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September 05, 2001 - Image 76

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-05

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6F - Wednesday, September 5, 2001- New Student Edition - The Michigan Daily

State Street
renovations to
hangeo
f maSprow
Daily News E ditor
e face of Ann Arbor is changing. City projects
ike the Capital Improvements Plan, the Annual
Reswrfacing Project, the Downtown Resurfacing Pro-
ject and the State Street renovation are all taking place
this summer
'lWenty years ago, there were a lot of retail shops,
piysthere are a lot of coffee shops. Ten years from
i wthere will be a lot of entertainment shops, so that
means focusing on lights' said Susan Pollack, execu-
tive-director of the Downtown Development Authori-
tythe committee in charge of the State Street project.
"Ten years from now there will be these beautiful
ies like you see on Main Street and we're hoping
Rtt encourage people to have sidewalk coffee shops."
The projects could mean more hassles for students,
but project managers are hoping that, in the end,
they'll attract even more people to the downtown and
campus areas.
"State" of the art
he State Street renovation project is the last to
start but the most anticipated. The project, which will
widen sidewalks and add trees and more streetlights
to the downtown area, also includes a plan to turn the
one-way section of State Street between East William
and Liberty streets into a two-way street.
Pollay said she hopes the project would improve the
State Street area to the standards of the Main Street
downtown area.
"As you look around State Street and then you walk
down to Main Street, there is a huge difference," she
said. "It's really about making it feel comfortable to
walk around ... you want to spend time there. The
area is looking a little bit old."
The project's beginning date hasn't been deter-
mined yet, but Pollay said she expects the sidewalk
construction to begin in September and the road con-
struction to begin next year, in 2002.
Beginning the construction in the fall will mean
more pedestrians will be walking around, and that
could cause some problems, but Pollay said the DDA
will try to accommodate pedestrian needs by having
students walk on the other side of the street, or mak-
ing temporary walking areas in the street.
"State Street is a very, very high pedestrian area. We
need to make sure to accommodate pedestrians and
make sure it's still possible to get in the shops ... and
get from point A to point B," she said.

M

State

(Stre:et)

of affairs

High rent
State St. cl
By Johm Ponhy
Daily StaffReporter
With the exception of a handful of
graduate students and native Ann
Arborites, Michigan students don't
remember Drake's Sandwich Shop. for
over 65 years, Drake's facade peered out
over the Diag, offering students every-
thing from vanilla cokes to big band
dances in the upstairs Walnut Room.
To the thousands of students who
carved their names in Drake's wooden
booths or bought one of the shop's sig-
nature footballs during the Schembech-
ler era, the shop is remembered with a
unique fondness.
When Drake's closed its doors in
1993, the antique interior was gutted
and replaced by the plastic booths and
chain-store stylings of Bruegger's
Bagels. It was a sign of the times, and
many other small Ann Arbor-based
State Street businesses would soon fol-
low suit.
Eight years later, the vitality of State
Street continues to attract the attention
of corporations such as Starbucks, Ein-
stein Bros. and Harmony House.Uthat
hope to tap into the University market.
"There's a lot of demand for space on
State Street," explained Jeff Harshe. a
commercial real estate broker with
Swisher Commercial.
"The question is, what kind of busi-
ness can make it when rents get up in
the mid-$30s (per square foot per year)?
It's going to change the character of the
neighborhood," he said.
Harshe estimated monthly rent for a
1,200 square-foot business on State
Street is about $3,500.
The shift in ownership of State Street
buildings has been a major factor in
changing the composition of the street,
as rent hikes have put increasing pres-
sure on businesses' profit margins.
"Twenty or 50 years ago, you had a
lot of small retail in addition to large
department stores, and families owned
the buildings," says Karl Pohrt, presi-
dent of the State Street Area Association
and owner of Shaman Drum Bookstore.
"Over the years, they sold the buildings

leads to
osings
to investment groups who don't li.
here. That's extremely dangerous for the
vitality of a downtown."
Business owners have universally
lamented the level of rent in the State
Street area.
"In my opinion, the rents are overly
inflated down here," said James Decker.
of Decker Drugs, whose business is in
the enviable position of holding a long
term lease. A number of stores whoe':
leases have come up for renewal i
recent years - Caribou Coffee
Hallmark Crown House of Gifts ambnng'
them -have been forced to shut doMi.
One of the pronounced effects of riseZ
ing rents has been the increased pres-
ence of chain stores on State Street.-'
Larger stores, taking advantage of
economies of scale and stronger finan-
cial backing, have been more suited;to
survive rent pressure.
"They make more money per sq
foot," said Harshe. "They can affor
higher rents."'
With the entrance of chain stores, tU
business make-up of State Street has
also become increasingly homogenous.
The topic has become a concern to
many State Street business owners who
depend on foot traffic to drive demand,
"We need a better mix of stores down,
here," said Steve & Barry's manager
Dan Switzer. "We have enough coffee-
places and Michigan stores like th'
one. If you have a better mix and more,
restaurants, you're going to attract more
people to the downtown area and
they're going to spend more time down.
here."
Although soaring rents have put pres
sure on State Street business owners
and forced a number of stores to shut
down, the competitive market is not,
without underlying wisdom. The pres
sure has forced businesses that have n
delivered consistent value to State Street,
patrons to make room for businesses
who do, and the heavy competition has
kept business owners in close touch
with customers' needs.
In addition, for downtown stores to6
compete with the low rents of remotely
See CLOSINGS, Page 7F

