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May 17, 1959 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1959-05-17

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Express Contrasting

(Continued from Page 1)
ich stands for "95 per cent" of
ea property owners.
the other committee members,
imouflaged" as representing
ious civic groups and service
anizations, were pretty much
nder the leadership" of the
,yor of the time, Prof. Samuel
Eldersveld of the political sci-,
ce department, he said.
'Support for Urban Renewal,"
ckliffe said, "is confined to a
le organization under the name''
CURE, representing only about
e per cent of the property-
ners of the area.
'inconsistent 'with the objec-
es of this organization, promo-
n of Urban Renewal, one of its
dent supporters has had to be
>cessed twice for maintaining a
ise for rent which was closed
unfit for human habitation."
Jrban Renewal has several "in-
ities," Wickliffe 'said. "Not in
y sense of degradation of rent-
or lack of respect and sympa-
y for the indigent," he con-
ued, one of the iniquities of
ban Renewal would be reward-
some renters, who have made
effort toward home ownership
ever will, by rent subsidization.
'That situation contrasts," he
nt on, "with that of 'the home
'ner who has sacrificed for its
ssession and receives a penalty
' his age and diligence simply
cause of his location in the des-.
ated area."
'You're also penalizing people
r living in the area," he went on.
ople across the street from the
ea and in many other parts of.
vn live in equally bad condi-
ns, he said, but they're not
reed under Urban Renewal to
fve their homes, or even to bring
em up to code.
'Another of the iniquities of the
in," Wickliffe said, is that com-
nisation for property acquired by
e city would probably not be
air in terms of replacement."
lis is characteristic of public
ograms, he declared; for in-
nce, one man, displaced so
lmer Field could ;be built, was
id so little that he ended up "in
shack near the city airport."
Urban Renewal has given in-
equate compensation in other
les, he said. '"These facts are
pported by friends and relatives
persons in the Ann Arbor re-
wal area who have been victims
other Urban Renewal programs
roughout the country," he as-
'ted. From these facts stems
ae fear which the people of the
ea have."
Similarly, he concluded, Ann
bor's plan would not usually
Te enough to replace houses ac-,
ired by the city.
Where'11 She Go?" ...
I'll tell you why I don't like
ban Renewal," Margaret James
304 Beakes St. said.
'Look at the lady on-the corner
ross the street (Mrs. Lydia

Newmdn). They'll take away her
house, and she can't even build a
new house on the lot.
"Where'll she go? What'll she
do?'' asked Mrs. James. "Some of
the people in this area are out of
work and have a lot of children.
Why can't they .let them fix up
their houses instead of making
them move out?"
The prospect of Urbin Renew-
al, she said, has prevented many
homeowners from improving their
Mrs. ames said she had heard
of Mrs. Newman's fate from Mrs.
Newman herself but had heard
nothing else since then. She said
she doesn't get around to reading
the paper.
"Power Struggle"...
A "power struggle" between two
factions within the city's Negro
community lies behind resistance
to Urban Renewal, real estate
salesman Thomas J. Harrison of
547 Detroit St. charges.
"Selfish interests plus three or
four power-hungry men in the
area, have been able to distort the
picture, while most, of the city
didn't know what it was all about,"
he said. "Citizens in the other
parts of the city were so loyal to
the older, of the two, factions they
were not even open to reason."
After the war, Harrison ex-
plained, no Negro could get credit
or a job without going "through
channels." These channels con-
sisted of the only Negro leaders
anyone else knew at that time, he
.But the community has changed
rapidly in recent years, Harrison
continued, and younger men have
assumed leadership. "They are
impatient with "Second-Class Cit..
izenship," he said. M
When Urban Renewal became a
city-wide issue, Harrison said, Ann
Arborites outside the renewal area
equated the opposition of the older
leaders with the opinion of the
people of the area themselves.
Harrison explained his interest
in Urban Renewal goes back to
the first time it was discussed for
Ann Arbor, in.1954. Since then, he,
said, he. and others pushed the
idea in groups to which they be-
longed, he working particularly in
the Republican Party and in re-
ligious groups.
For a time, according to Harri-
son, stress was put on getting a
Human Relations Commission for
Ann Arbor, but he and others kept
on "playing on the Urban Renewal
theme." Housing is the last out-

