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AnnArbor.com's News section covers government, crime, education, health and the environment across Washtenaw County.

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    Half a mile from the finish line at the Boston Marathon, Saline resident Paul Renberg was waiting to meet up with his wife, Kathy, after her successful completion of the race. Paul and his daughters Elise, 12, and Karissa, 16, had snapped a picture of Kathy at the 26-mile mark and were waiting to congratulate her on her first Boston Marathon Monday.

    Excitement quickly turned to fear when the Renbergs heard an explosion in the distance. Smoke rose from the area of Kathy’s last known whereabouts and Paul feared the worst.

    kathy-renberg-boston-marathon.jpg

    Saline resident Kathy Renberg, far right, at the 26-mile point of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Renberg finished 20 minutes before an explosion killed at least two and injured at least 132 at the finish line on Monday, April 15.

    Photo courtesy of Paul Renberg

    “It was pretty frightening because we hadn’t connected with Kathy yet,” Renberg said.

    About five minutes later, a frightened Kathy came around the corner and the Renbergs made their way back to their downtown hotel room. Kathy is one of 60 Washtenaw County residents registered for the race, including two others from Saline and 50 from Ann Arbor. None of the 60 have been reported among those killed or injured by the explosions.

    Paul Renberg said the explosion was startling.

    “It was unlike anything I’ve ever heard,” Paul said. “It was loud, and we could see the cloud of smoke."

    The Renbergs made their way back to their room at Westin Copley Place, just 161 meters from the explosion that according to the Associated Press killed at least two people and injured at least 132.

    Back in Ann Arbor, Kathy and Paul's son, Nick Renberg, a Saline High School alumnus and current member of the University of Michigan men’s track and field team, scrambled to get an update from his parents.

    Nick’s teammates asked him if he had reached out to his family when they ran into him on campus and that was the first he heard of the tragedy. Nick quickly scrambled to get ahold of his family. Just as there was for his father and sisters, Nick had some tense moments of uncertainty as his calls to his mother and father wouldn’t go through. He said he called about 20 times before finally finding out from his father that everyone was all right.

    The Associated Press reported earlier that cellphone service was shut down in the Boston area to prevent any possible remote detonations of explosives, citing a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing. That report has since been refuted.

    Paul said he’s been flooded with texts and emails checking on Kathy since news of the tragedy broke.

    Kathy, 50, has competed in two Detroit Marathons, but this was her first time ever running in Boston. Kathy crossed the finish line at the three hour, 49 minute point of the race, 20 minutes before the explosions.

    Kathy declined to comment for the story.

    “She ran a very good race but is very shaken up by what happened,” Paul said.

    The Renbergs are scheduled to return home on Tuesday and have yet to hear if their flight will be delayed. The Federal Aviation Administration put a temporary ground stop on inbound flights to Logan International Airport, but lifted the ban around 6 p.m. on Monday.

    -- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

    Pete Cunningham covers sports for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at petercunningham@annarbor.com. Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.


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    Editor's note: Updates to participants' statuses are indicated with a time stamp when they were changed.

    041513_Boston-Marathon-Explosion2.jpg

    Medical workers aid injured people at the 2013 Boston Marathon following an explosion in Boston Monday. Two explosions shattered the euphoria of the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, sending authorities out on the course to carry off the injured while the stragglers were rerouted away from the smoking site of the blasts.

    AP Photo | The Boston Globe, David L Ryan

    Following the two deadly, tragic explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon Monday, AnnArbor.com has been tracking the status of Ann Arbor-area runners that were registered for the race.

    Race registration and split times for each participant are available online. Google has started a "Person Finder" database based on user information for the Boston Marathon explosion.

    The following is a list of the status of the 66 Washtenaw County residents who had registered for the race.

    The list will be updated as information is obtained and is not complete. To give an update on an individual, please email news@annarbor.com or leave a comment below.

    Ann Arbor

    • Meredith Barrett, 25 - confirmed OK
    • Jessie Benaglio, 24 - confirmed OK; updated Tuesday morning
    • David A. Bizot, 42 - did not run due to injury
    • Nina Bovio, 67 - did not finish the race
    • David Bradley, 45 - confirmed OK, updated Tuesday morning
    • Adrian A. Carnie, 41 - confirmed OK
    • Alaina C. Case, 30 - confirmed OK
    • Ryan Case, 32 - confirmed OK
    • Andrew M. Caselli, 30 - confirmed OK
    • Christine Comer, 42 - confirmed OK
    • Jackie Dalton, 45 - confirmed OK
    • Joel D. Dalton, 45 - confirmed OK
    • Nancy A. Damm, 46 - confirmed OK
    • Susan David, 47 - confirmed OK; updated 1:30 p.m. Tuesday
    • Christopher Dresser, 29 - did not run
    • John Farah, 69 - confirmed OK
    • Danielle M. Hainer, 23 - did not run
    • Jason L. Hall, 38 - confirmed OK
    • David A. Harlock, 42 - did not run; updated 11 p.m.
    • Chelsea Hickok, 27 - did not run; updated 11 p.m.
    • Chelsea C. Holt, 25 - confirmed OK
    • Behnam Kamrani, 38 - confirmed OK
    • James D. Kasten Jr., 24 - confirmed OK
    • Mollie A. Kempa, 28 - confirmed OK
    • Gregory King, 29 - confirmed OK
    • Aaron Kosel, 23 - confirmed OK
    • Kelley P. Kozloff, 36 - confirmed OK
    • Doug H. LeMaster, 48 - confirmed OK
    • Gianne Lete, 43 - confirmed OK
    • Scott Loewe, 33 - confirmed OK
    • Samantha Longacre, 23 - did not run; updated 11 p.m.
    • Eduardo Matsuo, 60 - confirmed OK
    • John A. Maxey, 32 - confirmed OK
    • Adam Mazel, 36 - did not run; updated 11 p.m.
    • Amy Mikhail, 45 - confirmed OK
    • Elizabeth A. Mills, 25 - confirmed OK; updated noon Tuesday
    • Rob Morgan, 47 - confirmed OK
    • Eric Ohrn, 28 - confirmed OK; did not run, updated 10:30 p.m.
    • Bonita Ohye, 44 - confirmed OK; did not attend the race
    • Richard Ohye, 49 - confirmed OK; did not attend the race
    • Kristina Olsen, 24 - did not attend the race; updated noon Tuesday
    • Erin E. Patton, 30 - no record of them running
    • Leonid Pavlovsky, 24 -confirmed ok; updated Tuesday morning
    • Mike Roth, 24 - confirmed OK; updated Tuesday morning
    • Catie Schadlick, 28 - confirmed OK
    • Tim G. Schuster, 40, of Ann Arbor - confirmed OK, updated 10:30 p.m.
    • Lori K. Sella-Armstrong, 42 - confirmed OK, updated 10:30 p.m.
    • Ellie Serras, 63- confirmed OK
    • Christine Stead, 41 - confirmed OK
    • Dani Steinbacher, 27 - confirmed OK
    • Eric Straka, 46 - confirmed OK
    • Roger Sunahara, 50 - confirmed OK
    • Leah Tai, 27 - confirmed OK
    • Andrea Walrath, 33 - confirmed OK
    • Michael Waterson, 26 - confirmed OK; updated Tuesday morning
    • Josh White, 25 - confirmed OK

