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September 03, 2002 - Image 71

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-03

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-p u The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Tuesday, September 3, 2002 - 7F
Campus eyesore will become new residential building

By Elizabeth Kassab building to replace the vacant one-story structure at
Daily News Editor 205 State St. was approved last May by the Ann Arbor
City Council, 7-4.
The boarded-up, graffiti-covered former Olga's The proposal passed although the planning commis-
Kitchen at the corner of South State and Washington sion voted not to recommend the project.
streets is slated to get a makeover and a new identity. According to the proposal, the current building will
A proposal for an eight-story retail and residential be leveled to make way for the new eight-story com-
# %t
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The first floor will be used for retail, and the other
seven floors will be divided into 42 apartments.
Proponents of the plan said the development will
help meet housing demands and add to the downtown
Critics argued the building's height will detract from
the atmosphere of State Street and dwarf other build-
ings in a corridor dominated by two- and three-story
Mayor Pro Tem Jean Carlburg (D-Ward III) said
some local merchants and community members
expressed concerns that the large building would dis-
rupt the pedestrian feeling of State Street.
Carlburg said she was also skeptical at the develop-
er's insistence that the building needed to be eight sto-
ries tall.
Howard Frehsee, the building's owner the develop-
ment is consistent with the city's goals and the pro-
posed height is necessary to cover the expense of
"Had we only been able to build six stories, this proj-
ect would have crashed and burned," he said.
Frehsee said he understands the benefits of preserv-
ing State Street but there are other factors to take into
"Times have changed," he said. "There's only so
much land in Ann Arbor."
Building up is one way to combat urban sprawl, he
This is not the first tall building to grace the skies of
downtown Ann Arbor, Frehsee said, citing the 15-story
Campus Inn at 615 E. Huron St. and the 26-story Tower
Plaza at 555 William St.
Doug Cowherd, co-chair of the Huron Valley Group,
the local chapter of the Sierra Club, opposed the pro-
posed development.
"It would be grotesquely out of scale with the sur-

rounding area," he said.
Cowherd said he was also reluctant to believe the
building would add to the area, saying a large develop-
ment would make it less attractive. Instead of drawing
people to the area, the project could have the opposite
effect and repel possible residents, adding to the problem
of sprawl, not preventing it.
Frehsee countered that argument, saying the develop-
ment will add character to the area. He said he plans to
construct a modern, eye-catching building in place of
the current eye sore.
"Our project is going to take away a lot of the
blight," he said. "We think it's really going to improve
the streetscape dramatically."
Margaret Leary, vice chair of the planning commis-
sion, acknowledged the development has its drawbacks
but said itis legally viable and also has benefits.
"A development that provides as much housin as this
one will is important," she said.
Leary added the building's proximity to downtown
Ann Arbor provides a central location for its residents,
making it possible for them to live within walking dis-
tance of their jobs.
Besides the plan's potential for cutting down on the
use of cars, Leary said the development could bolster
retail and entertainment in the area as well.
This plan to combine retail and housing is only one
of a crop of similar proposals near campus to gain the
city council's approval in recent months, Leary said.
Mixed-use developments are sprouting up with
increasing popularity in other urban areas as well, she
They provide for economically healthy cities and
place housing, office space and retail shops next door
to each other.
Frehsee declined to estimate how much the project
will cost or when construction could begin. "We're
going to move full speed ahead," he said.

A favorite bulletin board for the campus, the former Olga's Kitchen will soon be an eight-story high rise.

Initiative hopes to
provide assistance
Students react to- plans
created byState treet
area_ business owners
By Karen Schwartz
Daily Staff Reporter
For LSA junior Rachel Guberman, walking down State Street can be an
obstacle. Guberman said she has had panhandlers follow her for "several
blocks at a time."
"I always sort of dread having to walk through the little crowd of pan-
handlers that congregates around the arcade and in front of Expresso
Royale," she said, adding that being followed "is very awkward and a bit
A netv initiative going around town hopes to result in fewer panhandlers
on the streets.
Peter Marshall, owner of English Language Arts Inc. in Nickels Arcade,
has collected more than 250 signatures so far from local business owners
to show support for the State Street Initiative.
The plan would create a zone in parts of the downtown area where the
solicitation of community funds for private use - mainly through panhan-
dling -would not be allowed.
Marshall said the idea for the State Street Initiative resulted from con-
versations with local business people on how the at-risk homeless commu-
nity impacts businesses and the area, as well as the need to fill "gaps" in
the current assistance programs.
"We have this substance abuse population who are not being fully
reached by the curt shelter system as it's set up," he said.
He said he would like to see the initiative incorporated with an ordi-
nance proposal that the Mayor's Task Force on Panhandling is currently
considering. He would like to see the ordinance enacted by the end of the
The initiative addresses one of the primary zones where people with
drug addictions get their funding from people passing by who, Marshall
said, think they are helping the situation by giving money.
"(Students and others) are well intentioned. They want to help, and they
think they're going to help, by giving money directly to this population,
but they're not," he said, adding that this kind of giving can do more harm
than good.
"They're continually getting enabled to ... support their addictions and
that keeps them from getting treated for their addictions and mental health
(problems)," he said.
Marshall added that he believes the resources currently available are not
enough to serve the panhandling population, of which 80 to 90 percent need
help to address substance abuse issues.
"I think the community, the county and the private organizations ...
should fund outreach in a very committed and substantial way," he said.
The initiative also has a community education component, which would
train students on the issue, provide peer education opportunities and
attempt to raise awareness around campus.
Sarah Douglas, general manager at Expresso Royale on State Street, said
she signed the petition because she believes there is a panhandling problem
and looks forward to the help it could provide Ann Arbor businesses and
community members - as well as panhandlers themselves.
"It seems like a win-win," she said. Douglas added that panhandling is a
constant issue for State St. store employees.
"I spend a lot of my time asking people to leave if they work their way
into the store or if they're right in front of my store," she said.
Douglas also said the panhandlers affect State Street shoppers and poten-
tial customers.
"It's very uncomfortable walking up and down State St., knowing you're
"It's a lot of old
BASH dents," Engineer
Continued from Page IF Donahue added t
"There's no other group they're treating like this." might hurt the eve
Dan Selano, founder of Police Officers for Drug Law "(They) seem l
Reform, addressed the enthusiastic audience. the microphone w
"We're tired of the issues arising from the war on ahue said.
drugs," said Selano, a former marine and retired Detroit DPS officer Pa
police officer. the crowd. Last y
"There are many of us working on getting this issue wearing a tie-dye
turned into a health and education issue," Selano said. event in uniform.
"Our job is to protect and serve - not to invade, steal Brown said D
and kill." purposes and to p
Noah Kramer, an Ann Arbor high school student, said Although it w
he came to hear the speakers and show support for the been banned at th
legalization of marijuana. temporary vendor
"I think the prohibition of it is causing more harm roe Streets. Hash
than good," he said. a permit to closs
Corey Shope, a resident of Wayne who attended Hash Dominick's Resta
Bash, said he believed Hash Bash was not effective. tainment:

"I believe in it, but I think (Hash Bash) is pointless," Matt Ruhan, a
he said. "It attracts more attention, but it doesn't help ing, obtained a pe
legalize marijuana." "I know that th
University students who attended the event had mixed here," Ruhan saic
reactions to the event. centrated ... nothi

curb panhandling,
to A2 homeless

Continued from Page IF
"It's not the aesthetic stuff and the sexy stuff. It's things like fire and
sprinkler systems."
The Bill project will reduce the number of seats from 4,200 to 3,650 and
cost $33.5 million dollars but promises to positively affect the acoustic
integrity of the building, Brown said.
"If you listen to some acoustic experts, they will question that the build-
ing is acoustically sound," she said.
"If anything, we're going to enhance the acoustics by creating more of a
sound barrier between the lobby and the auditorium."
The School of Music and University Musical Society are still looking as
far away as Detroit for alternate venues for events that normally take place
at Hill.
"A project like this might typically last a couple of years in a normal
environment," Brown said. "In this case, we're asking people to tighten up
to an 18-month window. ... It's a large consideration because performers
are scrambling for alternative venues."
The city also plans to continue their construction push with the restora-
tion of two-way streets downtown and the State Street Area Project.
"We're trying to figure out how we're going to phase in the construc-
tion," said Sue Polley, Downtown Development Authority executive
The project; which began this spring, involves the installation of new
sidewalks, trees and lights on North University Avenue and State, William,
Washington and Thompson streets.
In addition, all one-way streets in that area will be reopened to two-way
Polley said the city hopes to make the area more pedestrian-friendly by
the completion of the project in 2003.

The forgotten but not uncommon faces of the homeless roam the Ann Arbor
streets looking for handouts and shelter. VSfYO UR C i P nEw
going to be harassed all the time by panhandlers," she said. :5::55;S::
Marshall said the plan will not tamper the solicitation of funds for organ- RNGNG
ized charities if approved.
LSA junior Peter Roach said he would like to see the plan help more peo-
ple by addressing a larger part of the city.
Roach added that he hopes the actions are being taken for their own sake D o YuU W QRK FuR THE
and not just to "sanitize the streets."
He said he would rather see action taken to "help (the panhandling popu-
satin) to their feet for their own sake" than as the result of a desire for
"cosmetic cleanup" in a commercial zone of the city. 4}D::LY . ...
"I appreciate the socially focused action this plan has in mind, and I
would like to see those efforts taken out to the rest of Ann Arbor" he said.
d burnouts. ... I'd like to see more stu-
ing sophomore Mike Donahue said.
hat he thought some of the speakers '
nt's purpose.
ike a bunch of idiots. ... The guy on
was saying the stupidest things, Don-
sul Vaughn filmed and photographed
ear, officer Vaughn attended the event
A t-shirt, but this year he recorded the
PS documents large events for legal
rotect officer's safety.
as widely reported that vendors had
he event, the city of Ann Arbor issued
permits along East Liberty and Mon-
Bash organizers were also able to get
e the portion of Monroe Street near
aurant to use for vendors and enter-
vendor from Krazy Kats in East Lans-.b'
rmit to vend on Monroe Street.
ere's a lot of vendors who couldn't get DANNY MOLOSHOK/DaIly
d. "As long as (the vendors) are con- Ann Arbor residents and University students gather on the Diag April 6, 2002, protesting in favor of legalizing marijuana at the
ng would be harmed." 31st Annual Hash Bash Celebration.

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