. heads Association... to be relocated

post of discrimination, he said, and
Urban Renewal would give Negroes
"pride in home ownership," as well
as giving those now forced against
their will to, live in the area a
chance "to get out."
The mayor set up a Citizen's
Committee on Urban Renewal,
Harrison said, but it tried to "mover
too fast" and didn't work closely
enough with the area itself.
And previously, during the period
of the planning department study,
"nobody from City Hall bothered
to come down into the area," Har-
rison charged. This inattention
made possible a fear campaign
by the opponents of renewal, he
When a public hearing was
finally held, Harrison continued,
and people fron the renewal area
saw the array of maps before
them, "they got scared."
"'Honey, they're going to come
down here and bulldoze our
house,'." Harrison said, illustrating
the attitude he felt prevailed at
the hearing.
He "gives the Democratic mayor
credit," Harrison continued - at
the public hearing he explained
the plan carefully first, dispelling

much of the ill feeling which had
arisen, then let the people speak.
Fifty people were to speak, he
noted, but only 20 still had some-
thing to say when the opportunity
"Selfish Interests"..
"Selfish interests" were creeping
into the debate over Urban Re-
newal all this time, Harrison said;
handbills and phone calls, prior to
the hearing "poisoned minds down
here" against Urban Renewal..
CURE, the. Citizens' Urban Re-
newal Education Committee, had
been set up to calm some of the
fears raised by ignorance of the
plans, Harrison said. But "every-
thing was moving so fast," he
explained, the group was not
wholly successful.
For the last election, he said,
the older faction in the area form-
ed the North Central Property
Owners Association, with them-.
.selves officers by "power of at-
torney." They then put up their
own first ward candidate for City
CURE "undercut most of their
support" at home meetings, Har-
rison claimed, but in the end the
first announced candidate "turned
things over" to the opposition
candidate, who won the election.
Renewal area residents had re-
ceived letters, Harrison charged,
saying "Your Home Is at.Stake."
"They just stampeded to the
polls," he said with a smile.
"The gang that was against
Urban Renewal is all in now,"
Harrison said, "and we've going

to sit back and see what they're
going to do."
He doesn't expect renewal plans
to "get very far," he continued.
"Right now the majority of those
in the area would, sell their houses
and get out if they could."
But interest in,. renewal is still
growing' as people contacted by
CURE pass the information along
to their neighbors, Harrison said-
"If they're going to kill Urban Re-
newal they're going to have to do
it in a hurry."
Because interest is still grow-
ing, Harrison said, he expects some
voluntary self-improvement.
But without an Urban Renewal
plan with government, insurance
on loans, banks are "very con-
servative" regarding the area, he
And "blighting influences remain
in the area," he continued, some
of them commercial enterprises
which would cost too much to be
bought without federal aid.
Possibly, Harrison concluded, the
newly-elected opponents of Urban
Renewal might go along with the
plans "if they can get the credit.
Let them go ahead-we don't care
who gets the credit, just so the
Job is done."
Opposes Despite Gain . .
George A..MacVicar, owner of a
drive-through beer store in the
area,. .said "I just don't like this
program at all." He said he stands
to gain by it, since he might be
able. to "purchase land far below
its actual value" aid use it for
parking "valuable to my business."

A Daily Special Feature Story
Text by
Pictures by ALLAN WINDER

listory, Details



HE AIM of Ann Arbor's present
Urban Renewal plan is to im-
ove a "blighted" though not
m neighborhood, according to
y Administrator Guy C. Lar-
n, Jr.
Et involves removal of 44 homes
d 23 commercial and mixed-use
ildings (used- both residentially
d commercially), replacement of
em with new housing and some
w commercial buildings, and
labilitation of 193 houses by
ans of federally-guaranteed
ns from local .financial insti-
Bso, route M-14 would be moved
)m Beakes St. to Detroit St. to
ss through less residential area.
rbs, gutters, sidewalks and.
eet lights would be added to
rg the area up to city-wide
k slaughterhouse and a junk-
d would be bought by the city
I removed. The Summit Street
.yground wouldnbe enlarged,
ling up the land these two
inesses now occupy.
Df the 44 houses to be re-
ved, 17 cannot be brought up to
City's building code, 20 would
t more than $5,000 to bring up,
I seven would be removed for
nning purposes-three to pro-
e more parking space for the
nicipal market, three for com-
rcial redevelopment on Cather-.
and Detroit Sts. and 4th Ave.,
I one grocery store inhabited
stairs to allow for a right-turn
.e from Main St. onto Depot
)f the 23 commercial and'
xced-use buildings that would
eight are on the north side of

different appraisers
their probable prices
On the basis of th
-not to be confuse
assessments, whicha
much lower - thei
would set an approxim
City would offer for e
usually following th
quite closely.