    Chelsea

    • Danie Matusik, 41 - confirmed OK
    • Roy Schmidt, 50 - confirmed OK

    Milan

    • Dale Karr, 60 - confirmed OK updated Tuesday morning
    • Herbert Morelock, 41- confirmed OK

    Saline

    • Chuck Martens, 48 - confirmed OK; updated Tuesday morning
    • Alexis Nees, 45 - confirmed OK; updated Tuesday morning
    • Kathy Renberg, 50 - confirmed OK

    Whitmore Lake

    • Katherine Gillman, 46 - did not run; updated 11:15 p.m.

    Ypsilanti

    • Mayrie Eckermann, 40 - confirmed OK; updated Tuesday morning
    • Tony Wisniewski, 45 - confirmed OK

    -- Reporters Kyle Feldscher and Ben Freed and editors Pete Cunningham and Cindy Heflin contributed to this report.

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


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    The University of Michigan faculty government is calling on the administration to improve student diversity at the school.

    Faculty noted that there haven't been increases in minority enrollment over the past 18 years, and in the case of black students there has been a "precipitous drop."

    MICHIGAN-CAMPUS.JPG

    University of Michigan

    Underrepresented minorities make up 10 percent of the Ann Arbor school's freshman class, a decrease from last year, and faculty say they want to see U-M enroll a more diverse student body.

    In a resolution passed by a 28-9 vote Monday , the faculty Senate Assembly called on administrators to pour more resources into achieving diversity and determine the cause of the lack of diversity on campus. They also encouraged U-M to broaden the scope of diversity beyond race to include sexual orientation, disabilities and marital status.

    According to figures obtained by the faculty senate, 5 percent of U-M students enrolled in 2012-13 are black, 13.7 percent Asian, 0.2 percent Native American and 4.6 percent Latino.

    In 2001, 8.8 percent of the student body was black, 13.8 percent were Asian, 0.7 percent were Native American and 4.7 percent were Latino.

    U-M's legal team fought for affirmative action before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2003 in Grutter v. Bollinger, which upheld considering race in admissions as long as quotas aren't attached, but in 2006 Michigan voters passed a ban forbidding state universities from using affirmative action. Since then the school has not considered race in admissions.

    Mary Sue Coleman, U-M president, has said she remains supportive of affirmative action. The legality of the 2006 voter-approved ban will be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court this year.

    In passing its resolution, faculty government acknowledged U-M's legal efforts but said they were insufficient and the university needs to work harder to achieve greater diversity.

    Gina Cervetti, a professor in the School of Education, said she supported the resolution because "there's a need for increased transparency" at U-M and the resolution is "a way to open up the conversation" about diversity.

    Finn Larsen, a physics professor, voted against the resolution because he said the university's "heart is in the right place."

    "It's a complex problem. There are no easy ways forward," he said. "They're doing what they can."

    Below is the faculty resolution on diversity:

    The University of Michigan is a great public institution. It is imperative that the university continue to work strenuously to create a learning community that reflects its aspirations to be a leader in public institution in our increasingly diverse twenty-first century society. Therefore, it is resolved that we request the administration to:

    1. Seek to determine the causes of now decades-long lack of process in improving campus diversity.
    2. Redirect university resources and strengthen leadership where necessary to achieve this goal of a more diverse and inclusive campus, supplementing any existing institutionalized programs and new creative approaches.
    3. Broaden the scope of efforts to include modern definitions of diversity (not only race, color, and national origin, but also age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, genes identity, gender expression, disability, religion, veteran status and economic class).
    4. Support initiatives such as the U-M Alumni Association Leadership, Excellence, Accomplishment, Diversity (LEAD) scholarship program for out-of-state under-represented minority students, including, to the extent possible, making such programs a high priority in the next university capital campaign, within the limits defined by the state and federal Constitutions.

    In a document explaining the resolution, the Assembly said the "situation is urgent" and the university's diversity strategy needs a "wholesale reassessment." Faculty suggested the university tackle its lack of diversity in part by recruiting students from high schools with high levels of underrepresented minorities, publicize financial aid for low-income families and offer summer programs and research programs targeted toward strengthening the experience of minority high schoolers.

    While the Assembly offered these suggestions, it added that there are "no magic bullets that will immediately improve diversity on the Ann Arbor campus."

    Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at kelliewoodhouse@annarbor.com or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


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    The downtown Ann Arbor Papa John’s store that closed to make way for a proposed high-rise has found a new home on Plymouth Road.

    The 1,500-square-foot pizza store opened at 3395 Plymouth Road in the Plymouth Green Crossings shopping center at 4 p.m. on Monday.

    plymouthgreen.jpg

    Papa John's opened Monday in the Plymouth Green Crossings shopping center.

    AnnArbor.com file photo

    “The north side is where the university growth is and new things are happening on that (area) of Plymouth there,” said franchise owner Austin McCurdy.

    McCurdy said about 70 percent of the store’s orders are delivery, so he wanted a convenient location with plenty of parking. He said the new location is better for business than the old store on East Huron Street, which closed in September 2012 after a Connecticut real estate firm purchased the property. The firm has since proposed a 14-story student high-rise at the corner of East Huron and South Division.