ABBY ROSENBAUM/Daily
Trees and more lights will modernize and make area more attracthie to cafe patrons on State Street.

Widening the sidewalks means the lanes in the
streets won't be as wide, and converting to two-way
means traffic will only have one lane which could lead
to more clogged streets. The advantage is there will be
a more direct route to get to South Campus.
"It seems like it would be a good idea," said LSA
junior Ryan Mason. "I don't know why they are doing
it the way it is now. I always have to find alternative
routes."
Area businesses say they are aware that construc-
tion will lead to a temporary slowdown, but most
agree it will strengthen the State Street area and hope-
fully lead to more commerce. "This is not road con-
struction, this is a huge 5 million dollar project," said
Tom Haywood, executive director of the State Street
Area Association. "We all understand that we're going
-to lose some business."
"From the business standpoint, you take the greater
good. The wider sidewalks allow for larger trees
which add to ambiance, the cleanliness of the area
improves," he added. "A lot of the project depends on
how the whole thing is managed, but the overall good

is incalcu lable. It's going to be a much better place for
everyone who works here"
Although the plan, designed by the Pollack Design
Agency fAllowing an extensive study of the area and
meetings between city officials and University faculty
and studeits, tries to help pedestrians, it leaves bicy-
clers on the sidewalks.
"Making the pedestrians feel more important in that
area has soirt of been a principle that we've been try-
ing to use," said Christie Dunbar, a project coordina-
tor at Pollak Design.
Bicycling lanes, which were originally asked to be
added to theis plan, were left out to leave more room
for cars. W hile some area bicyclers are upset, Woody
Holman, president of the Ann Arbor Chamber of
Commerce, said he believes the paths wouldn't have
served their purpose.
"I do a lc t of biking around Ann Arbor and I think
in an area li ke that, where there is a lot of traffic and
that type of thing, I'm not sure that I think bicycling
paths are practical," he said.
See PROJECT, Page 7F

Detroit loses big as Ann Arbor
sees increase in 2000 Census

Ithe numbers game
The U.S. Census Bureau;
released data about Michiga's
2000 population yesterday;.
Total popuation: 91938,44C

Koib proposes
anti-gay hate
cnime Ilaw7

By LoW. MOWish
)AOl Reporter
Although Detroit's population fell
>elow 1 million for the first time since
920, Ann Arbor grew by 4.1 percent
ince 1990, according to 2000 Census
igures released yesterday.
The U.S. Census Bureau counted
)51,270 residents of Detroit, down from
he city's 1950 peak of 1,849,568.
Michigan's overall population grew
rom 9,295,297 to 9,938,444 between
heI-990 and 2000 censuses, but that
vill n.ot prevent the state from losing
)ne of its 16 congressional districts.
The data released yesterday indicates
hat Michigan's 6.9 percent population
;row was not as fast as other states of
he.country which will be gaining con-
resiioAl districts.
The release of the count begins the
ong process of redistricting, during
vhich Michigan's congressional and
egislative district lines are redrawn to
ccount for shifts in population.
Ann Arbor, which saw its population
ncrease from 109,592 to 114,024,

should expect a slight shifting of its
state representatives' districts, said Ken
Brock, a legislative aide to Senate Reap-
portionment Committee ranking Demo-
crat Burton Leland of Detroit.
"My guess the way this will work out
is that the Kolb district will grow a little
bit and that will radiate out a little bit
and Hansen will have less of the city of
Ann Arbor and more of the suburban
and rural parts of Washtenaw County,"
Brock said.
Democrat Chris Kolb represents most
of the city of Ann Arbor and Democrat
John Hansen represents northwest Ann
Arbor, including North Campus.
Brock predicted a fierce battle
between Republicans and Democrats in
both houses of the Legislature.
"There is no question, redistricting
always has severe partisan ramifica-
tions,"he said.
Brock said he expects Republicans,
who hold majorities in the Legislature
as well as the Supreme Court and also
controls the governor's office, to redraw
district lines in a manner that would be
overly favorable to them.

