy from a building permit standpoint or from a fire marshal standpoint.
The effort to open a new 24-hour warming center this winter originates from the Occupy Ann Arbor movement.
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
"Winter is already here," she said. "We do not want to look back in anger and sorrow come April and know that we could have prevented people's death and we haven't."
She said the group has been in contact with Avalon Housing, the Washtenaw Housing Alliance, U-M's School of Social Work, U-M's Community Scholars Program and Project Outreach.
"We plan to collaborate with these organizations, as well as others, and hope to receive their guidance, advice and active support in running a safe community with focus on rehabilitation and growth," she said.
In order to gain better insight about the needs of the homeless community, five members of the team started volunteering at the Delonis Center, Zakai said. Others have attended meetings of Camp Take Notice and have reached out to the homeless community at Liberty Plaza and St. Andrew's Church.
She said the group also is in the process of planning the program for the warming center and has agreed on several principles that will guide it, including a strict policy of no drugs, no alcohol, no violence and no threatening behavior of any kind.
She said the operators of the warming center will work with Ann Arbor police if needed, as well as with professional organizations dealing with drug and alcohol addictions.
There would be a constant presence of volunteers both day and night at the warming center to monitor and facilitate a safe environment, Zakai said. There also would be sensitivity to gender issues and separation between men and women during the night.
"We have developed a model for a daily schedule for the center that includes group meetings and communal programs, and workshops geared toward empowerment and personal growth, such as arts and crafts, life skills, creative and analytical writing, and critical reading," she said.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at email@example.com or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's e-mail newsletters.
Frustrated in A2
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 9:05 p.m.
Not even the homeless should have to stay in that run down building. The city should sell it and let someone demolish it and put up something that can go back on the tax roll.
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:55 p.m.
The better you make it for the homeless the more homeless you will get. Think not? Portland Or is a perfect example. Care to guess how many of those in Portland are from someplace else? Care to make the same guess about Ann Arbor?
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:29 a.m.
I can understand the city's reluctance to allow this, it seems the surrounding residents are paranoid that suddenly a warming center will turn their neighborhood into a carnival of drunken and drug induced activity. If the city truly cared about curtailing panhandling and the negative effects of homelessness on the cities image, the proper steps of care would have been taken long ago. Ann Arbor should take note from other cities with large drifter/homeless populations. Portland, OR comes to mind...a city that has effectively managed the issues surrounding poverty and homelessness, not by attempting to sweep it under the rug and spend more tax dollars on appealing art, but focus on minimizing the negative affects of it. Ignoring the problem is futile, eventually there will be enough problems that steps (and more money) will be needed.
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 3:42 a.m.
Open the gates to the big house.... let the homeless people take shelter in there. It isn't being used in the cold months anyways. Open up the visitors locker room and let them get warm. It already has heat and running water. Its all cinder block and indoor/outdoor carpet - no frills and nothing to get broken. When spring ball starts, the homeless people will have to leave. Since Orian goes to Michigan, she might have an in-road to gain a little traction with this idea. Problem solved!
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 5:27 a.m.
I like it! That's a workable plan!
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 2:59 a.m.
Does anyone really realize how bad of an idea this is? Are you really interested with having the town overrun with bums? To me, it seems like the majority of crime downtown is due to drunken bums hassling and touching people. Are we really interested in fostering an environment where this will happen more frequently?!?
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 2:42 a.m.
"One of the largest hurdles that we have faced — and that we can't get around — is the condition of the 415 W. Washington building," Hieftje said. "The building is filled with asbestos." "Filled with asbestos?" Really? Ryan, when will you learn to check Hieftje's facts? The RFP issued by city officials in an effort to sell/develop the site doesn't mention significant asbestos contamination, or even any asbestos contamination (<a href="http://www.a2gov.org/government/publicservices/systems_planning/Pages/415WWashingtonRFP.aspx)" rel='nofollow'>http://www.a2gov.org/government/publicservices/systems_planning/Pages/415WWashingtonRFP.aspx)</a>. Peter Allen, a local developer, posted this comment about 415 W, Washington to his First Martin blog on March 17, 2008: "Small amounts of asbestos associated with the boiler are still present." (<a href="http://www.firstmartin.com/blog/)" rel='nofollow'>http://www.firstmartin.com/blog/)</a> "Small amounts." The Morningside Group's 2008 proposal to buy and develop the site doesn't mention that they anticipated spending money to clean up a site "filled with asbestos." (<a href="http://www.a2gov.org/government/publicservices/systems_planning/Documents/Morningside_Proposal.pdf)" rel='nofollow'>http://www.a2gov.org/government/publicservices/systems_planning/Documents/Morningside_Proposal.pdf)</a> For crying out loud: Hieftje. et. al. don't think this is a good space for a warming shelter because they want to SELL it and develop the parcel so that it benefits the city financially (as per the 2008 RFP). Of course we need a warming shelter. We needed another homeless shelter, not a new courthouse for two judges, a million dollar fountain, or an underground parking garage that taxpayers were misled and told would be paid for with parking revenues not tax dollars.
Fri, Dec 16, 2011 : 4:31 p.m.