    “Being downtown isn’t really conducive to delivery drivers,” McCurdy said.

    McCurdy said some employees transferred to his Papa John’s store on Washtenaw Avenue in Pittsfield Township when the downtown Ann Arbor store closed.

    He said he’s also actively looking for space to open a store on Ann Arbor’s southwest side.

    “For pizza, our No. 1 demographic is 18-to-35-year-olds…also, the household count is high in Ann Arbor,” he said.

    Derek Brown of Quorum Commercial represented McCurdy in the deal. Lisa Loesel of CBRE is the listing broker for Plymouth Green Crossings.

    The new store is open 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

    Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at lizzyalfs@annarbor.com. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lizzyalfs.


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    Drivers that travel the Ford Boulevard bridge over East Michigan Avenue regularly as a part of their commute through Ypsilanti Township will be detoured beginning Wednesday as the Washtenaw County Road Commission will be closing the road for five months.

    The bridge closure marks the beginning of the $2.6 million reconstruction project that will last until August, which will require a seven-mile detour.

    041513_FORD-BLVD-BRIDGE.jpg

    The Ford Boulevard bridge over East Michigan Avenue in Ypsilanti Township will close Wednesday for a nearly five-month-long replacement project by the Washtenaw County Road Commission.

    AnnArbor.com file photo

    The county has awarded the project to the lowest bidder for the work -- Davis Construction, based in Lansing -- which will complete the project for $2.6 million. That's significantly less than the Road Commission anticipated the project would cost several months ago when they floated a $3.15 million figure as an estimate.

    The contractor will begin mobilizing equipment to the site Wednesday and removal of the bridge will begin soon afterward, said Kelly Jones, bridge project manager for the Road Commission.

    Spanning both East Michigan Avenue and a set of Northfolk-Southern railroad tracks, the Ford Boulevard bridge is 70 years old and will be completely rebuilt in the project.

    About 12,000 vehicles use the bridge each day, according to the road commission.

    The following detour will be posted:

    • Drivers southbound on North Ford Boulevard: Turn left on to Holmes Road; continue on to eastbound East Michigan Avenue; take the U.S. 12 connector west; exit at Ecorse Road to connect to South Ford Boulevard

    The reverse detour will be in effect for drivers northbound on South Ford Boulevard.

    The Ypsilanti Township Fire Department’s main route from its station at 222 S. Ford Blvd. to the northern third of the township uses the Ford Boulevard Bridge.

    Response times will be increased by two to three minutes because of the closure, said Ypsilanti Township Fire Chief Eric Copeland in a previous interview with AnnArbor.com.

    To respond to structure fires in the northern part of Ypsilanti Township, Superior Township fire units will be automatically deployed to assist due to a temporary automatic aid agreement.


    View Ford Boulevard bridge detour in a larger map

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


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    An Ann Arbor real estate company wants to construct a 251-unit apartment development on a vacant property on the city’s north side.

    First Martin Corporation will host a citizen participation meeting Thursday to discuss its plans for 2225 Traverwood Drive, which is just north of Plymouth Road and south of the Traverwood library branch.

    According to a notice circulated to residents living within 1,000 feet of the property, First Martin is proposing 251 apartments distributed among 11 two-story buildings and three four-story buildings. The two-story buildings would have 13 units each, and the four-story buildings would have 36 units each.

    first_martin_apartments_map.jpg

    A map of the proposed apartments on Traverwood Drive.

    Two parking spaces would be provided per unit in either attached garages or interior parking underneath the buildings. A portion of the site would require a rezoning from office/research to multi-family.

    “I think that there is obviously existing demand if you look at occupancies of apartment communities in Ann Arbor,” said First Martin’s Mike Martin. “I think if we look at the community in general with all the positive news and job employment growth, from a long-term standpoint, (this development) really makes sense.”

    First Martin has owned the property since the 1990s and it owns an office building adjacent to the site. Martin said the company was waiting for the right time to build apartments.

    “I just think that we’ve always seen that as a great multi-family site,” he said.

    He added: “I think there has been a little bit of that switch in the world where people are more open to renting than owning.”

    First Martin is still working on the preliminary plans, and Martin said details on unit size and demographics will be determined as the project moves forward. He said the apartments would not be targeted toward University of Michigan students.

    The news comes on the heels of increased housing activity on the north side of Ann Arbor; Trowbridge Companies announced plans in February to build 19 homes on the unfinished Hideaway Lane site, and Ann Arbor’s McKinley Inc. purchased and renovated two apartment buildings on the north side in 2012.

    First Martin — which has an extensive commercial real estate portfolio — hasn’t developed an apartment building in 28 years. First Martin owns Homestead Commons Apartments and Mill Creek Townhouses, and Farmington Hills-based Village Green manages those buildings.

    Village Green could manage the new apartment development for First Martin, but First Martin would retain ownership of the property, Martin said.

    “We are long-term owners and developers,” he said.

    The citizen participation meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. on April 18 at the Traverwood library branch where the developers will discuss the project and solicit public feedback.


    View Larger Map

    Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at lizzyalfs@annarbor.com. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lizzyalfs.


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    After several hours of debate, some bickering and little action, Ann Arbor City Council Member Chuck Warpehoski called it like he saw it at 3 a.m. Tuesday.

    "We're not getting anything done," said Warpehoski, D-5th Ward, urging his peers on council to adjourn the meeting that started eight hours earlier at 7 p.m. Monday.

    The unanimous decision to postpone the remainder of the council's agenda until May 6 came as council members were making little progress negotiating their way through proposed ordinance changes affecting the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority.

    council_041613_RJS_001.jpg

    The inside of the council chambers as it looked Tuesday morning toward the end of an eight-hour meeting.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com

    No final action was taken on the changes proposed by Council Members Stephen Kunselman, D-3rd Ward, and Sumi Kailasapathy, D-1st Ward.

    Council Members Marcia Higgins, D-4th Ward, and Kailasapathy left the meeting early because they had to work Tuesday morning. Without them present, the divided council struggled to muster the six votes needed to amend the proposal on the table.

    Mayor John Hieftje pushed for stripping out language that would place term limits on DDA board members. He argued term limits are ineffective and lead to inexperience.