"If the Republicans can come to a
consensus among themselves they will
draw the districts to their political
advantage," he said.
But Phil Ginotti, administrative assis-
tant to Senate Reapportionment Com-
mittee Chair Bill Schuette (R-Midland)
strongly dismissed Brock's predictions.
"Their concerns are legitimate
because when the Democrats controlled
the process in the 1980s they abused it
mightily," he said.
But Schuette vowed that Republicans
would not do the same. He said the Leg-
islature had approved measures to
ensure districts would be drawn fairly.
"We are taking guidance from past
court cases and basically incorporating
them into the framework for redistrict-
ing in 2001,"he said.
Democrats accused Republicans at
state and national levels of marginaliz-
ing the voting power of minority dis-
tricts, which tend to vote strongly
Democratic.
One of the first to be criticized was
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald
Evans, who did not to release statistical-
ly adjusted population counts that sup-
porters of "statistical sampling" say give
accurate counts of minority districts.
"There are large parts of the city of
Detroit that are undercounted and there
is no question in my mind that if adjust-
ments were made for sampling, that rep-

Race

1 White:
8 Black:
8Native American:
f18 Asian:
V Pacific Islander
I Other:
B Biracial:
t Multiracial:

Population Pct.
7,966,053 80
1,412, 742 14.2
58,479 0.5
176,510411.7
2,692s.-
129,556 *1.3
180,824t 1.81
192,416 .9
323,877 3.3

11 Hispanic:
a
iiNon-Hispanic:
I Voting age:
I Under 18:

9,614,567
7,342,677

96.7
73.9

2,595,767 26.1

I

res entation from Detroit would increase
sul itantially," Brock said.
13 ut Ginotti said the Legislature
alre ady took undercounts into consider-
atic ii, allowing deviation from the aver-
age number of residents per district in
mir iority areas to allow for more dis-
trici s to be created in urban areas:

I

By Hanna LoPatin
Daily Staff Reporter
Rep. Chris Kolb hopes that the
third time's the charm. Kolb, the
first openly gay state legislator in
Michigan, is part of the third con-
secutive effort to integrate sexual
orientation into the current hate
crime and civil rights legislation
when he and three other representa-
tives introduce a series of bills
today.
The package, which enjoys bipar-
tisan support, aims to protect people
from violence, job insecurity and
discrimination based on their sexual
orientation.
The bills have been introduced in
some form in both of the past two
sessions. In one case it passed in the
state House, but not the Senate.
Kolb (D-Ann Arbor) said
although he hopes his status as a
gay man will help in some ways to
get the legislation passed, he will
rely heavily on the support of his
peers on both sides of the aisle.
"I can draw on my own experi-
ences and individuals of those I
know, but I also think that it will
take more than just myself work-
ing," he said. "It's an effort I'm not
going to shoulder myself, but I will
be taking a lead role."
Minority Floor Leader Gilda
Jacobs (D-Huntington Woods),
another sponsor of the bill, said this
legislation stems from a problem in
human rights issues - not neces-
sarily gay rights.
"We protect all sorts of people
under the law, and yet there's really
no protection for the gay communi-
ty," she said. "Just because some-
body is gay doesn't mean they

would be considered a hate crime,"
Godchaux said.
Sean Kosofsky is director of poli-
cy and victim services at the Trian-
gle Foundation, a statewide,
advocacy group for gay, lesbian,.
bisexual, and transgender persr
He said Michigan used to be
leader in protecting people based on
their sexual orientation. Now, with,
24 states and the District of Colum-
bia prohibiting discrimination based -
on sexual orientation, Kosofsky said,
it is time for Michigan "to play,-
catch up."
"In the past ten years, things have
gotten incredibly conservative ar&
incredibly hostile," he said of t.
Engler-led Michigan government.
There has been "confusing and divi,
sive and dishonest rhetoric from
conservatives trying to pit gays and-
lesbians against the Christians and,.
the straight people."
Kosofsky, along with the rest -of
the bills' supporters, is remaining
cautiously optimistic about the.-
future of the legislation.
"My impression is there's enougk
support for this legislation if a vow
would come up," Kosofsky said,
adding that the calling of a vote is
"entirely dependent on the priorities,
of the Republican legislature."
Jacobs said the legislation is con-.1
sidered controversial because "there..
are a lot of people who are not ;
accepting of alternative lifestyles
and feel that people choose to, ber
what they are as opposed to accept.
ing people for what they are."
A "fear of the unknown" is
responsible for much of the opposi.,,
tion, she said.
Both Jacobs and Kolb said that
educating the legislature is their pri...

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