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Fuller Road

On February 10, 2012, the City announced that it would not go forward with its plan to build a parking structure on the park land situated across Fuller Road from the Fuller Road pool. Apparently, the University of Michigan grew tired of waiting for the City to fulfill its promises to provide the site and part of the funding for the parking structure. Read more in the article: Ann Arbor halts Fuller Road Station plans as U-M seeks to build new parking elsewhere.

This failure should be seen in the broader context of the relationship between the City and University. The University had every reason to believe that it was dealing with an honest broker when negotiating arrangements to build the structure. Instead, the City engaged in protracted maneuvers to achieve its goal without seeking approval of the voters. Months after the University opened the new hospital for which the parking structure was intended to serve, the City was still unable to act. One must hope against reason that the City's conduct does not taint the relationship between it and the University. On the other hand, it is not be difficult to understand if the University feels cheated.

The Fuller Road parking structure is a project proposed for city owned property on the south side of Fuller Road, just east of Medical Center Drive. The property is designated as parkland in the PROS Plan and currently has soccer fields and a surface parking lot. That lot and one on the north side of Fuller Road are leased by the University for use during the day. The proposed structure would have more than 900 parking spaces with the capacity to expand upwards as more parking is needed by the UM Medical Center. So far, the City has spent more than $500,000 on plans for the parking structure and a train station that might be built later. The University and City have executed a Memorandum of Understanding which provides, among other things, that the University and City will split the cost of building the parking structure with the University paying 78% and the City paying 22% of the cost to build, maintain and run the structure.

Please take a look at our Commuter Rail page, too. The Fuller Road projects are closely related to the viability of commuter rail service between Ann Arbor and surrounding communities. Without the rail projects, Fuller Road becomes a question of re-purposing parkland for a parking structure.

The news blog Local in Ann Arbor has a series of articles about the Fuller Road Station: 1). Fuller Road Station and the Mayor’s Letter; 2). Fuller Road Station: Parsing the Mayor’s Letter; 3). Fuller Road Station: It’s All About Parking.

8/15/2011 - Take a look at the annarbordotcom opinion piece written by our friend Rita Mitchell: Mayor Hieftje needs a better, more detailed plan for the Fuller Road Station

A New Group has Formed

A new group has formed and created the Stop Fuller Road Station web page. Please visit that site for more complete information on the Fuller Road parking structure and the proposed train station. The web site includes discussion of the re-purposing of City parkland, the costs to the City budget and the environmental concerns arising from this project.

M Go Green/ A2 Green is a coalition of U-M community members and Ann Arbor residents working together to advocate clean, affordable and efficient transportation solutions. The group opposes the building of a parking structure on the Full Road site. The Phase 2 Transportation study attached below, was provided by M Go Green.

The PAC agenda for its May 18, 2010 meeting included a resolution opposing the Fuller Road parking structure. There is considerable concern about the precedent of re-purposing parkland through leases to avoid the required voter approval for parkland sales. There are other concerns about this deal, too numerous to mention here.

A friend sent along this report of the May 18 PAC meeting:

"PAC met yesterday.  On the agenda was an item opposing Fuller Station.  . . .  The mayor appeared and talked in circles for an hour and managed to get PAC to table the resolution.  He told them that PAC did not understand the facts.  Apparently we have new facts now and Ann Arbor will get millions and the parks will get a share of the millions.  He provided no details as to exactly where these millions would come from.  He did say that Fuller station would bring lots of development to the area.  Perhaps there are plans to develop Fuller Park to be a better gateway to the city.  . . . .

"The mayor said he needed support from PAC to get these millions.  They discussed having a special meeting tacked on to the land acquisition meeting to vote on this new resolution.  Hieftje was assisted by Peter Pollock who appeared to say Fuller station should cover more land area and by Chris Taylor who steered PAC in the direction the Mayor wanted them to go.  The mayor spent a lot of time claiming that the project was not a parking structure for the U."

What if the Mayor put this much effort into finding a way to maintain police and fire staffing?

For more coverage on the Mayor's plea to the PAC and the PAC's reaction to that lobbying, see:

The attachment below is the Council resolution approving the MOU with the University and the MOU, itself.
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