    The vote was 5-4 in favor of no term limits, with Hieftje getting support from Sabra Briere, Christopher Taylor, Margie Teall and Warpehoski, but that fell short of the six votes needed.

    One change put forward by Briere did pass unanimously. It calls for having the DDA start submitting lists of its proposed capital projects to the city for review during the city's capital improvement plan process — and annual DDA budgets that break down capital costs.

    "There's been a lot of question in the community about the DDA acting carelessly with their funds without council approval, and it's my goal to begin to address that," Briere said.

    What mostly caused Monday night's meeting to run long was two back-to-back public hearings where dozens of residents and community leaders spoke for hours. One hearing was on the DDA ordinance changes and the other was on a 14-story high-rise proposed for 413 E. Huron St.

    The overwhelming majority of those who spoke were against the 413 E. Huron project, which never came up for a vote before the meeting adjourned.

    The overwhelming majority of speakers also came out in support of the DDA, urging council to vote against any proposal that would slow the DDA's tax revenue growth.

    The fear among many who spoke was that could hinder the DDA's ability to find extra room in its budget to fund affordable housing grants and other programs.

    Council members heard from representatives of downtown business associations, the Ann Arbor Art Fair, Zingerman's, Food Gatherers, Arbor Brewing Co., the Ark, the YMCA, the city's Housing and Human Services Advisory Board, Avalon Housing, Dawn Farm, and others representing the area's homeless population, including multiple people from Camp Take Notice.

    413_E_Huron_April_2013.jpg

    The latest rendering of the 413 E. Huron high-rise showing recently incorporated changes.

    Humphreys & Partners Architects

    The DDA is partially funded through TIF — or tax-increment financing — revenue, meaning it captures the increase in taxes resulting from new construction and improvements downtown.

    The changes Kunselman and Kailasapathy are proposing would take roughly $931,000 in TIF revenue away from the DDA in the next fiscal year starting July 1, according to the city's estimates.

    That includes $559,000 going back to the city, $196,000 to Washtenaw County, $124,000 to Washtenaw Community College and $52,000 to the Ann Arbor District Library.

    City officials said the DDA would lose another $173,000 a year starting in 2014-15 from the elimination of personal property taxes, but that's a separate issue.

    Hieftje noted the TIF fund balance is expected to drop to $441,860 in 2015-16 and to $264,816 in 2016-17, according to the DDA's 10-year plan. He and DDA officials cautioned against doing anything that could drop the fund balance so low that the authority can't take on new projects.

    Council Member Jane Lumm, an Independent who represents the 2nd Ward, suggested it's not so doom and gloom. Although roughly $931,000 would be redirected back to the other taxing authorities, most of that is new revenue that the DDA hasn't even budgeted.

    Lumm, who supports putting new limits on the DDA, said the DDA would retain roughly $3.57 million in annual TIF revenue, which is about $280,000 less from what's projected in the current year.

    "So what folks are characterizing as 'draconian', 'the sky is falling,' 'dismantling the DDA' — it's all about a $280,000 year-to-year reduction to the DDA's revenues, which is equivalent to about a 1 percent reduction for this $25 million annual operation," she said.

    Kunselman at one point pushed for postponing the DDA ordinance changes to the council's second meeting in June, but he couldn't get support.

    Hieftje said he had a better idea and urged Kunselman to go along with putting the issue off until after the August primary election to take politics out of the mix. Kunselman, who didn't appreciate the mayor's suggestion that his proposal is politically motivated, said he wants to get the issue taken care of by June so the TIF calculation method is clarified before July tax bills go out.

    council_041613_RJS_002.jpg

    A few dozen residents still were in attendance early Tuesday morning after several hours of public commentary.

    Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com

    Lumm fired back at Hieftje for injecting politics into the discussion. She said it seems like he tries to personally discredit people with opposing viewpoints.

    "You tried that with me once as well," Lumm told the mayor, "and I think you would be better served to simply argue the merits of your position, rather than attempt to personally discredit those who may occasionally disagree with you. I think it's unfortunate that the rhetoric has risen to such an uncivil level with personal insults and accusations."

    Kunselman assured the mayor his top priority is bringing clarity to the TIF capture methodology. He said he's looking out for the other taxing authorities and also doesn't want to harm the DDA.

    "It's not about playing politics," he told the mayor. "We can make it that way if you want to keep talking that way, but I explicitly asked for collaboration."

    Kunselman said he feels like he's been the victim of an "outright character assassination" in the last month. He said he'd prefer to work with the mayor on the issue.

    "I'm willing to try to collaborate — that's why I want to have this postponement to reach out to the treasurer and to the mayor, to find if there is something we can do to address the TIF calculation methodology," Kunselman said.

    The DDA ordinance changes and the 413 E. Huron project will be back on the agenda when the council meets May 6, which also is when a public hearing will be held on the city budget. The public hearings for both the DDA proposal and 413 E. Huron will continue at the next meeting, but anyone who spoke Monday night or Tuesday morning can't speak again on the same hearing.

    Even though the 413 E. Huron project has been scaled back, residents who spoke out said they still feel it's out of character with the historic neighborhood to the north.

    The proposed building has been reduced by 8,351 square feet to 263,504 square feet — or a floor area ratio of 659 percent, down from 680 percent.

    The number of apartment units has been reduced by eight to 208 and the total number of bedrooms has been reduced by 20 to 513.

    Vehicle parking was reduced in an earlier revision by 8 below-grade spaces to 124 spaces. Bicycle parking has been increased by 10 Class-A spaces to 185.

    There also have been a number of architectural changes, and the overall color palette of the proposed building has been lightened.

    "Also, more wood is proposed at the street level, including wood windows and wood siding and ceiling for the covered southwest entrance," city planners wrote in a memo to council.

    Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at ryanstanton@annarbor.com or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.


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    Alison-Balsom.jpg

    Alison Balsom

    photo by Mat Hennek | EMI Classics

    Sound the trumpet, indeed: Alison Balsom is coming to town.

    Or, more precisely, to Hill Auditorium Saturday evening, along with the Scottish Ensemble, courtesy of the University Musical Society.

