PPNA Happenings

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

Archive for January, 2009

Cady’s closes to open in 2 months

Posted by ppna on January 26, 2009

If you read this site you know I have always promoted Cady’s.    I never went there for dinner primarily because of the pricing even though Jerry, the Chef who took over Cady’s last year, correctly stated that their hamburger, wings, and other ‘bar food’ prices were on par with the other Depot Town restaurants.

The Bar area at Cady’s has always been the best kept secret in town.  Recently I’ve been able to convince my friends to start going to Cady’s over other local places.   All I know so far is what I read in the brief Ann Arbor news article.  There is a sign on the door but I haven’t gone to read it yet.   Apparently Cady’s will re-open in a couple of months into a BBQ themed restaurant called Wild Willy’s.    I’m not sure why they are closing for 2 months since the restaurant  already has a trapper theme which seems to fit with BBQ (much more than with the ‘fine dining’ they had been trying to).

For Bill and Sandee — Here are the things I really liked about Cady’s and hope you keep.

NO SMOKING —  We need a non-smoking bar in Ypsilanti,  I really don’t mind smoke in a bar but I have a lot of friends that won’t go to smokey places and I hate smelling like an ashtray when I get home.

GOOD DRAFT BEER — Cady’s recent influx of folks and one of the primary reasons my friends made the switch was Franziskaner,  I’d like to see even more taps too especially promoting some of the new and old Frog Island Brews.

STAFF — Use the same practices in hiring staff and creating a customer centered atmosphere.   The staff at Cady’s, especially the bar tenders, have always been really good.   At Cady’s it seemed, as a customer, that the slacker employees were run out by the good employees.   Please keep the Cady’s core employees and bring them back as a group.

MONTHLY DINNERS — I love the monthly dinners and have yet to find someone that doesn’t enjoy them.  I think Jerry figured out the perfect pattern.  Around $20 with good food and drinks.

Some things to think about

Ypsilanti is lacking a full service comfortable bar for the non-college crowd please try to expand on the Cady’s bar area instead of changing it.

There are enough bars with a million TVs

Price Price Price —  You know Depot Town don’t price yourself out of the community

Ask the Community what they want to see and involve them as much as possible.  Don’t do things like closing the doors unannounced its a bit crappy.

Refund my $50.00 — I bought a $50.00 gift cert for my folks so they could have an enjoyable dinner (Yes $50.00 was the cost for dinner and drinks for 2 at Cady’s).   My guess is that my folks won’t go to Wild Willys so now what do I do.

I guess that is all I have for you at this moment.


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Great Things Great People

Posted by ppna on January 24, 2009

This past week has been full of Ypsilanti business. I believe I went to 4 meetings and one presentation and they were all excellent. These meetings showed how passionate our citizens, business owners and groups are. Ypsilanti, it appears, has a great future ahead of it.

There are plenty of opportunities to get involved and a lot more meetings coming up.

Of interest to anyone that is interested will be the 20/20 task force report which will be presented Tuesday evening at 7pm in the city council chambers.

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The New Look Thompson Block

Posted by ppna on January 21, 2009

Look up at the Thompson Block and you’ll notice something new.  No, the place isn’t getting remodeled but it isn’t looking as bad either.   Beal came up with the idea to paint the boarded up window  to look like ‘real windows.’  The original report I heard was that his plan was to make it so you wouldn’t notice they were boarded up which didn’t happen.  What did happen is that there is now a ‘cartoon’ look to the building.   For some strange reason I kinda like it at least compared to the boarded up look.   I hope Beal does the same thing with the lower level and maybe even paint the lower level to give it a unified, not falling down, look.

An idea I had would be for him to have someone paint the lower level plywood with murals depicting what the possible uses would be.  I think this might help possible tenants visualize what they might do with the building.   Have one section look like a display window have another depicting people enjoying a dinner, that type of thing.    I know this would be expensive but if the building is not going to be developed for a while it might be worth it for Beal and certainly for the city.   I think it is an idea we could use throughout the city.   The railroad depot could do the same thing.

With or without the murals I hope he boards the bottom windows the same way as the top.

Thanks Stewart Beal for doing something to show the building isn’t totally abandoned.

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Water Street — Are we on the verge of something big?

