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Ann Arbor's affordability problem

We can't help but feel we help start a conversation that was long overdue - how does Ann Arbor become a city that embraces economic diversity?

Excerpt:

"On a regional level, economic segregation makes the county fundamentally unsustainable, as some communities “degrade beyond a point of no return, and others grow in value beyond a point that’s ever again affordable,” according to the report. As is often the case, the housing market is an indicator of more sweeping trends. It turns out that Ann Arbor’s rising housing market corresponds with increasing wage disparity. Households in the city’s metro area that are in the 90th income percentile have seen an 18.8 percent gain since 1979, while those in the 10th percentile had wages drop by 14.4 percent. This wage divide correlates all too neatly with race. “To be in the 90th percentile (income) in Washtenaw County is to be white,” according to the report, “and to be in the 10th percentile is to not be white.”"

Read the rest here.

Tecumseh Brewing Company to open in April

Ann Arbor Brewing begat Corner Brewing. Grizzly Peak begat Jolly Pumpkin Brewing. Now, Ann Arbor's Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery (as well as Melange) has begotten the Tecumseh Brewing Company. It's all part of Michigan's growing beer ecosystem.

Excerpt:

"Between Tecumseh Brewing Company’s interior and proposed beer garden and patio, the establishment will hold approximately 150 people. Guests will have the opportunity to choose from 16 taps dedicated to the brewery’s signature brews.

According to DeWitt, the goal is to have all 16 taps up and running by the brewery’s target opening timeframe of early April."

Read the rest here.

The urban donut has shifted

The old and busted narrative went thusly: Suburbs are safe, smart and affluent. Cities are scary, poor, and un-educated. What a difference 20 years make.

Excerpt:

Putting urban neighborhoods under a microscope, a University of Virginia researcher has concluded that the traditional urban "donut" pattern — a ring of thriving suburbs surrounding a decaying city center — is being replaced by a new pattern: a thriving urban core surrounded by a ring of suburbs with older housing, older residents and more poverty.

Read the rest here.
 

Winnipeg writer hearts Ann Arbor

A Canadian comes to Ann Arbor and is smitten.

Excerpt:

Ann Arbor is midwestern-rural-meets-cosmopolitan-urban. It has the energy of a big city, yet feels small-town. It’s fast-paced and laid back. Modern and progressive, yet charming and quaint. Live theatre, art galleries, museums and music spaces are as prominent as the 50,000 trees which line its streets. It boasts an exceptional pedestrian shopping area, hosting events like ‘midnight madness’ where stores stay open late with special discounts and giveaways, and serve up warm beverages on a cool evening.

Read the rest here.

Talk of Traverse City to Ann Arbor train heats up

Though it may be as much as a decade or more away. talk of train service between Ann Arbor and Traverse City has really struck a chord. This Q&A with Jim Bruckbauer of Michigan Land Use Institute gives hope that Michigan may finally learn to embrace rail travel.

Excerpt:

"The tracks between Traverse City and Ann Arbor run through some of Michigan’s greatest downtown’s like Cadillac, Mt. Pleasant, Alma, Durand and Owosso.

A 2009 Grand Valley State University study showed that Michigan towns with rail service—even just once-a-day service—had anywhere from a $7 million to $45 million boost to their local economies because of that service.

Rail would allow the residents and college students in these towns to have another option for traveling to other wonderful Michigan cities and, because it intersects with two Amtrak lines, they’ll have access to major metropolitan areas around the country."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor City council vows to grow affordable housing

As Ann Arbor lands in the top 10 for most economically segregated cities in the U.S., city officials say they are committed to changing that dynamic. Good to see that the conversation we started in earnest several months ago has snowballed into a serious exploration of what our community needs to accommodate residents of every stripe.

Excerpt:

City Council this week voted, 10-1, to adopt affordable housing goals, the Ann Arbor News reported. That's part of a larger goal of adding 3,137 affordable non-student rental units between Ann Arbor and Pittsfield Township over the next 20 years.

Officials also hope to increase demand for market-rate housing in the Ypsilanti area by 4,187 units.

Read the rest here.

 

Local investors bet on Ann Arbor as tech hub

Hoping to bring together Ann Arbor startups struggling to grow, a pair of execs at Nutshell Inc. have decided to develop a tech hub incubator. And they already have their first tenant before the doors have opened.

Excerpt:

"Using the Madison Building in downtown Detroit as the model, a group of former Barracuda Networks Inc. executives wants to create a large hub for tech startups in downtown Ann Arbor.

They have signed a purchase agreement to buy two adjacent office buildings downtown and are negotiating to buy one or two more buildings. They hope to close on the first deal in about a month and have a build-out done in six months."

Read the rest here.
 

NerdWallet says Ann Arbor is an innovative tech hub

Looks like news of Ann Arbor's tech scene is spreading. While we didn't break the top 10, NerdWallet lists us at a respectable 12th for innovation.

Excerpt:

Silicon Valley is by far the leader. With a high number of patents per capita and venture capital funding figures that no other place comes close to, the metro area that includes the cities of San Jose, Sunnyvale and Santa Clara leads all in tech innovation.

The West dominates. Only two East Coast places made our top 10 list — Burlington, Vermont, and Boston, Massachusetts.

Universities are key. Every area in our top 10 is located near a major university, suggesting that higher education and innovation are closely linked.