    If you haven’t heard of, or simply heard, Balsom, you’re in for a treat. This lissome 30-something British trumpeter is not simply another pretty pair of lips. The blood good looks don’t hurt, but it’s the playing—clean, smooth, sweet, pure, silvery and technically totally at ease—that’s earned her two “Female Artist of the Year” at the Classical BRITs and the lead slot, in 2009, at one of classical music’s most celebrated concerts: the last night of the BBC Proms, which reached its biggest ever global TV audience, an estimated 200 million. Lest it need saying, the Scottish Ensemble, the UK’s only professional string orchestra, is no slouch either.

    PREVIEW

    Alison Balsom

    • Who: Classical trumpeter. With the Scottish Ensemble.
    • What: Baroque music for trumpet.
    • Where: Hill Auditorium, 825 N. University Ave.
    • When: Saturday, April 20, 8 p.m.
    • How much: $10-$65. Tickets available from the UMS Michigan League Ticket Office, 734-764-2538, and online at ums.org.
    For their UMS debut, Balsom and the Scottish Ensemble are going for baroque: a program devoted largely to Handel and Purcell, with a little Vivaldi, Geminiani and Albinoni thrown in for good measure.

    Balsom is no stranger to this repertoire; in fact, one of her hit albums, “Sound the Trumpet: Royal Music of Purcell & Handel,” is, like the concert, entirely devoted to baroque literature, either original or in arrangements of her making. That’s another of her talents: taking music written for other instruments or for the voice, and making it seem totally natural on the trumpet.

    “I’m a massive classical music fan,” she said in a recent phone call from London, speaking about her arrangements. “I’d be frustrated if I could not play these great compositions. It’s not about the instrument; I’m compelled to do this, and it’s a lot of fun. I like to stretch myself,” she said of the arrangements.

    So where does she look for likely material to transcribe for trumpet?

    “It’s much easier,” she said,” from oboe or violin than from organ or harp,” because the former are generally single-line instruments. And pieces for voice lend themselves to her ministrations well. “It’s like writing for soprano voice,” she said. “When I write, I think about what you’d write for a treble singer.”

    Her Ann Arbor program includes her arrangements of an Albinoni oboe concerto and a Vivaldi violin concerto.

    It also includes Balsom on two types of trumpet: the natural trumpet, a valveless instrument also known as a baroque trumpet; and the modern trumpet. This program is the first in which Balsom is switching between the two in concert, she said. She’ll play a few works on modern trumpet in the first half of the program, and then play the second half on natural trumpet.

    The natural trumpet is the instrument Purcell and Handel would have known.

    “Its vocal quality is amazing,” said Balsom. “It has a sweet and lovely sound. I’m so in love with this authentic instrument style; it strips away modern additions that don’t need to be there. I think people will love it.”

    Balsom, who said she’s not from a musical family, was 7 when she took up the trumpet in her school band.

    Why’d she pick it?

    “I loved the look of the instrument,” she said. “I thought it was the coolest instrument.”

    She never really looked elsewhere. “I was really committed from a very young age,” she said.

    Still, as a kid, she toyed with the idea of playing the cello, and played the piano a bit (“I was very, very bad,” she said.) But soon, the trumpet was, as she put it, “a soundtrack for my life.”

    Now her playing is a soundtrack for ours.


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    Several crashes were plaguing the morning commute in the Ann Arbor area Tuesday.

    One crash, on eastbound Interstate 94 near Grove Street in Ypsilanti, was blocking the left lane of the freeway, a dispatcher said at 7:30 a.m. A Google map showed a significant backup on the freeway.

    Other crashes were reported on eastbound M-14 east of Earhart Road on the northeast side of Ann Arbor and northbound U.S. 23 at Plymouth Road.

    No further information, including the number of vehicles involved in any of the crashes, was immediately available.


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    Four students from three Ann Arbor Public Schools' high schools have been named semifinalists in the U.S. Presidential Scholars competition.

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    Winners receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D. C. in June and are presented with a medallion in commemoration of their achievements during an award ceremony sponsored by the White House.

    Associated Press file photo

    The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program annually recognizes approximately 141 of the nation's most exceptional graduating high school seniors. They are selected from an initial pool of about 3,000 candidates, who are then narrowed down to 560 semifinalists.

    Fifteen seniors from Washtenaw County were chosen as candidates in January. The students had until Feb. 28 to apply for the prestigious award.

    Pioneer High School students Elizabeth Hines and Daniel Rothchild, Huron High School student Valerie Peng and Community High School student Acer Xu were named semifinalists. In total, Michigan had 17 students advance.

    The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program is not a scholarship program, but rather it's a recognition program.

    Winners receive an expense-paid trip to Washington, D. C. in June and are presented with a medallion in commemoration of their achievements during an award ceremony sponsored by the White House.

    During their visit to the nation's capital, students will have access to national and international figures, including government officials, educators, authors, musicians, scientists and other accomplished individuals, according to the program's website.

    The scholars also are provided opportunities to wrestle with important issues concerning the nation and world; participate in volunteer activities, such as community service to help those in need in the D.C. area; attend recitals, receptions and ceremonies planned in their honor; and visit U.S. museums and monuments.

    The 141 finalists will be named later this month.

    Candidates are chosen based on their ACT and SAT test scores or through demonstrated talent in the visual, creative and performing arts, the website says.

    Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for AnnArbor.com. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at daniellearndt@annarbor.com.


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    Chelsea's Caleb Bentley throws during a state quarterfinal game last year.

    Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com file

    Baseball

    Huron 1, Chelsea 0; Huron 6, Chelsea 5
    Story | Boxscore

    Joe Cleary allowed three hits and one walk in seven-shutout innings as Huron won Game 1 of its doubleheader sweep at Chelsea, 1-0.

    Game 2, shortened due to darkness, was led by offense as Huron won 6-5.

    “The first game was a pitcher’s duel,” Huron coach Terry Bigham said. “It was one of the quickest game’s I’ve ever been a part of.

    “In the second game, the bats came alive.”

    Demetrius Sims led Huron’s offense with an RBI double, and Domenic DiGiovine and Bobby Knutilla each added an RBI.

    Softball

    Chelsea 13, Huron 1; Chelsea 9, Huron 0
    Story | Boxscore

    The Chelsea offense wasted no time scoring nine runs in the first inning of Game 1 of the in the SEC crossover doubleheader sweep, and the Bulldogs never looked back.

