PPNA Happenings

Happenings, history and news of the Prospect Park Neighborhood and Ypsilanti

Blueprint of Downtown — After the Vision

Posted by ppna on February 29, 2008

As I’ve written about before HyettPalma came to town to create a new vision for us and Tuesday night was our chance to speak out. You can find my initial feelings on the downtown plan here. I do want you to keep in mind that $50,000 dollars was spent bringing HyettPalma to town to work out this report. I will admit I’ve been wrong a lot on this blog and I’m hoping they will prove me wrong with that key to the puzzle we’ve been missing. I guess the city and state feel that we are too close to our problems and it takes an outsider to help us solve them (especially an outsider that is only visiting the city for 5 days).

I was very happy to see the turnout at the meeting and the variety of Ypsilantians that came to the session. The meeting was basically composed of the citizens answering the following questions:

  1. If the citizens, the business community and the government were to continue to work together over the next 5 years to make Downtown Ypsilanti the very best it coulb be, what would you like to see result from that effort?
  2. For you to consider those efforts a success what kind of an experience would you be able to have in Downtown five years from now?
  3. What do you like most about Downtown at this time?
  4. What do you like least about Downtown at this time?
  5. What changes or improvements would you like to see made in Downtown over the next five years?
  6. Would there be any changes in the way Downtown looks?
  7. Who would the customer and users of your successful Downtown be in 5 years?
  8. What would you like Downtown’s image to be five years from now?
  9. What would you like to hear out-of-towners saying on the streets of Downtown in 5 years?

People raised their hands and answered these questions. Of course there were the responses you would expect which boiled down to, “I want it to look nice, be busy, be safe, and meet all of my needs.” Most people did agree that they wanted to keep it Ypsilanti which is the most important value but something that can’t be explained to a planner from Virginia. Keeping chain stores out of Downtown and making our downtown unique were among the other top issues.

People also rightly complained about the building owners not maintaining their properties. I understand some can’t afford the upkeep but they should ask the community for help. I know I keep fighting for property owner rights but I think there is a difference between graffiti that an owner wants to be protected and an overall dirty/trashy look. Vacant storefronts can be cleaned and have window displays so they look like something special. This could be accomplished with some Windex, painted drywall, a couple of 2x4s and some of our local artists.

No potential solutions were allowed to be discussed at the meeting. HyettPalma is getting paid to tell us our solutions. The Jury is out on this meeting until March 10th when HyettPalma returns to tell us what they figured out. I will suggest that we have more open meeting of this sort to get the communication going in our city and I think this meeting was a good start. I understand there are a million committees that meet but I think it should be community discussion groups not committees.

Steve Pierce taped the meeting and I suggest you watch it if you can. The date for suggestions or filing your own vision is today since Hyett and Palma are heading back to Virginia to tally up the score and count their cash.


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