Posted by ppna on January 21, 2009

Yesterday I attended the special meeting on Water Street.   Council has dedicated one night a month just to the Water Street project so the least I could do is attend.   Don’t jump to any conclusions but from the sound of it there are some promising prospects, I say this without knowing what they are but any prospect is promising.

Tonight the planning department will be looking into changing the zoning for the property.  If you are interested you should attend the meeting

Public hearing on Water Street zoning amendments, Jan. 21

The Planning Commission will be discussing zoning amendments for the City’s Water Street property at a public hearing on Wednesday, January 21. The meeting will be held at 7 pm in City Council chambers at City Hall, One South Huron Street. The proposed amendments are available in the Planning Department at City Hall, or on the City’s website at the following address:


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Planning Commission non-conforming use – potential zoning change

Posted by ppna on January 17, 2009

Dear COPAC members,

The Planning Commission meeting on January 21 will include a public hearing on an application to enable restoration of existing non-conforming multiple-unit residential properties. This will probably be of the most interest to the residents of Midtown, Riverside, and HESNA, as those neighborhoods have the largest concentrations of these properties.

In summary, an “existing non-conforming” multiple unit residential property is one that has too many dwelling units for the zoning district it is located in, or has too many dwelling units relative to the size of the lot. An existing non-conforming use may continue to be used (it is “grandfathered in”) until it is removed, destroyed, or discontinued. At that point, the “existing” status is lost, and the property must comply with the zoning. In this way, properties gradually come into compliance with the zoning over time.

In 2006, when a large portion of Midtown and Riverside were downzoned, a process was created for restoring existing non-conforming multi-unit residential properties that were removed, destroyed, or severely damaged, such as by a fire or similar disaster. The owner of such a property may apply to the Planning Commission for permission to build back the property and maintain more units than the zoning would allow, but must make some improvements to the property: roominghouses must be turned into apartments, parking spaces per unit must be approved, and the property must, generally, move closer to compliance.

As a result of the recent wave of foreclosures, the City has found that a number of these non-conforming properties are becoming “discontinued” – they are sitting vacant and effectively abandoned during the foreclosure process for long enough that they lose their existing non-conforming status. These properties have had a hard time finding buyers and are sitting vacant for long periods of time. We have heard from a number of people who have considered these houses, but were unwilling to buy a four- or five-unit house that they would be required to convert to a single-unit before using. While reducing the number of units in these properties to the zoning limits is the long-term goal, current market conditions have accelerated the process, and the market does not seem able to absorb the affected properties.

The Planning Commission will therefore be considering a zoning text amendment that would make “discontinued” properties eligible for restoration through the same process as destroyed properties: the properties could request Planning Commission approval to keep some of the extra units, but would have to make improvements to the property to reduce the impact of the properties on the surrounding area. No properties would be automatically made eligible to have or keep extra units by this change – the Planning Commission would have to examine properties on a case-by-case basis.

For more information, I’ve posted the Planning Commission’s meeting packet to the City website. The staff report on this item begins on page 24 of that packet, and includes a map showing existing non-conforming residential properties in the city for reference.


Please let me know if you have any questions or comments, or attend the public hearing on Wednesday.

Thank you,

Richard Murphy

Planner II

City of Ypsilanti

1 S. Huron St.

Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197

Phone: 734-483-9646

Fax: 734-483-7260



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Thinking Spring

Posted by ppna on January 15, 2009

Hello Everyone,

This past week I attended a meeting with Amanda from Growing Hope and perhaps 25 other citizens interested in Urban Farming and community gardening. The turnout was amazing since the meeting was 7am on a 10 degree morning.

Another thing to think about is the 2nd Capture the Trash event. Last year’s event was a huge success. Most of the trash was removed from Riverside Park and Frog Island and even the East Depot Town Parking lot. The event is run by a the GREEN group at EMU so most of the participants were students. I think there were only about 6 people from the community represented. Hopefully for 2009 we will get a lot more support from the Ypsi community.

Here are a few things that will help with the effort:
1– we need more places to clean up, ideas are welcom
2– we need teams from all areas. Neighborhood teams, Business worker teams,
3– I think financial sponsors, award sponsors, and food sponsors would also be nice.

If you have any ideas let me know and I’ll pass them along. I believe the date for Capture the Trash 2009 is April 18th.

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