The City of Ann Arbor has invested over $50 million to put an underground parking structure on 5th Ave. next to the Public Library. What should go on top? Original plans included a public plaza on a portion of the site, but now we just have more parking.
Why not seize this opportunity to create a place for people instead of cars? We can create the central park Ann Arbor currently lacks on a downtown site that the people of Ann Arbor already own. We can have a Library Green.
Park . . . or . . . Parking Lot?
Time may be running out.
The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has overseen a process to gather public input and make recommendations for five, publicly owned downtown sites – including the Library Lot. But the DDA has ignored the call for a park!
Those of us know who participated in the recent DDA exercise featuring “scenarios,” it had boxes to check for several kinds of development on five city-owned lots on or near William Street. Retail, Office, Indoor Performance Space, Residential—these were among the options. Missing was a box for a Park, a Public Open Space.
The same defect marred the DDA’s online survey of public opinion in early 2012. The survey offered a dozen or so possible responses to each question, for people to choose. “Park,” or “open plaza,” or “green space,” was not offered as a choice. However, the survey included several open-ended questions inviting respondents to expand on the choices that were offered. Many people gladly named parks, green space, public open space, outdoor performance space, and other names for what they felt was missing from the survey.
When asked open-ended questions, a significant proportion of respondents took the opportunity to ask for a park. Depending on the question, they ranged from 1/6 to 1/3 of respondents. These are people who made an effort to put into their own words what was missing from the questionnaire. Other respondents, with very few exceptions, did not oppose a park. They used the space to mention other goals. These are highly motivated citizens and voters. They have confirmed, in 2012, the results of the Calthorpe report 0f 2005-6. Ann Arborites want and deserve a central downtown park.
How can you help?
1. Write to City Council
Write a letter or send an email to the mayor and any or all city council members. You can paste the following text into the body of your email. Contact info is listed in the sidebar.
Please take the initiative to create a public park on top of the Fifth Avenue “Library Lot.” Leaving it a surface parking would be a mistake. This site is the only location for a central park.
This is a rare opportunity to shape the heart of Ann Arbor. We have many parking lots and many tall buildings — more on the way. It is shameful to put more parking spaces on top of the underground parking that was built at such a huge expense. The DDA’s push for a massive building on this location is contrary to the expressed wishes of a majority of citizens.
Please don’t squander this valuable public resource.
2. Spread the Word
Post a link to this website on facebook, twitter, etc., or email it to a friend. Here is suggested text that you can paste into your email:
I have learned that Ann Arbor City Council – after spending $50 million to put parking underground – has allowed the resulting, vacant public land next to the downtown library to become a surface parking lot. There are others who are pushing for a massive building of more than 10 stories on this site.
Please tell the Mayor and City Council not to build a surface parking lot on the 5th Avenue underground parking. Simply putting more parking on top would be a mistake. Sacrificing this entire location to a massive skyscraper would be even worse.
This is a rare opportunity to shape the heart of Ann Arbor. We have many parking lots and many tall buildings – more on the way. This site is the only location for a central park.
Please help to stop City Council from squandering this valuable public resource.
3. Stay informed
Sign up for our email list so we can keep you updated! Request a printed or pdf copy of our Citizen’s Report on Reuse of the Top of the Library Lot, or read it online: