An Active Venue

Drawing on the creativities of Ann Arbor’s avant gardes and traditional communities to make an ever-changing attraction for our residents, our neighbors and visitors from around the world.

A place where Presidential candidates would want to speak,
Where Shakespeare could be performed,
Where Greek theater is played with our choruses,
And wandering minstrels find welcome!

The “Imagine a Park Block Party” was a huge success on Saturday, July 14, 2012!

The Library Green Conservancy held the “Imagine a Park” Block Party, on Saturday, July 14, 2012 on S. Fifth Avenue. The purpose was to help the community envision a public park on the top of the new underground parking structure next to the Ann Arbor District Library (the “Library Lot”).

The event was free. There were light refreshments (donated by Jerusalem GardenSevaEarthen Jar, and Afternoon Delight) and iced coffee provided by Roos Roast, wonderful music (Joe ReillySteve RichFive Miles MoreVicki Dischler & Tim Berla, and The Dellwoods), an “Imagination Station” for children, and a table of chess boards. A tent for spectators and misting station were available to help cope with the hot weather. There were opportunities for the community to participate in building a collective vision of a new public park at this location. Everyone was encouraged to help imagine a public park.

Sponsors of the event in addition to the food donors and musicians were Dahlmann Co.Inter Cooperative CouncilKolossos Printing, and Herb David Guitar Studio.

Following the Block Party the evening continued with more musical performers and presentations  and opportunities to envision a new public space on the Library Lot.

If you would like to contribute toward the costs of the event, you can do so online via fundrazr.

What happens at the Central Park?

Some Ann Arbor residents offered these ideas:

  • Chess tables and players
  • Table tennis
  • Safe place for children to play and parents to meet
  • Frozen yogurt cart
  • Food carts
  • Used book stalls
  • Woodcarvers’ festival
  • Weavers and fabric makers’ festival
  • Instrument makers’ festival
  • Weddings and Celebrations
  • Ceremonies honoring community volunteers and other worthies
  • Sculptures from our sister cities, and other public art to view
  • Art studio for creating community sculptures, and other art
  • Community meeting space for non-profits
  • An amphitheater stage for theater and concerts
  • “Top of the Parking” festivals of films and musicians
  • After-the-4th-of-July parade picnic place.
  • Read a library book outdoors
  • Eat brown bag lunch and “take out” from adjacent restaurants
  • See water flowing or get a drink of water
  • Do gardening and help the flowers grow
  • Get information what’s happening with downtown business on multi-media kiosk
  • Yoga and tai chi in the open air
  • Community festivals of food, music and arts: inviting each of the world communities of Ann Arbor to do a festival (German, Greek, African American, French, Irish, Hispanic/Latino, Jewish, Arabic, African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Native American….)
  • Individual musicians making music
  • Free speech soap box orations
  • Winter skating
  • Watching jugglers and clowns
  • Pausing to “shift gears” after leaving or before returning to your parked car
  • Meeting a friend
  • See renewable energy systems demonstrations.
  • Attend a workshop in conflict resolution and mediation
  • Meditate at a “Peace Pole”

What ideas would you add for Ann Arbor’s Central Park? Send us an email, or leave a comment below to share your hopes!

11 Responses to An Active Venue

  1. Anygirl99 says:

    Possibilities: See native plantings – plant the garden with native or heritage plantings; I like the idea of minimizing the grass planted. Grass is very non-green, ironically. However, I see the value of having specific areas where people can sit on the lawn in the summer. Also I love the idea of community festivals for each of the world communities in Ann Arbor, too — this is really one of the things that makes Ann Arbor unique and a good place to live, at least it motivated me.

  2. yes yes yes! a downtown/midtown green park with year-round activities is what I’ve been picturing for that space. and imagine how the library could take advantage of it for reading group gatherings.
    please ann arbor’s decision-makers, make this happen!

  3. Rita Mitchell says:

    Open, public space in the heart of downtown will draw people to the area, and concrete in the same space will allow them to drive away. I love the idea of having impromptu or scheduled events, space to relax, or a destination place to meet friends. Let’s do it!

  4. Chris Hewett says:

    Yes, I agree the immediate downtown needs MORE green space. Look at Plymouth…Dexter…Ypsi…and even Detroit!!! It must make sense for New York to do the same:
    New York’s “flagship” park is 843 acres, 26,000 trees, and almost 9,000 benches (or 6% of Manhattan – What is A2’s percentage??????

    We have a chance to do something great here…a way to retain people downtown for leisure AND shopping. Take Fool Moon, Festifools, etc for example. You get hundreds of people downtown and if you are not hungey or want a drink… then what? They all go HOME!

  5. Madeleine Borthwick says:

    How many parking spaces do we REALLY need in downtown a2?!?!
    if low-income housing on this spot isn’t possible(which would be my first choice), then a park where we could have a tiny bit of nature is a wonderful option. I have read through the suggestions listed above and like them all.
    To Mayor Hieftje and the city council: please. for once think with your heart and your senses instead of in terms of dollars and cents.

  6. Lou Glorie says:

    Central green space is very much needed. I would nix those buildings, though–they take up too much room. If building is envisioned around this space let the owners of existing buildings take this project up, though the surrounding buildings should not block sky or light. This space is our last chance to have a place where downtown residents can walk outside in the morning with their coffee cup in hand, sit on some grass and read a book or paper. This is the last space downtown where weary visitors, shoppers and the like can kick off their shoes and feel something green under their feel. This is the last space adjacent to a great public/civic amenity–our library. The synergies are endless. Let’s not let this chance pass us by.

    If we supporters of a central park make too many accommodations to “growth and development” at this stage of the game, we are likely to end up with a tiny patch of concrete. Let’s go for the maximum green on this space that we the people of Ann Arbor already own. All we need is the collective will and some courage to make it happen. Say it loud–We want GREEN and we’re proud! Courage! Lou

  7. Dave says:

    A fountain would be nice, surrounded by benches and of course green space. But this should never be built without dedicated funds to maintain the grounds and utilities.

  8. Ana says:

    International festivals is a great idea for the park, it will attract people from all over. people will want to move here homes will go up in value. Magazine, food, music, etc… Kiosks will provide jobs and opportunity.A water fountain is also a great idea. There are a lot of parks in Ann arbor but not with fountains like other city’s and country’s.

  9. janet says:

    Yes, a Green, Green Park! We own the space, we should use the space for everyone–not for some office/residential/retail building or a space to store cars. It does not need to be elaborate, but it does need some sun, some shade, some benches, some accessible water–a recirculating splash fountain perhaps. We will have to have a plan to maintain it, of course.

  10. There must be 10 above parking places in downtown. Its a great one.
    Individual musicians making music this is great and unique for skating music.I love it.!

  11. David Ives says:

    Regarding Liberty Plaza, how about some quick, cheap changes to win back the park:
    Prune up the trees to improve eyes into the part.
    Remove many of the chairs, especially the ones at the back that offer free sanctuary and rest room to drunks and drug sellers.

    Next up install a small kids playground. This is the only park around that does NOT have a place for kids to play.
    Next after that is an urban work out center for adults with sit up bench, pull up bar, leg stretch bench etc. to help keep us fit.

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