I have found that any time I assume a small amount of asbestos, that we always find much more. Abatement, done right means checking all the lagging, all the plaster and other places that asbestos could have been used. Assuming that it is a small amount is a bad idea, kind of like assuming that cancer is a small amount because you only can see one mole. Testing is required to know for sure the extent of the asbestos. Either it is a problem and has to be dealt with or it is not and we can ignore it. But someone needs to fund the testing and if needed the abatement.
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 8:11 p.m.
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 11:47 a.m.
Thank you for showing that the mayor is not speaking the truth. The city should have removed all asbestos long before they vacated the building. It is irresponsible that they did not, and that they did not winterize the building when they vacated it.
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 3:02 a.m.
Mr. Lesko, Selling and developing that property is a much better idea than creating a "warming center". If these people want a place to keep warm, they can save some of their alcohol money and eventually take a trip down south for the winter.
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 12:13 a.m.
Just wondering if anyone in charge of this, has thought about the auditorium space (separate building) over at the VA AAHS. transportation free via the UMichigan Blue buses and I heard somewhere that the UMichigan owns the property .... thinking some kind of collaboration can be organized between the hired personnel, the VA staffers/researchers, and the UM social work school.
dading dont delete me bro
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 10:22 p.m.
"with photo gallery:..." is that dental ad on a wall in there?
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 9:44 p.m.
Hieftje said. "The building is filled with asbestos Mmmmm, warm cancer.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 9:34 p.m.
As the Saying Goes " Any Port In A Storm"
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 9:07 p.m.
"Hieftje said city officials and members of the Arts Alliance have spent time inside 415 W. Washington over the past two years and have held meetings there." so that's where they hold the secret meetings. muhahahahaha......
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 9:01 p.m.
Couldn't all the area churches open their doors at night? Churches used to be open 24/7. Church volunteers could help out. There buildings are already there, with heat and water. Isn't it the 'obligation' of a church to help the needy?
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 9:31 p.m.
The city hall is also heated at night, and the police are so close by, too! The silly mayor can see 'em during the day that way.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 9:29 p.m.
We do. Several churchs take turns. No, it is not an "obligation" but a duty. Were do they gop whey we wish to use our church to worship? What is wrong with this building?
Billy Bob Schwartz
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 8:38 p.m.
I remember when I was a kid, the relief after playing in the freezing cold winter weather with the wind blowing and snow flying, just to run into the barn and stand there. It was so wonderful. There was no heat. There was no light. There was not food. There was nothing except shelter from the elements. I still remember those times fondly, as it showed how little it can take to make one feel so much better just to be inside. Please don't think that a warming shelter has to be a palace in order to make people more comfortable than being outside in the winter weather. It just needs to be a shelter. With this in mind, I wonder why the place couldn't be fixed up enough to provide minimum comfort and shelter.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 8:05 p.m.
To everyone that comments here: Regardless of the side you are on, I think that I speak for everyone who appreciates all of you paying attention to the issue.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 10:35 p.m.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 7:54 p.m.
you know this city could do allot better with the Loving, kind community thing you all have going on if the government pitches in to find a place for the homeless that 24 hours and stop building new streets, and stop building new parking garages that are not needed. You people including the government have no idea how to run a government because all you like to do is spend money and when the money is gone you cry about it. Everyone keeps posting about Florida, if your so enthused on the Florida idea then all those posting need to come up with 4,ooo dollars to send 25 peoples to Florida because that the total amount that would need to go the alcoholics who drink their life away and bad mouth everyone and don't do anything but beg, drink, bad mouth and repeat they deserve to freeze to death this winter because they choose not to change and that's the type of people this community does not need, because it slows others down. You have people who stay at the Delonis who live on the third and fourth floors who have been their for four years and spend their paychecks buying laptops, DVD players, head phones, iPod, iPad and could care less about finding housing. While those fools are sitting around doing nothing a younger man who has steadily been looking for work, just got accepted into college. When he let the staff their know his good news, Barb Blum-Case Manager and Case Manager Charlie Hicks kicked him out on the curb and told him his option for living in life were pointless, this guy has a diploma, very well mannered, clean, orderly fellow and the staff kick him out and laugh in his face and go back and do the same to someone else. Thats all the shelter is good for is setting people up for failure. If you have a months rent saved up for housing and no job they will place you in a house and pay your deposit just to watch you get evicted the next month because you couldn't find a job but they wanted you out of the shelter anyways. Delonis is crooked.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 7:46 p.m.
Are there no prisons? Are the workhouses still operating?
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.