    Rylee Rosentreter received the win in the 13-1 opener with six strikeouts, and Rachel Boote led the way in the 9-0 nightcap with 10 strikeouts and two walks.

    Taylor Cooley, who is committed to play softball at Ball State, led the Bulldogs with six hits, four runs and three RBI, while Bailey Darwin added five hits and three RBI.

    “Taylor is a real hitter,” Chelsea coach Bob Moffett said. “She just puts the ball in play, and nobody can throw her out.”

    Huron took its only lead in the top of the first inning of Game 1, until Chelsea blew the game open in the bottom half.

    Girls Soccer

    Dexter 4, Jackson 1
    Story | Boxscore

    Dexter took control of the game with two goals by Olivia Vollmers for a 2-0 halftime advantage, and the Dreadnaughts continued their offensive production through the second half to grab the non-league game.

    Vollmers scored her first goal unassisted after a steal and low shot from 30-yards out, and later made a far-post run to redirect a low cross by Riley Doll for her second goal.

    Jackson narrowed the advantage 2-1 on a penalty kick in the 56th minute, but was unable to quell Vollmers and Doll in the second half. Goalie Stephanie Misevich made three saves in the shutout.

    Girls Lacrosse

    Pioneer 15, Flint Powers 12
    Story | Boxscore

    Pioneer scored 10 first-half goals to defeat visiting Flint Powers 15-12 on Monday. Pioneer’s Sam Zwolan paced the offense with five goals and one assist, and Mercedes Reyes added four goals and two assists.

    “We were patient, early,” Pioneer coach Zachary Maghes said. “We were waiting for good scoring opportunities and we were getting a better feel for their defense.

    “Winning possessions early on was important for us.”

    Pioneer’s Haley Jakabcsin added two goals, and goalie Miranda Kruse recorded five saves to earn the win.

    Kyle Austin covers sports for AnnArbor.com.


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    Courtesy of Ann Arbor police

    Ann Arbor police are investigating three separate residential break-ins reported Monday.

    A home in the 1800 block of Arlington was broken into at some point between 3 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Monday, police said. The suspect or suspects got into the home by breaking off a door handle. Miscellaneous items were taken, and the house was damaged.

    Between 4:16 and 4:46 p.m. on Monday, someone broke a window to gain entry at a house in the 500 block of South Fourth Avenue. A Nintendo Wii and an Xbox controller and cables were stolen, police said.

    A third break-in Monday was reported at an apartment in the 400 block of East Washington Street. Police believe the incident occurred between 3 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. The door was pried open with an unknown object. Nothing was stolen.

    Police continue to investigate. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Ann Arbor police anonymous tip line at 734-794-6939 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK UP (773-2587).


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    John Counts covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at johncounts@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.


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    Paul Keller

    What happens when you cross a jazz ensemble with a symphony orchestra? You get the “Ypsilanti Orchestral Jazz Suite,” a musical tribute to Ypsilanti.

    “It’s like a painting in music, a kind of a tone poem,” said local jazz bassist and bandleader Paul Keller, who composed the work. “It’s a jazz quintet, led by an orchestra, inspired by different events and the people from Ypsilanti’s history.”

    The Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Adam Riccinto, will team up with The Paul Keller Jazz Ensemble Sunday at Eastern Michigan University for an encore performance of the “Ypsilanti Orchestral Jazz Suite,” their 2010 musical salute to the city’s heritage.

    Besides Keller on string bass, the jazz ensemble includes trumpeter Rayse Biggs, saxophonist Ben Jansson, pianist Tad Weed and drummer Sean Dobbins.

    The concert will include historical photos and film of Ypsilanti's past, projected onto a large video screen behind the orchestra.

    Five guest narrators will introduce and explain each of the five movements of the suite. “The stories explain the music on a little deeper level. All the parts (of Ypsilanti’s history) are represented in the music,” Keller said.

    PREVIEW

    "Ypsilanti Orchestral Jazz Suite"

    • Who: Ypsilanti Symphony Orchestra and the Paul Keller Jazz Ensemble.
    • What: Encore performance of a 2010 musical salute to Ypsilanti’s heritage, written by Keller.
    • Where: Pease Auditorium, West Cross Street and College Place, Ypsilanti.
    • When: 3:30 p.m. Sunday, April 21.
    • How much: $7.50-$14. Buy tickets by phone from the EMU box office at 734-487-2282 or online at www.emutix.com.
    Movement #1, “Woodruff's Grove,” is a dedication to Ypsilanti's birth in 1823. It’s followed by “Ypsilanti Underground,” dedicated to the Ypsilanti stop on the Underground Railroad. Movement #3, “The Real McCoy,” is dedicated to Ypsilanti inventor Elijah McCoy 1844-1929).” “Movement #4, “The Great Migration,” honors those who headed north from Kentucky to work in the Willow Run B-24 factory during World War II. The final movement, “Downtown To Depot Town,” is a salute to Ypsilanti's past and bright future.”

    “It’s a celebration,” Keller said of the work’s upbeat ending.

    The guest narrators are Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber, Pat Tamblin (Ypsilanti office of the Bank of Ann Arbor), Diane Winder (head of the Department of Music and Dance at EMU), Maggie Brandt (St. Joseph Mercy Hospital) and Andre Dowell (from The Sphinx Organization, an artistic partner with the YSO).

    Although some composers might have spent the time between the last performance and the one upcoming tweaking or otherwise altering their work, Keller said he’s resisted the temptation.

    “We have not changed it, except for a few technical things to make things a little bit better,” he said. “Everybody (in the orchestra) knows the music the second time around. Now it’s more of a tightening up. Basically the music is going to be as it was performed two and a half years ago.”


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    Most students have their eyes glued to their cellphones, so the Michigan Mobile Phone Ensemble seems appropriate. The ensemble will perform its fourth and final class concert at the Stamps Auditorium in the Walgreen Drama Center on Friday.

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    The concert will feature all-new mobile phone instruments and performances as created by "students as part of the Mobile Phones as Musical Instruments course co-taught between Performing Arts Technology and Computer Science & Engineering under the direction of Professor Georg Essl," according to the press release.

    The ensemble uses iPhones and iPod Touches with custom-built wearable speaker systems as their instruments.

    Friday, April 19, 2013. 8 p.m. Free. No tickets required. The Walgreen Drama Center is located at 1226 Murfin Ave., Ann Arbor. 734-764-7260.