to estimate This money would be raised by
if sold on the subscription. After it ran out, the
city might have to subsidize the
rents. The federal government has
ese appraisals asked 'as a condition to its final
e withtaxy approval of the plan that the City,
re generally Council commit itself to subsidize
City Council for periods up to five years.

nate price the
ach property,
2e appraisals

The City would then negotiate
with the owners. If no settlement
could be reached, Council would
vote to condemn the property, and
the owner would be forced to sell
at a price set in court.
Residents whose homes were
acquired could do any of several
things. They could move to an-
other part of the project area or
another part of town. Or, if the
City had no plans for their land
to the contrary, they could buy it-
back at its cleared value, as ap-
praised again in the same way
.and then rebuild on it.->
Those whose homes would be
removed for planning purposes
could move them to other parts
of town, so long as they were up
to code and conformed to zoning
laws in the new areas. They might
also sell them to someone else for
use elsewhere.
Those who did not want to leave
the area and did not plan to re-
build would be offered new housing
built by private redevelopment
companies on land previously ac-
quired by the City and sold to
them. The companies could rent
the housing or sell it. It is esti-
mated that monthly rental would'
average $90 a family.
If this rental was mre ~than~

City officials have talked of the
city's subsidizing families' rents
as long as they need it and stay
in the housing. Experience in other
cities, according to Larcom, sug-
gests that few would need it more
than five years.
* * *
is being built, 74 families and 11
individuals would be displaced.
They might find places in other
parts of the city, though 57 of the
74 families to be displaced under
the present plan are Negro. They
might also move into new hous-
ing already built.
It has been suggested that ac-
quisition and redevelopment might
start with-property now owned by
a produce company on Detroit St.,
moving no one from his home.
Six to ten multi-family units could
be built there. Next, according to
this suggestion, 11 houses could
be removed from the area im-
mediately south of the junkyard.
Then 30 two-story multiple-family
dwelling could be built on this land
and land for 30 more could be
sold either to former owners or to
If this were done, only a few
residents would be displaced at a
In all, building and relocation
would take four years to complete,
if the federal L~nvirnnvv +'c.rnn.

chase it. The plan submitted to
the federal government says it
would acquire the property, but
does' not say how soon.
The City would set up two offices
in the project area, one for relo-
cation and one for rehabilitation.
Each would have a person there
giving advice, telling people what
they must do to bring their, houses
up to code, keeping a file of louses
they could rent or buy elsewhere
in town, and so on.
* * *
ONE SOURCE of controversy,
has been the zoning of the west
side of Main St. between Felch
and Summit Sts. The Plan Stan-
dards Committee last summer
recommended this strip be zoned
commercial, but the FHA said it
would not guarantee loans for re-
habilitation of houses on the oppo-
site side of the street if this were
done. Residential zoning is includ-
ed in the present plan.
A petition urging commercial
zoning has been circulated among
the residents of this strip.
Interest in Urban Renewal be-
gan in the spring of 1955, although
for several years there had been
talk of improving the area. In'
June of 1955 the Planning Com-
mission was authorized by Coun-
cil to study the possibility of an
Urban Renewal plan, and in Jan-
uary, 1956, the city submitted an
application for federal funds to
cover the cost of formulating a
plan. In May. of that year $38,-
000 was earmarked for the city.
In January, 1958, Prof. Samuel
.T. Eldersveld of the political sci-
Qnce department, then Mayor, ap-
nnintoR 'n wit rnn,1 annhn,,a a

of the Survey Research Center
staff, it included, questions like
size of family, ages of its members,
race, employment, what they could
afford for housing, feelirigs about
urban renewal, and eligibility for
retirement benefits.
The report appeared in July of
last, year..
The planformulated by the
Planning Department.and the Cit-
izen's Committee was presented to
almost 500 area, residents: later
that month. Opposition to the plan
as too drastic developed on the
part of some residents.
* * *
SHORTLY thereafter the Coun-
cil asked the Planning Department
to modify the plan somewhat. A
28-member Plan Standards Com-
mittee, composed of- people from
that area, was appointed immedi-
ately to establish standards for a
new plan. It reported two months
On Dec. 4, 1958, the: Council
passed a resolution authorizing
submittal of the new plan (the
present one) to the Housing and
Home Finance Administration
with a preliminary application for
federal funds. This application
was filed Dec. 15.
In March the HHFA notified the
city its. procedures to stabilize
properties elsewhere in the city
were adequate, and on April 13th
a letter was received saying HHFA
approved the plan on four condi-
1) The city must develop more
fully its plans for the non-profit
corporation to subsidize rent of
low-income relocated families.
2) Developers must be required
to begin redeveloping property

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