I posted this in response to the editorial against the warming center. I will repeat it here: "and move them toward permanent housing. That is the ultimate goal. To simply warehouse the homeless is to perpetuate the problem." This is a false dichotomy I see repeated again and again by well meaning politicians and social services professionals. You MUST solve the short term problem of "where to warehouse the homeless" (tonight: tomorrow: in 3 weeks when it goes to minus 10 degrees), in order to reach your "ultimate goal" in the distant future. To use your "warehouse" metaphor: A store chain needs both a warehouse for nearby storage of all the merchandise it hopes to sell during the holiday season, as well as having retail store locations stocked with "professionals" - to actually sell products, staff the customer service desk, customer helpers on the retail floor, stockers, checkout people, registers, as well as display designers, customer restrooms, etc. They are two discrete steps in a conjoined process: all of the merchandise available (homeless) will not fit on the retail selling floor (Delonis, DHS, etc.) To put it bluntly: if all of your clients freeze to death in the next 3 weeks, nobody is going to be there 3 years from now, when the economy has recovered and 17 private,local , state, and federal committees have agreed an the final draft of the study for the proposal to write a grant to further investigate the problem of homelessness and the under housed in Ann Arbor and the greater Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti corridor as a sub-task force of the Washtenaw County planning commission. Or: "Don't Let the Perfect Be the Enemy of The Good", to quote Voltaire
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 7:28 p.m.
You people are so Lost in the Head. Yes a 24 hour shelter is needed for Ann Arbor, because the Delonis shelter is kicking people out who just got into college, the staff their have grown some serious attitudes. A gay man who doesn't know how to fight got jumped weeks ago by a cripes member from Detroit, his glasses got broke and his face got smashed into the concrete all be cause of not knowing how to fight let alone being in that sort or situation. And the police for Gods sake looks at the beat up boy and says we need you to take a polygraph test because we don't believe you. Residents of the shelter are steeling from each other, breaking each others bones. An elderly female got jumped by a few men who also go to the shelter- an elderly black lady who now has no glasses and two black eyes and her face is in terrible condition. 2 Men from the tattoo shop over on liberty across from necto came down to the Ann Arbor District Library 3 days ago and jumped a Underground News Paper Salesman whose only 19 and stole $30.00 from him fracturing his wrist and giving him a black eye. The shelter staff at the Delonis shelter has put a man named Jeffery Leftwich on what they call "IS" (Indefinite Suspension), only allowing him to shower, but not allowing him to wash clothes, so he has to walk around smelling really bad and showering and putting the same filthy clothes back on. They tell him this is Discipline for fights others have started against him. The gentlemen who a bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, axis 2 personality and ADHD and they don't allow him to wash his clothes or shower all because there's no place to help him learn to control his anger, depression, and paranoia. They Delonis Shelter is not equipped for those with mental disabilities and they treat them harshly when they act out. The man being mistreated is Jeffery Leftwich a 26 year old resident who frequently gets hated on by residents and staff because of his sexual orientation. Have we l
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 6:44 p.m.
And THIS is your argument for a warming center! Lets put an add in every major city in the country saying we will take your homeless.
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 1:05 a.m.
I don't know if a warming center would fix all of these problems. Sounds like some psychiatric staff would help. Maybe some security to break up fights. But I'm all for a warming center if people think it would help and is needed. Sounds like the Delonis center was never big enough for the population that it serves. And now with the funding cuts...
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 7:01 p.m.
Brilliant logic, Mike.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 6:33 p.m.
It sounds an awful lot to me like the City believes it better to leave the homeless to suffer and freeze on the street than to utilize an available sheltered area that may, or may not be up to Ann Arbor's often ridiculous code requirements.
Stephen Lange Ranzini
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 6:29 p.m.
People are willing to fix up the building for free and the city turns them away? As long as the lease is for less than a year it wouldn't interfere with the Arts Council's long term plans. Whatever work is done to improve the building lowers the cost of using the building in the long term for the arts.
Stephen Lange Ranzini
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 3:57 a.m.
@DonBee: Apparently there is only a "small amount" of asbestos in the building associated with the broken boiler system. Please read Pat Lesko's post below! I like historic preservation of landmark buildings and University Bank has in the past backed the restoration of the Tuomy Gas Station at the corner of Washtenaw and Stadium (the world's first gas station, now on the National Historic Register), and the Mansion on Washtenaw we now occupy as our headquarters. I can see the building at 415 W. Washington from my home, and I can assure you it has zero artistic or historic merit!
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 12:54 a.m.
Silly Sally, You make the assumption that the asbestos in the building is part of the heating system. Asbestos has been used in a number of different applications for years, including: Steam pipes, boilers and furnace ducts insulating blankets paper tape floor tiles insulation backing on vinyl sheet flooring adhesives used for floor tile installation cement sheets, millboard and paper insulation door gaskets on boilers and furnaces soundproofing decorative materials patching and joint compounds textured paints roofing materials shingles siding "Encapsulate and move on" doesn't always work.
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 12:50 a.m.
Mr. Ranzini - Is your bank offering to cover the asbestos abatement? The city does not have the funds right now, they have allocated it.
Stephen Lange Ranzini
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 11:34 p.m.
@DonBee: Construction costs now are low because of the lack of construction going on which is causing intense competition among general contractors. Later after the economy recovers it will be more expensive AND the city won't have all the free volunteer labor.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 10:56 p.m.
Mr. Ranzini - Agreed, but if the building sits unused, they can defer the mitigation for a year to several years. If they open it as a warming center, they have to deal with it first. If you believe the local economy is going to get better, deferring this is in their best interest.
Stephen Lange Ranzini
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 9:38 p.m.
