Water Street and other City Owned Property
I am committed to marketing Water Street aggressively and helping take the expense of that property off this city’s hands.
The best use of this property is likely the only viable use of the Water Street property: large, dense, mixed-use housing of some type. A healthy combination of housing, small businesses, and services will not only extend our downtown and increase our population for better use of infrastructure, it will finish the project created 17 years ago, putting this property back on the tax rolls again. Due to the multi-million dollar cost of remediating the extensive brownfield, this is the best hope for Water Street.
Dense, mixed-use housing will increase available customers for our business community and will help our downtown areas continue to become more successful. People living downtown and walking to entertainment, shopping, and eating establishments will keep our walkable/bike-able goals strong, will not add much of a burden to our already stretched parking capacity, and will keep our downtown districts vibrant and exciting.
Dense, mixed-use housing will also create more badly-needed tax revenue for our city. Any development will add costs to the city in the form of road maintenance, public safety costs, sanitation, and other services provided by the city. Any development will need to pay for municipal services in the form of tax revenue.
A dense, mixed-use housing solution in Water Street will also help alleviate some of the housing difficulties being experienced by many of our residents. Rising housing costs are being caused partly by high demand. Increased number of available options will alleviate some of that demand and prevent people from being forced out by rising costs.
This use is called for by two different and powerful sources.
The first is our Shape Ypsi Master Plan which is the visioning document created in 2013 with input from more than 400 community members. It ensures that we are consistent and clear in our plans and work for our community. By referring to this document and using it for the basis of our planning, we can be sure we are in sync with the many other moving parts of our city government, are doing what the community desires, and are keeping the city moving in the direction it believes is best.
The second source reinforcing the idea of dense, mixed-use development is the economics of the property. Any development on Water Street will have to support the costs of not just brownfield remediation, but also complete infrastructure. Roads, sewers, electricity, gas, water, etc… and that all costs quite a bit. To pay for these inherent costs, the expense needs to be spread out over a large project.
Ypsilanti must closely examine any and all proposals to ensure that they fit our community. Our values, our diversity, our vibrant strength and vitality, must not be sacrificed simply to sell a piece of property. We can protect those values by closely vetting developers and proposals to make sure that we are making the best choice possible for our city and our future.