Ypsilanti DDA struggles to complete Downtown parking lot project

November 17, 2006 by  
Filed under News

(November 17, 2006) This is the first video of an Ypsilanti DDA meeting ever posted online. This was also the first DDA meeting with the new mayor, Paul Schreiber. Schreiber apologized for being late but did inform the board that he has no cavities. Two new members also join the DDA that were appointed in the last minute rush to fill board vacancies by outgoing Mayor Cheryl Farmer. They are Darryl Daniels from Jacobson Daniels, a new planning firm that took over the Phoenix building on North Washington, and Joyce Ramsey from Browerbird Mongo.

Watch Video of Ypsilanti DDA, November 16, 2006

The DDA board continues to struggle with the parking lot project which includes the new dumpster enclosures. A project that was supposed to have been finished in the summer of 2005, now appears likely to stretch into 2007. (Discussion starts at 0h:23m)

Brian Vosburg, DDA Director, said “When I got here at the end of June (2006), after meeting with Beckett and Raeder (BRI), I was under the impression that things were a little behind, but not unreasonable giving the problems with weather and the water main. The more and more I got into and looked into the specs, not only are things way behind, there are some major discrepancies between what was specified and what was built.”

The DDA distributed a draft letter to be sent to the bond company of the contractor, ABC Paving, outlining the problems with parking lot project. There are some 50 items still remaining to be completed on the punch list. Vosburg confirmed that the Historic District Commission (HDC) required the wood doors on the enclosures to be stained which is why the panels have been removed.

DDA Board Chair Peter Rinehart said that BRI was ultimately responsible for the project. In reality it is the DDA board that is ultimately responsible.

The DDA board then went into discussion over the common dumpsters and trash pickup. Jim Nelson made an excellent suggestion when he proposed that the DDA pay for garbage pickup for the short run to get the project moving forward and to reestablish good will within the community.

The DDA, with the help of the local business owners, completed an inventory of garbage use in the area. They added up the total costs of the existing contracts with Waste Management and then asked Waste Management what would it cost to consolidate the services. Waste Management came back with a quote within pennies of their existing contracts with individual businesses. It was noted that the City will be negotiating a new garbage contract in 2007 for the entire city and the DDA hopes they can piggy back on that contract.

The DDA board also discussed hiring outside legal council (1h:22m) to assist with matters that would come up before the board. It was suggested by Rhoshebie Argo that the DDA should consider local attorneys. Nelson asked how the two firms before the board were selected.

During the discussion, one of of the firms with municipal experience, Mclain and Winters on N. Huron, DDA Director Vosburg said, “seeing at the last (DDA) meeting that folks were not in favor of working with Mclain and Winters…” Vosburg went on to list the other two firms, Bodman and Tomkiw Dalton. Vosburg later clarified by “folks” he meant the DDA board. A check of the previous board minutes had no mention of the discussion or qualifications of certain law firms or who spoke in opposition to Mclain and Winters

No action was taken and it wasn’t clear why outside council was actually needed.

The DDA has also decided to adopt the sidewalk signs pilot program recently enacted by Ann Arbor. (1h:13m) There was continued criticism leveled at Oasis Cafe’s sidewalk sign for being too large. Similar concerns over the Oasis Cafe sign were brought up at the October 19, 2006 meeting.

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