@DonBee: The city owns the asbestos liability even if they knock the building down. In fact, in many cases knocking down a building with asbestos is more expensive than encapsulating and containing it on site.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 9:26 p.m.
Encapsulate it and move on. Along as it is not in a forced air heating system. Oh, wait, it used a boiler system. Asbestos is safe to eat or drink, just not to breathe. They ain't going away. Would you rather have 'em in the AADL? Your home? Filling up a jail AFTER a crime?
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 8:03 p.m.
Stephen, in a "free society" it might be possible for volunteers to contribute to such a project.. But with all of the regulations involved in any construction project (especially with asbestos involved) and the operation of any habitable structure within the jurisdiction of a municipality that due to the will of its voting majority, is going to require that the regulations be enforced, particularly in a circumstance such as this, don't see how it is going to work. I worked with and lived with this population daily for more than a decade and represented their behalf against more than one city hall and many neighborhood associations. My caution to the "volunteers" involved is that they should look long and hard for people deserving of their time and effort where the recipients of their charity are not so much the main obstacle in the effectiveness of the charity. I was at an AA meeting at 10:00 am this morning and there was a gentleman there with less than a week sober who was in a treatment program for the first time. He had been turned down at Delonis a week ago, because he was intoxicated. Admitted to detox for the umpteenth time, he stated that he had finally gotten exhausted with doing nothing more than looking for a few dollars to finance another bottle, "I no longer know what to do with my time other than drink, so I can't be out there with any control over what I do with my time." In my opinion, a "warming center" is a form of safety net that can actually perpetuate a culture of self-abuse as it ameliorates the consequences of anti-social behavior.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 7:52 p.m.
Mr. Ranzini - I can explain in one phrase: Asbestos liability
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 6:11 p.m.
There does need to be an official warming center established for the homeless population in A2. The downtown library currently is serving this function and it's not working. There aren't staff in the library trained to deal with the mentally ill and unruly homeless who shout obscenities, bother patrons, leave materials all over the tables and chairs, and park in the chairs all day long so no one else can sit down. I understand the problem of homelessness, but the public library is not the answer. The answer is a warming shelter. There was a warming building a few years ago over on 1st, but it was torn down and paved over for parking. I used to volunteer there when the warming shelter was in that building. A suitable building downtown should be renovated and fixed up for a day or night shelter, as the need is great. I don't think that 415 W Washington is the answer since the cost of renovation would be high and where would those funds come from? Maybe some of the area downtown churches would have large assembly halls that could be used as a temporary solution until a permanent building is located and renovated.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 5:17 p.m.
"Ann Arbor resident Alan Haber, one of the supporters of the project, called on the City Council this past week to make space available at 415 W. Washington." I wonder if Mr. Haber lives hear 415 W. Washington.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 9:32 p.m.
This is the same Alan Haber who wanted the Library Lot to be turned into a park. Now he opposes a park at a less expensive location. Go figure.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 4:59 p.m.
The Greenway wasn't an issue when they built the Delonis Center...
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 4:40 p.m.
The building cannot be fixed by volunteers. First off, they wouldn't be making a "living wage." Secondly, the work has to be done by union members, so that their dues can be cycled back to Ann Arbor politicians in the form of campaign contributions. Don't you know how government works? Get with the program! Also, anyone who thinks that a city that can take two years to replace two bridges can do *anything* quickly is deluding themselves. Hizzoner has two offices, one in the new Justice League Headquarters (or whatever other ostentatious title they have given to the building) and another in a UM office. We should be able to keep some folks warm in each building. Show some leadership, your honor, and open up your offices.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.
I find it comforting that all the people against this project spend their time posting comments here. It nice to know that the project supporters are spending their time actively by going downtown and lobbying city hall to make the project happen. I know downtown Ann arbor is scary with all these homeless drug addicts hanging around but if your against this project your going to have to leave your house to make a difference.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 4:36 p.m.
I think artists should move into it, fix it up, make it a great place to hang out, be creative, have fun, then have the cops come in, kick them out, and burn it down to make way for another YMCA.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 4:36 p.m.
Why not be humane and give the homeless a ticket to Miami? Its a lot warmer there and South Beach would be fun for the NON-winners in Life's lottery.
Billy Bob Schwartz
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 12:40 a.m.
I think they would put them on a bus and haul them to another county and drop them off. Each county would do that, so that they would get the feeling that they were on a cruise. Nice idea.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 11:02 p.m.
What do you think Miami would do if a whole bunch of people with no money, jobs or housing suddenly appeared on their streets? I don't expect that the city would roll out the welcome mat for them.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 4:14 p.m.
The building is owned by the city and is vacant and could be fixed quickly for short term use. The homeless during the day have no space to be warm, shelters close in the morning, in the kind of cold we have in Michigan, it is hard to think that we cannot provide a place for them to be in during the day and even night if there is need. This building could be rebuilt using volunteer labor, there are a lot of skills and knowledge here and this building could serve as an art center and a day shelter. It is time to create programs that are visionary. Ann Arbor can do better!
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:43 a.m.
