T

he choice is this: will the people of Ann Arbor have a
centrally located public park? Or, will this site be sold
to a private developer with the stipulation that he create
and maintain an open space on part of the site?
Tis site is the last available place for a park near the
center of town. Tis ia a modest request of 12,157 sq.f.,
the size of a family lot, to become the central place Ann
Arbor is missing.
Te boundaries proposed in this resolution would
allow for musicians, dancers, or actors to perform and
places for their audience to sit; a play space for children;
a water feature to
cool the feet and
mist the faces of
young and old on
a sultry day; tables
and chairs for a
take-out lunch or
for playing chess;
temporary booths
for craf fairs, book
fairs, a farmers’
market. Maybe
even a place to
watch skaters
in winter. What
private developer
will create such
a space or invite
such activity on
his doorstep?
Certainly not
the kind of out-
of-town developer with whom we have grown familiar, who
takes the subsidies and premiums, builds to the sidewalk,
sells the structure, and moves on.
L i b r a r y
Gr e e n
Co n s e r v a n c y
Morch 2OI4
Tose opponents of the resolution—on and of
Council—who say there has not been enough public
process or public input, not enough involvement by our
Park Advisory Commission, should be honest and admit
that if the whole site is sold to a developer as the Mayor
and some Council members intend, there will be no more
public input, no more involvement by the PAC, and no
urban park.
Te resolution before us invites a continuing public
process to design and bring to life a publicly owned
urban park. It looks toward ongoing collaboration between
the citizens (bringing
their enthusiasms
for art, music, food,
storytelling and more),
the Park Advisory
C o m m i s s i o n ,
the Library,
the Downtown
D e v e l o p m e n t
Authority, local
merchants. Sponsors of
today’s resolution have
asked the Ann Arbor
Area Community
Foundation if it would
channel donations
of money to endow
the park—as it did
for the skate park.
Te Foundation
responded that it
could do this, but only
afer City Council designates boundaries for the park.
Please ask your Council Members to vote YES for
the Resolution, YES for the Park.
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Central Location. Of all available city-owned parcels, this is the most central to both Main Street and State Street
business districts, close to government buildings, the Library, and public transit.
Existing natural pedestrian connections. People entering or exiting the underground parking use paths to east
and west, north and south, and diagonally. Te park will be a walkable inviting link between retail districts, .
Ve:.
Successful green parks have been created on top of
parking structures. While the roof of the parking
structure includes restricted area for trees and grass, it
was not designed as a sustainable green roof. Innovative
design will be needed to incorporate green open space
and interactive art elements and structures for year
round activity. Te design will need to accomodate
the parking structure stairs, auto entrances, and exits,
Library Lane, the Ann Arbor District Library and
adjacent businesses as well as other future structures.
The fountain in Post Offce Square in Boston is built over an
underground parking garage
Te Library Block as envisioned
by Luckenbach/Ziegelman in 1991
in a study commissioned by the City
of Ann Arbor. Four ofcial studies in
25 years have recommended a park
on this City-owned land. (Te Library
Block, 1991; the Calthorpe Study,
2006; the DDA Connecting William
Street report, 2013, the Park Advisory
Commission report, 2013.)
Tis historic central block is
bounded by Liberty Street, William
Street, Division Street, and Fifh
Avenue. Signifcant structures on
or near the block include the Ann
Arbor District Library, the Ann
Arbor Area Transit Authority, the
Federal Building, the Kempf House
Museum, and several historic houses
used as restaurants, retail stores,
and residences. New developments
are planned on the former “Y Lot”
across from the Library and on
property belonging to First Martin
Corporation—replacing the Michigan
Square Building at 330 E. Liberty and
its parking lot. As the area grows in
density, the need for urban park space
will be imperative.
The current proposal for a central park site is approximately 3/5ths of the
green park square shown above. This diagram shows the entire library block.
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No.
From the online survey of the Park Advisory Commission showing
that over 76% of the over 1600 respondents who took the survey
favored more downtown parks and open space.
Doors and windows on a park are good, but many
successful parks do not have them adjacent on three
sides. Local examples can be seen in Dexter and
Manchester. Detroit’s Campus Martius is similarly
open on all sides. A park can be “activated” by food
carts, water-features, interactive sculptures, volunteer
musicians, pedestrian footpaths. We are embarked on
the true “place-making” process,
which grows from the grass
roots—from the people who will
use the space. Place-making is a
term and practice evolving and
spreading since the 1970’s and
frst defned in 1997. It is not
imposed from above according
to a set of rules—eg. “retail on
three sides.” It is a process. [See
“What is Placemaking?” on the
Project for Public Places website
http.//www.pps.org/]. Our park
will be shaped by the needs and
desires of the people who will
use it, all of us, as we respond to
the physical possibilities of the
site.
Tat said, our park will
need some form of construction
east of the elevator. Tis will be
necessary to provide a path over the in-out ramps
which otherwise pose a hazard and obstacle to
pedestrians using the park. Most people agree that the
structure should provide at ground level amenities
such as a cofee shop or snack shop. Council could sell
this part of the site to a private developer for ofce,
residential, or retail uses. An alternative which has
been discussed would place a public building on the
site, such as a new library, a performance space, art
center—or classrooms, perhaps for a future extension
of Washtenaw
Co mmu n i t y
College. Or, the
new structure
could include
a combination
of such Civic
spaces with for-
proft ofces
and residences
on upper foors.
L
ibrary Green Conservancy encourages both public and private agencies and individuals to work together towards
creating a green space park on the roof of the Library Parking structure. By providing a common location where people
can meet for social, civic, and recreational purposes this space will help make Ann Arbor an even more special city. We wish
to incorporate a broad range of public input in the creation of such a facility and intend that the result will be a signifcant
community asset, ecologically, socially, and fnancially.
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