Thoughts about real issues we face in Ypsilanti
Water Street has taken longer than we ever expected which is why we cannot afford to wait. This is a critical element of redevelopment with land cleanup and mitigation yielding long-term benefit for the city. We must take action and not simply wait to the opportunity to present itself — because that simply maintains the status quo. To keep encouraging investment, we must reduce barriers so that private sector partners can make the highest and best use of existing industrial and commercial property to grow our community.
Quite frankly, I believe it a highly cynical political ploy by some to suggest the income tax is not a dead issue. While it was right to consider all the options in addressing the fiscal issues facing the city, we citizens ultimately decided that prudent reduction and regional collaboration remain the chosen course of action for city council to follow. Based on goals adopted by the Mayor and council, the city participated in a regional police authority study with the townships in Washtenaw County (albeit notably absent Ypsilanti Township) that outlined the feasibility and benefits in delivering a higher level of service vs. contracted Sheriff’s deputies. With the full support of council, Ypsilanti Fire Chief Ichesco and Chief Hopkins in Ann Arbor have worked out an agreement that results in a functional fire district involving these two fire departments. We are clearly leading the way for others in the county to deliver enhanced public safety to all of our residents.
The following question has been posed to me on more than one occasion, so let me share what I told Christine Laughren of the Courier staff…
“What do you like about the City of Ypsilanti?”
I enjoy that sense of place you will find in Ypsilanti. Our diverse population, the natural waterway that meanders through this city, historic homes and structures, downtown and depot town districts all contribute to a higher quality of life. I also like the sense of energy and engagement exhibited by many who have recently moved into this community. There is a strong sense of community, manifested through volunteer collaboration and a grassroots approach to problem solving. It helps to foster that feeling of renewal and leads to a newfound sense of optimism for our City going forward.
I also believe it important to build the brand of Ypsilanti. Such efforts would be an aid in moving the Water Street development project along as well as position Ypsilanti as an appealing community in which to live. My recommendation is to define a working committee of the Ypsilanti Board of Education and Ypsilanti City Council to compile an agenda of projects entailing marketing, recycling and recreational issues that would benefit the greater community.
When you are deciding how to vote on the August 5th ballot, I trust that you will consider my experience and perspective on the issues before us.