You see, its a tricky thing to keep the balance A2 wants. Ann Arbor doesn't want to invest in helping the homeless, because they simply want them to disappear. They city is interested in maintaining the "image" it needs to continue to attract students from around the world that drives the financial giant that is UM. UM floats this city, and we can't have panhandlers asking for money if we are to attract the students of wealthy parents now can we? Sad, but true, A2 will not take action unless it begins to affect university enrollment/image.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 7:49 p.m.
Francis Clare - Please re-read the article, it states there is asbestos in the building and a broken boiler. Both take professionals to do the work and asbestos abatement would have to be done before the building can be used. I doubt you will find an asbestos abatement firm that would be willing to volunteer to do this work. Then there are city work rules, that would limit what the volunteers could do.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 4:13 p.m.
I dont understand, dont we already have a homeless shelter? Why cant it be used as a warming center?
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 4:08 p.m.
Millions of dollars just to get it up and running? What about maintenance, security, utilities, etc? There are a small percentage of folks that are temporarily homeless because of the economy. They should be at the front of the line, and services exist for them. There are also people that are severely mentally ill. These people need clinical help. But let's get real: a large percentage of homeless people are homeless by choice or by the terrible choices they've made in their lives. I have little sympathy for them. The last thing we need is another expensive albatross that will attract even more homeless from all ends of the United States.
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 3:25 p.m.
Did you miss the part where it said that half of the homeless are families with children? Alpha House has space for all of six families - that's it.
Billy Bob Schwartz
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 12:38 a.m.
"The last thing we need is another expensive albatross that will attract even more homeless from all ends of the United States." ----- Davidian...I guess the best way to keep that from happening would be to let a bunch of homeless families freeze to death and then be sure it was widely publicized. That should keep the legions of worthless souls in America from flooding into A2 and clogging our warming station(s). Good idea.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 11 p.m.
Probably the vast majority of homeless fall into the two categories of temporarily homeless due to economic hardship and the mentally ill. You didn't see very many street people in Ann Arbor until Engler closed most of the state psychiatric facilities.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 3:37 p.m.
The organizers of this project seem to have more in mind than a simple warming center. Arts and crafts and creative writing? I think the organizers may suffer from idealistic exuberance and I question if they should be taken seriously at all.
Billy Bob Schwartz
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 8:21 p.m.
Pappa...Good idea. Knitting and crocheting are good ideas. It takes up time, and it provides useful stuff for the homeless and others in poverty. Yet, if violence is a concern, maybe sharp ten-inch needles aren't such a good idea.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 4:56 p.m.
Why not teach them something while they're warming up? Better than sitting around doing nothing. Maybe they could make gloves and hats for other freezing homeless kids and adults.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 3:48 p.m.
You have to do some low cost activity to pass the time while they are there to keep the peace. Get real!
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.
"It also has no heat or water, so that is something to consider. And I mean no ability to connect heat or water," said Lisa Wondrash, a spokeswoman for the city. WHAT? A building in downtown Ann Arbor with "no ability to connect heat or water," Get real. At least have a spokes person with some knowledge of what is involved with putting heat and water in a building! I am not saying it is a feasible project, BUT at least be honest about the concerns!
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 7:41 p.m.
Silly Sally, How do you know that the asbestos in the building has not already become friable? Asbestos-containing materials become friable when exposed to weathering, such as would occur inside a building with a leaking roof, cracked exterior walls and broken windows. (Sound familiar?) I'm sorry you don't accept the known consequences of asbestos exposure and the reality of how asbestos breaks down in an unmaintained environment, but city building codes likely require the removal of all asbestos in the building before the building can be reused for any other purpose, including temporary ones.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 3:46 p.m.
The mayor is clueless, or dishonest. He even mentioned asbestos, which can be a harmless building insulation, just to scare people. It is only bad if suspended into the air and breathed. He wants another park to replace the lost land for his railroad station.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 3:21 p.m.
So, Mr. mayor, where is the best place for the warming shelter? We hear your, "No!" Where is your, "Yes!". . . ? I'll bet we could generate some major heat somewhere . . . Let's start with REPURPOSING that ice-cold $2mil art folly fund. We've already wasted $1mil on the non-functioning (seasonally- and artistically-limited) frozen folly fountain . . . Instead, why not Fund Delonis beyond this year? . . . Why not fund a day warming center? How about imagining using the funds to warm more than the gas that inflates our leaking egos?
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.
We need that building for art!!!!!
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.
@cinnabar7071: Exactly right. Another liberal attempt to spend my money. I don't see Orian on here listing her address and inviting people to come spend the evening with her? Where are all of the "west side" Obama loving, ACLU liberals at? Each of them could take a few people in for the winter.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 4:31 p.m.
Oh, Obama supporters only live on the West side of Ann Arbor? Is that a new restriction somewhere? Hadn't heard of it. Given the republican buffoons on tv, I'd think his numbers would be escalating exponentially. Don't actually see anyone's name and address on here, so not sure how relevant that point is either -- or any of the points actually. LoL.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.
By the time the AA city bureaucrats find the "perfect" building for a warming center it'll be spring again. Maybe that's the whole strategy?
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.
If the Occupy people really do represent 99% of the people like they say, they should have no problem at all raising the money to buy or lease a building. However, since very few people actually agree with them, it's highly unlikely.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 11:13 p.m.