Read the rest here.
 

U-M among top 10 universities for Peace Corp volunteers

If you're one of those townies who grumbles every time they see a U-M student playing beer-pong on their front lawn or crossing against the light when you least expect it or, well, whatever townies grumble about (over crowded restaurants, clueless drivers, too loud music, etc), keep in mind that you might be cursing the next Peace Corp volunteer. Yep, U-M ranked 8th when it comes to producing international do-gooders (51 volunteers currently).

The university also ranked No. 5 on the Peace Corps' list of the top-producing graduate schools

Or so says the Peace Corp in this report.
 

How Ann Arbor's Skyspecs got off the ground

Ann Arbor-based drone firm Skyspecs lays out the story of its path to investment and product development in Crains' interesting business series, "Startup diaries," analyzing how new metro Detroit businesses find their feet.

Excerpt:

"But these startups hardly have it easy. They slog through early years developing often-complicated technology and spending just as much time chasing money. It's a drawn-out, gambling lead-up to one day having sales that reward the effort. 

SkySpecs launched on paper in 2012, but that was just one small first step. The company's first few years were spent honing its product and chasing money, whether at business plan competitions or from investors. "

Read the rest here.
 

According to science Jolly Pumpkin is 6th best beer in Michigan

Dexter's Jolly Pumpkin Brewery ranks six out of the twelve best beers in the Mitten. Or so says Thrillist online magazine. And, frankly, we take serious issue with that assessment. Don't get us wrong, there are many fine Michigan brews on their "scientific" list. But sixth? Puh-lease. Jolly Pumpkin easily ranks in the top three. So say we all!

Excerpt:

"Jolly Pumpkin is all about those rustic, country style, sour beers, and if the whole sour thing seems off-putting to you, don’t worry about it. Most folks who think they don’t like sour beer wind up liking Jolly Pumpkin’s sour beer, so much so that their facilities last year maxed out at around 4-5,000 barrels. And although this is a beer list, you should also eat their food. Trust us."

Read the rest o' the list here.
 

U-M Michigan League ranked as top college campus wedding venue

We're #31!  We're #31!  Okay, so we seriously question the jounralistic intergity of a publication that's sole goal is to rank things about college campuses, but there's no getting around the fact that the Michigan League is a pretty darned awesome-looking place to hold a wedding.

Excerpt:

"The Michigan League on the beautifully wooded Michigan campus is the premier place to hold seminars, conferences, and receptions, serving the University as well as the community. It was built to be a “building that would become a center for women’s social, cultural and recreational activities on campus.” It serves as a facility for ceremonies and receptions of all faiths and orientations without regard to affiliation with the University."

Read the rest of the list here.
 

Departing chef at Ann Arbor's Ravens Club bares all in moving essay

Chef Frank Fejeran has helped make Ann Arbor's The Ravens Club a must-visit restaurant/bar, winning both awards and accolades. He recently decided to leave his lofty perch to start a food truck. In this moving essay he partly explains how he came to that decision.

Excerpt:

"I am finishing this essay in my basement, watching my amazing son play a video game on our one hundred inch projection screen. This is when it makes the most sense. My mother and step-dad are very proud of everything I have done, and are always so excited to read the next blog about their son or see me on the local news. I walk into the restaurant and everybody is working smoothly, quickly, and executing above the expected level. The dining room fills up quickly with excited guests, a dining room that two years ago would have been empty. In under fifteen months, I’ve lead a kitchen team and turned our kitchen around from being at the bottom of the barrel in Ann Arbor, into one of the most fun, respected, and praised restaurants in the city. We were awarded the 2014 best restaurant and best chef in Southeast Michigan. I leave work and pull into the driveway of my two story, three bedroom house, I purchased at the age of twenty five. My beautiful lady is happy to see me and so is my son…they are happy. This is success, right? I did everything I said I’d do, if not more."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor neighborhood forms snow-clearing co-op

Clearing snow from your sidewalk has become the bane to many an Ann Arbor homeowner. One neighborhood decided to pool their resources and purchase their own SnowBuddy.

Excerpt:

"Tinkerhess decided to see if he could mobilize a community sidewalk-snow-clearing service funded with the model popular with public radio stations: Provide the service for free to the neighborhood, then ask for donations to offset the costs once it was up and running. As the co-creator of the popular Water Hill Music Fest, Tinkerhess was already a recognized leader in the community. It took only a couple of weeks to raise the $18,000 in startup funds that the board of the SnowBuddy (now registered as a formal nonprofit) had set as their first goal. It was enough to buy a $43,000 tractor on a four-year plan and still have some funds to cover their estimated expenses of $25,000 a year—including a $2 million liability insurance policy."

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor to get largest solar array in Michigan

Well, it's about time. A serious investment in solar (aka renewable) energy is in the cards for Ann Arbor through a deal with DTE. Now, how about working on planes for all of SE Michigan?

Excerpt:

"The agreement between Ann Arbor and DTE would allow the utility company to use about 14 acres of the city-owned airport property. DTE would be responsible for paying for the solar panels and their installation and maintenance.

It's a 20-year agreement, with 10 one-year renewal options. DTE would pay the city $38 per kilowatt of system capacity, which is estimated to translate to at least $41,800 per year initially, and up to $81,700 per year with full implementation."

Read the rest here.
 
1418 Articles | Page: | Show All
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