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    Ypsilanti police are investigating the theft of a copy machine from a business in the 600 block of South Mansfield Street reported Monday morning.

    Employees came in to work around 6:15 a.m. and discovered the break-in.

    “The people were coming in and noticed the window was smashed out,” said Sgt. Dennis Szymankiewicz.

    Police did not yet have a value of the copy machine, which was characterized as being small enough to fit on a desk.

    Police would not release what type of business it was. The incident remains under investigation.


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    John Counts covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at johncounts@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.


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    A man told police he was punched by a passerby while walking on an Ypsilanti street in broad daylight Monday afternoon.

    The man — who police would only describe as being a young adult — said he was walking down the sidewalk around 3 p.m. in the 1300 block of Roosevelt Street when he was assaulted "for no apparent reason," according to the Ypsilanti crime summary.

    “He was walking on the sidewalk listening to his iPod and someone came up and punched him and walked away,” said Ypsilanti police Sgt. Dennis Szymankiewicz.

    The man described the assailant as a man who fled on foot. Police said the victim waited more than two hours before reporting the incident. The investigation continues.


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    John Counts covers cops and courts for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at johncounts@annarbor.com or you can follow him on Twitter.


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    Caribou Coffee on Sunday closed nine of its company-owned coffee shops in Michigan, but the Ann Arbor store was spared.

    The store, at 1423 E. Stadium Blvd., is among nine locations in Michigan that will be converted to Peet’s Coffee & Tea in coming months, a company spokesperson confirmed.

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    The Caribou Coffee on East Stadium Boulevard in Ann Arbor will be converted to a Peet's Coffee & Tea.

    From Yelp

    The Minnesota-based coffee retailer announced plans last week to close 80 underperforming company-owned stores on April 14 and convert an additional 88 stores to Peet’s Coffee & Tea over the next 12 to 18 months. Moving forward, Caribou CEO Mike Tattersfield said the Caribou Coffee brand will consist of 468 locations in eight states and 10 international markets.

    There were 22 Caribou stores in Michigan, and 13 remain open, according to the company’s website. The licensed locations in Detroit Metro Airport and Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital will not be affected.

    The Ann Arbor Caribou Coffee manager declined to comment and deferred AnnArbor.com to Caribou’s corporate representatives. It’s unclear when the store will be converted and what it will mean for employees.

    Founded in 1966, Peet’s Coffee & Tea is a specialty coffee roaster and retailer based in California. There also are Peet’s stores in Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington.

    German investment firm company Joh. A. Benckiser Group acquired both Caribou Coffee and Peet’s Coffee & Tea in 2012.

    .

    MLive reporter David Muller contributed to this report.

    Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for AnnArbor.com. Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at lizzyalfs@annarbor.com. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lizzyalfs.


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    The incredible orchid. It's beautiful, fragile and a wonder of evolution. Anyone who has seen "Adaptation," knows they have changed to make pollination easier, whether it be by mimicking bees or shooting pollen at passing insects. Celebrate these amazing flowers at the Ann Arbor Orchid Festival at Matthaei Botanical Gardens this weekend.

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    Neal Foster photo

    The Ann Arbor Orchid Society will be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. There will be tropical and hardy orchids, orchid-growing supplies and related items for sale. The society will also hold free educational talks and demonstrations on both days.

    Sales will run Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The display area will be open noon-4:30 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. There will be a "photographers’ hour" in the auditorium on Sunday from 9-10 a.m.

    Sat. & Sun., April 20-21, 2013. Free admission. Matthei is located at 1800 N. Dixboro Road, Ann Arbor. 734-647-7600. Contact AnnArborOrchids@aol.com for more information.


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    Carpenter Elementary School Principal Charles Davis Jr. remains on administrative leave while district officials investigate a claim of harassment, documents show.

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    Charles Davis Jr.

    From A2schools.org

    In a letter dated March 8 from Human Resource Director Cynthia Ryan, Davis was informed of his paid leave of absence, due to allegations that Davis violated Policy 4020 of the Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education's policies and "other potential violations."

    AnnArbor.com obtained the letter and Davis' personnel file through a Freedom of Information Act request.

    Davis could not be reached for comment for this story.

    Policy 4020 states that all employees of the district have the right to work in a "professional atmosphere" that "prohibits discriminatory practices, including, but not limited to, harassment." Under this policy, harassment is defined as "verbal or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his/her race, color, religion, sex, gender, age, national origin, disability, height, weight, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local law."

    In order to violate the policy, this conduct must have the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment; unreasonably interfering with an individual's work performance; or adversely impacting an individual's employment opportunities.

    Details about Davis' alleged violation of Policy 4020 are not known at this time.

    Davis was still on leave as of Monday, said district spokeswoman Liz Margolis. School officials do not comment on personnel matters.

    Documents show a history of concerns and complaints about Davis from teachers at Carpenter.

    In a memorandum to Davis dated May 3, 2012, Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education Dawn Linden summarized allegations that included sharing negative impressions of teachers' job performances with other staff, being dishonest with staff members regarding changes to teachers' grade-level placements, creating a climate of fear and intimidation at Carpenter and making inappropriate comments to colleagues that contained foul language.

    In a June 21, 2012, performance evaluation in his personnel file, Davis received an overall rating of "effective." He was scored on 43 performance measures and received an "effective" rating in 35 areas, a "highly effective" rating in one area and a "minimally effective" rating in seven areas. He did not receive any "ineffective" scores.

    Linden also recognized Davis' efforts to create a new vision of "becoming exceptional" at Carpenter Elementary in her June 2012 evaluation of his performance.

    "As a new principal, you recognized quickly that some things at Carpenter needed to change in order to reach higher standards. ... This new vision shows forward thinking," Linden wrote. "... As the year began, you found, not surprisingly, that some people embraced the change while others resisted it. To make transitions smoother, be strategic about engaging some of these folks in specific committees or tasks."

    Linden also congratulated Davis on leading his staff toward an increased use of student achievement data in instructional planning and delivery, for improving grounds and building cleanliness and for reducing the number of student suspensions from 2010-11 to 2011-12.

    "Your presence in the lunchroom, halls and other common areas contributes heavily, and your positive relationships with students helps them to feel connected, cared for and encouraged," she wrote. "You are to be commended for this incredibly positive impact."