Rob, is 200 pounds enough for you? <a href="http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_19373284" rel='nofollow'>http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_19373284</a>
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 10:56 p.m.
Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans agree with a lot of the basic arguments that are made by the occupiers. But no, most do not wish to sleep in the park, despite their political alignment.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 10:25 p.m.
Oh, do the police records reflect this as a violation? Do you have actual statistics to back this up? Please list your source/facts please.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.
Very few agree that pooping in the park is a solution.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 4:28 p.m.
Very few agree with them that there is income inequality in the US? That the banks are making billions while their customers are losing their homes to foreclosure? What are the sources of your claims? Recent polls suggest more support for Occupy protests than for the right-wing tea partiers .....
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2:41 p.m.
As means to alleviate human suffering that building will do just fine. Pass the hat around to hire a few of the laid off fire or police to do security.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 7:18 p.m.
Until a guest, volunteer or worker sues the city for asbestos exposure. BTW, the article says the heat does not work...among a thousand other problems.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2:39 p.m.
Build it and they will come! Now what would make feel all warm and fussy would be to see these Ann Arbor liberals invite the homeless into their own big homes to get warm. That would be careing. What your seeing now is only showboating.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2:34 p.m.
ooooo! i am so excited about this project! whether downtown or uptown - i can hardly wait to pay even more for drunks and drug addicts! oooo!!!!!
Billy Bob Schwartz
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 12:29 a.m.
Guess I got censored. Ah, well. In any case, everything I said in my censored post is right on and I believe it with all my heart. I will just say now that it is preposterous to claim that the 1950s attitude that all homeless people are drunks and drug addicts no longer holds. Do you know in each case what happened to these people to get them to this point? I had a great life growing up, but I can understand the damage that can be done to people by their environment. That's it. Please consider not overgeneralizing about people who have had less opportunity than you. Censor: I'm only making a mild request.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 10:54 p.m.
A lot of people end up homeless through no fault of their own.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 4:54 p.m.
no worries. because i chose not to be a drunk or a druggie i never will.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 3:44 p.m.
may you never find yourself outside with people making these assumptions about you.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2:25 p.m.
Oh EyeHeartA2.......you made my day! I almost fell off my chair. The irony is.....there is indisputable logic hidden in your question.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2:16 p.m.
Opening a warming center is all well and good. Having volunteers to staff it 24/7 is a great reduction in cost. But, are the volunteers also going to pay for the heat, blankets, plumbers and other needs of the warming center? If not, it is yet another cost pushed onto the city or county. Like it or not, the reality is people go where the facilities are best, with a warming center, Ann Arbor will attract still more people who are homeless. This is a reality. What are they going to do when they max out the warming center? I would like to see people taken care of, but there are people with hard core problems that probably should be in institutions on the street. Some volunteers are not ready to encounter them.
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 3:18 p.m.
What institutions? They were all dismantled in the name of fiscal responsibility. Delonis is full and has had its funding cut, as have all the other programs serving those who are homeless or at risk of becoming so. The article states that volunteers are actively seeking to work with experienced programs. And by the way, Alpha House is run by volunteers and church members.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 7:43 p.m.
Silly Sally, Denise Heberle, and Billy Bob Schwartz - Granted many people are families and in bad situations. That does not take away from the fact that some are not, and can be dangerous. It is that portion that worries me, with volunteer staff that may or may not be prepared to deal. The other fact that worries me is the cost of the utilities and upkeep. Are you willing to donate to an operating fund? Say $50 a month for the next 5 months? I spent more than 6 months homeless when I left the military.
Billy Bob Schwartz
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 7:24 p.m.
Yeah...let them eat cake. Or, more to the point, let them go home and turn the heat up. lol Children and parents who have lost everything in the Great Recession are not evil...they are displaced by our economy. Should they really all gather in a dumpster and huddle together to stay warm?
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 5:32 p.m.
then call the police, the rest can benefit
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 3:43 p.m.
It is unacceptable that we marginalize and make assumptions about people many of us have never even spoken to. More and more, "the homeless" are families and children. The image of the "typical" homeless person as a scary drug addict has given many an excuse to turn away from the problem. Ann Arbor is a city full of resources that should be tapped to serve all the people, not just the monied, of which there are many here. The resistance to this project, begun by graduate students and homeless people is shocking. Shame on you, Ann Arbor - home of U of M, Google, McMansion neighborhoods....
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2:07 p.m.
The perfect place for a warming center is at City Hall.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.
Sounds like a valuable piece of prime downtown real estate going to waste. The city should sell it and put the proceeds into something useful - like police, fire, etc. Then the city would also reap the yearly property taxes. We don't need another little "parklet" there that will require maintenance, etc.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 10:53 p.m.
It's a great property, except for the fact that it's right in the middle of the flood plain. The old industrial building at Liberty and 1st (a block away from this site) stood vacant for a long time, even though it seemed like a prime piece of real estate at the edge of downtown and developers invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix it up.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2 p.m.
"Winter is already here", she said [Orian Zakai]. She should get her facts correct. Winter does not start until December 22nd 5:30 UTC. What school does she attend?
J. A. Pieper
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 1:30 a.m.
AAPS of course!
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 7:29 p.m.
Winters are like babies; they come when they come.
Billy Bob Schwartz
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 6:45 p.m.
I guess you can't freeze to death until it is officially winter. Interesting philosophy. What church did you attend. Oops. I mean, what school.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 4:24 p.m.
Perhaps the snow on the ground and the below freezing temperatures may have suggested that the winter season is here ?
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.
"She should get her facts correct. Winter does not start until December 22nd 5:30 UTC. What school does she attend?" You should get your facts straight. Meteorological Winter begins in December. It was 15 degrees in Ann Arbor last night. What school do you attend?
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.
Why not use the Ann Arbor City Hall building for a warming center? It's not as if much constructive activity goes on in there as it is. Just think: all of the homeless/street people inside City Hall would mean that the A2 government would get a first-hand chance to talk to them and to find out in person what they need, instead of paying another useless task force or consulting agency $$$ to find out how to help the homeless population! And yeah, that building sounds like it is beyond repair, and should be demolished. Seems like it would be a in-demand lot for development after they did that, too.
Billy Bob Schwartz
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 6:44 p.m.
"I'm not inadvertently advocating the demolition of City Hall, lol" ---- Inadvertently? ROTFL
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2:01 p.m.
^^^I meant to say demolish that building on Washington street...I'm not inadvertently advocating the demolition of City Hall, lol...^^^
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 1:54 p.m.
The Y is such a popular place and they have maxed out every square inch of their building. A couple years ago I mentioned to their management that they should purchase the building across the street as an annex. (Picture a 2nd story pedestrian bridge linking the two buildings!) I was told that they looked into it, but because it's considered an "historical site", there were too many stipulations as to how the space could be renovated and it would be cost prohibitive. What a shame. As important as it is to help this vulnerable population, I just wish the proposed site wasn't across the street from the Y. I'm worried about ushering my kids past panhandlers and drug dealers. I know that very few of the homeless even engage in those behaviors, but it's still scary to me.
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 1:53 a.m.
Yeap, let's worry about the children.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 7:51 p.m.
To many ppl use their children as a shield to hide their fears behind... <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qh2sWSVRrmo" rel='nofollow'>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qh2sWSVRrmo</a> Won't someone please think of the children!!!
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2:23 p.m.
Oh...the children... You should lock them in your house and never let them go outside. With all those dangerous people out there, you never know...
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 1:32 p.m.
The University of Michigan should open a warming center in building already open to the general public. Places like the Union, Angell Hall, East quad come to mind as ideal places. While I think Orian Zakai's heart is in the right place, it is time for the mighty university to help out the community.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 8:58 p.m.
When I go to a University building I see huge amount of wasted space that would be ideally suited for housing the homeless. Think about it, the homeless and student population under one roof; getting to know one another, sharing, exchanging ideas and even ramen recipes? Brilliant! After all, most of the students will end up homeless anyway, so why not actually get a leg up? I do accept travel checks.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.
In general univeristy buildings are not 'open' to the public. they are open to persons with business with the university. And is this a Univeristy problem or The cities problem? This is the Cities problem
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2 p.m.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 1:59 p.m.
Nothing like attracting high quality students and homeless people. Think the super rich liberals will enjoy watching little Betty sleep feet away from one of there unfortunate homeless people they seem to enjoy "helping." Or, will they send Betty to Harvard instead.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 1:30 p.m.
How about a warming room or rooms in the newly expanded city hall? It even has police protection, and the mayor can get a first hand view. I think that the mayor doesn't like this proposal since it is doing it on the cheap with volunteers and not spending millions, with him announcing it.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 11:53 p.m.
Sally I know you dont care about the safety of the homeless but some of us do. Sticking them in a building full of abestos is beyond humane. Just because they are homeless doesnt mean they are not people. Ann Arbor is full of empty buildings without abestos. I am sure the mayor and city will find a more suitable place soon.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 9:09 p.m.
Has it occurred to you that the building was built at great cost for a reason, namely that city services needed the space and are now occupying it? Is this the Tea Party philosophy that government is superfluous and should be tossed out? Do you want to expel the police to make room for the warming center?
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2:01 p.m.
I second that, they could even enjoy multi-million dollar art that the rest of us rarely will see. I bet the city council has the philosophy of, everywhere but here though.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.
"Hieftje said the greenway vision for 415 W. Washington, which includes transforming the eastern edge of the property into a green space, will be easier and less expensive." But this does nothing for those left out in the cold The rest of this is just a diversion by the mayor. These other "reasons" that he lists are excuses that can be easily fixed. Port-a Johns can be used, if needed, although I'm sure that the sewer system still works and a working restroom can be easily arranged. Broken glass can be cleaned up and windows fixed. A leaking roof in one area? What is that compared to standing outside? Let the private group arrange an alternative heating system. We all know that this mayor only knows how to SPEND BIG. Al old building such as this is great, while not suitable for a high society luncheon, it is for a warming "hut" for the homless and the city does NOT need "... a seven-figure number to make that building usable." THe goal is to save lives, not make it a lifestyle of choice in million dollar building. More importantly, this proposal is now, not years in the future
Stephen Lange Ranzini
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 4:04 a.m.