    Davis was rated minimally effective for promoting collegiality and collaboration among staff, maintaining a positive learning environment, involving parents and the community in school activities and modeling respect, understanding, sensitivity and appreciation for all people.

    The 2012-13 academic year marks Davis' second year as principal of Carpenter Elementary. Scarlett Middle School Assistant Principal Ed Broom was relocated to Carpenter to serve as acting principal during the investigation. Jaye Peterson, a physical education teacher at Scarlett, is filling the assistant principal's role in Broom's absence, as of March 12.

    According to his personnel file, AAPS hired Davis prior to the 2005-06 academic year as a resource teacher at Stone High School — the recently renamed Ann Arbor Technological High School. He spent three years as a math teacher at Stone before teaching fourth and fifth grade at Haisley Elementary School. During the 2010-11 school year, Davis served a stint as interim principal at Haisley, after which he was named principal at Carpenter.

    Davis received all complimentary teacher evaluations dating back to December 2005. He was said to meet the performance expectations of the district and his evaluations highlighted a mutual respect between Davis and his students, an expertise at bridging gaps in understanding and instruction for at-risk and struggling students, an ability to work collaboratively with parents and a willingness to share information and problem solve with colleagues.

    Davis earns a salary of $96,975 as Carpenter's principal.

    Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for AnnArbor.com. Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at daniellearndt@annarbor.com.


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    The map, provided by the DDA, shows the possible expansion area of the Depot Town district. DDA Director Tim Colbeck said the expansion is in the initial stages of discussion and would have to be approved the Ypsilanti City Council.

    Courtesy Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority

    Ypsilanti's Depot Town district could expand within the next few years, as the Downtown Development Authority begins to examine ways it can improve the continuity of the area.

    The discussions are in the early stages and part of the DDA's efforts to update its 2000 Depot Town Tax Increment Finance and Development Plan, according to DDA Director Tim Colbeck.

    The expansion would include a portion of properties from Huron Street to Pearl Street and Cross Street, Colbeck said.

    "It's not in any district," Colbeck said. "We would need to figure out how to incorporate it. Some is private property and there are a couple of law offices. It's a mix of residential use and commercial."

    Right now, the district includes North River Street, East Cross Street, a portion of Rice Street, Ferrier Street, Lincoln Street and other areas. The Depot Town district also includes the north section of Riverside Park, Frog Island, Sidetrack Bar & Grill, Aubree's Pizzeria & Grill and several other businesses.

    Colbeck said previously, the city had two separate DDA's that encompassed Depot Town, West Cross, Downtown and Water Street. In June 2009, the Ypsilanti City Council voted to create a single DDA board to govern both DDA's as one organization.

    Colbeck said when the DDA's combined into one, a sense of continuity was missing.

    "That’s been a discussion," Colbeck said. "There was kind of a missing piece. We’ve merged organizationally, but there's not a physical continuity. It doesn't mean we're going to necessarily expand the TIF... We just don't know yet."

    Colbeck said the expansion could just be for "operational purposes" and that the TIF wouldn't necessarily be expanded to include the expanded area. Colbeck said as the discussions move further along, that aspect will be evaluated and decided upon.

    "We're looking at a whole bunch of different options," Colbeck said. "There hasn't been any movement, we just want to evaluate the potential."

    Colbeck said the DDA will receive about $80,000 in revenue from the Depot Town TIF this year, a decrease from previous fiscal years. A TIF allows all taxable value within a certain DDA boundary to generate tax revenue for the DDA instead of the city of Ypsilanti.

    "It has been dropping because of a decrease in property value," Colbeck said. "Next year that’s probably going to drop to $74,000."

    Colbeck said the businesses located in the areas not part of the Depot Town District already receive some benefits from the DDA. Colbeck said they are eligible for the Building Rehabilitation and Facade Grant and a few other programs. Those benefits likely will expand once they become part of the district.

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    Depot Town

    "That's the kind of thing we’ll be able to better answer when the study is done," Colbeck said.

    Colbeck said the TIF and development plan update will last for the next 15 years and the DDA is seeking a consultant. The current Depot Town TIF and plan is set to expire in December 2015.

    Colbeck said the new one will be used until 2030.

    According to the requests for proposals , the following goals will be key to the update process:

    • Preservation of the traditional downtown environment and high quality of public services while keeping the identity, cultural diversity, and creative population intact.
    • Enhancement of property maintenance, regional connectivity together with a pedestrian friendly environment, and commercial and residential services and facilities with technology accessibility.
    • Diversification of housing, retail/commercial, and transportation options along with a mixture of businesses and job opportunities.

    Colbeck said continued investment in the local economy and job opportunities will be at the forefront of the update, as well as looking at what the DDA has accomplished since the previous plan was put in place.

    "On a basic level there's been a lot of physical changes and a lot of investments into businesses," Colbeck said. "What we’re looking at and have been diving into is what does the old plan say? What in it did we think we wanted to do, but no longer do? Have we achieved the goals and if not, what do we want to carry forward and what are the new goals?

    The DDA’s Operations and Finance Committee will lead the update process and emphasize the need for an active shopping and entertainment district.

    The Operations and Finance Committee will be involved with the review of proposals, interviewing consultants for the project, submitting a recommendation to the DDA Board and city council and working with the selected consultant to develop a long-term strategy.

    Colbeck said he is not yet sure how much it will cost to hire a consultant.

    "We’re trying to figure that out," Colbeck said. "I’ve gotten some estimates, but it's kind of an apples to oranges thing because some (DDA's) are smaller or larger. It's something we’re obviously going to have to put in our budget for 2013-14."

    Each district has its own development plan and TIF. Colbeck said the others aren't due for an update for a few more years.

    A survey for public input on development projects and redevelopment initiatives will be completed and about two public meetings will be held, Colbeck said. The DDA hopes to select a consultant by July.

    The Operations and Finance Committee will discuss the TIF renewal draft RFP process at the DDA's board meeting at 8 a.m. on Thursday, April 18. The meeting will be held at the Ypsilanti Area Convention and Visitors Bureau office at 106 W. Michigan Avenue.

    Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for AnnArbor.com.Reach her at katreasestafford@annarbor.com or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.


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