@YpsiLivin: Please read Pat Lesko's post (a long way down the comments). Apparently there is only a "small amount" of asbestos in the building and it is only associated with the broken boiler system and the concerns about asbestos are just hype.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 7:27 p.m.
Silly Sally, The needs of this building go well beyond fixing broken windows. Have you priced out asbestos abatement lately? How about replacement costs for a commercial boiler? Refurbished any restrooms lately? Know anything about the cost of replacing a commercial roof? The reason the "art club" never got off the ground is because the group could never raise the 7-figure sum needed to rehab the building and return it to a state where the building was safe enough to be occupied. Put plainly, this building is dangerous. The "solutions" posed by the original poster are: "Porta Johns" and "I'm sure the sewer system still works." (And he knows this because...? Who pays for the portajohns?) "Broken glass can be cleaned up and windows fixed." (Yes, but broken windows are the least of this building's problems.) "A leaking roof in one area? What is that compared to standing outside?" (No solution; just an observation. Water inside a building promotes the growth of mold, which can be hazardous to human health.) "Let the private group arrange an alternate heating system." (Fine, but the cost of heating several thousand square feet is enormous. Who foots the bill for that? The private group? And when they can't pay the bill, then what?) Meanwhile, none of these "suggestions" address the original concerns of the City, which are: asbestos throughout the building jagged metal inside the building a known history of leaking pipes cracks in the exterior walls a known inoperable heating system a suspected inoperable internal plumbing system a known non-functional water connection The City should condemn the building.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.
Silly @ YpsiLivin, I think that he offered solutions. Don't you how to fix a broken window? Solutions were proffered for the other "problems" than you mention. Its funny how it is good enough for an art club to use it, and it has protected football programs for over 33 years. But not people. Never!
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 2:05 p.m.
Sorry, life is political. It's better to let a human freeze, then give them a building which can be used against the council in an election...... City council man joe.blow, your forcing the homeless to live in a building condemned by the city, do you have no heart? Vs - City council man Joe.blow, you haven't helped the homeless, why not? ---Well, because we're currently in the process of finding an affordable safe home for them.... Politics.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 1:43 p.m.
"But this does nothing for those left out in the cold" Then again, neither will opening up a structurally deficient building with a leaking roof and broken windows that has no heat, electricity or plumbing. The building no longer meets the City's minimum standards for occupation or use. In other words, it constitutes a hazard to human health. These "reasons" sound like good justification to keep people out of the structure.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 1:01 p.m.
I guess until a place is found, we should just drop off our mattresses and furniture at the park that this group has taken over, right Orian?
Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 12:57 a.m.
Maybe you should wait until summer. It's probably coming soon, since Orian believes winter is already here. I guess graduate school at Michigan is what you make of it.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 12:06 p.m.
While I can certainly emphasize for the good well-natured homeless people that are homeless due to no fault of their own, I also understand that there are other people that prey on the goodwill of others. Unfortunately, many educated and well to do people are not as versed on being street smart. There are cons out there just waiting to take advantage of that. The community needs to exercise great care when operating something like this. Police and the shelter needs to make sure this doesn't turn into a hangout for drunks, druggies, and cons.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 7:29 p.m.
For a moment I thought you were describing Wall Street... Oh, I guess you were !
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 5:03 p.m.
Shady, take one in if that bothers you.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 4:44 p.m.
yes, let the "bad" homeless freeze.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 12:06 p.m.
Either clean it it up and rehab it or demolish it if it is unsafe. This Is a scandal that the city knowingly owns a building in this condition!
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 10:44 p.m.
This is not a scandal. That building has stood in that exact same condition for as long as I can remember and it hasn't caused any problems. The city has a plan but they don't have the money to act yet. People will come on here and scream about the cost of demolishing the building when they do start to remove it.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 11:57 a.m.
Buildings like this can't be allowed to stand in disrepair when the owner chooses to abandon them. It should either be rehabilitated, or demolished and cleaned up. If a private company moved out to the suburbs and left property in this condition, I would be dismayed that they are not being good citizens or community leaders. For the City of Ann Arbor to act in the same way is repulsive. Who do they think is going to buy the land and fix it up with an uninhabitable building on it? Unless of course they negotiate huge tax breaks. Rather than grant tax breaks, they need to clean it up now. Should the Occupiers keep looking for other suitable locations, they will find property owners concerned for their personal liability for property damage and police services. A sem-managed homeless shelter is impractical.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 11:09 p.m.
"There is no immediate need to remove that building" Should we wait another five years and then declare an immediate need? They should apply for a grant to clean up the property before it implodes and leaves a cloud of asbestos across downtown.
Sun, Dec 11, 2011 : 10:41 p.m.
The article states that the city has explored the options of rehabbing that building or demolishing it as part of its greenway plan. The mayor favors demolishing it due to the cost of a rehab. I don't know what is holding up the greenway, other than insufficient funding at this time. Stop trying to make a scandal out of this. There is no immediate need to remove that building, and the city isn't trying to sell the property.