Green the Way capstone in Ann Arbor City Council spotlight

‘Green the Way’ capstone in Ann Arbor City Council spotlight

Ann Arbor City Council is currently discussing how to use a capstone project from last semester titled, “Green the Way: Moving Forward on an Allen Creek Trail” as the foundation for a master plan that would support the development of parks and a new trail through downtown Ann Arbor.

As City Planner Wendy Rampson shared with City Council last month, the proposed master plan would incorporate stormwater, transportation, infrastucture, and zoning issues to develop new parkland in Ann Arbor according to a recent MLive article

The Ann Arbor City Council has expressed strong support for an Allen Creek Greenway but some council members are hoping to reduce the $250,000 budget request to hire a consultant to help develop a master plan.

“There’s a lot of information that’s already been developed for the Allen Creek Greenway,” said Council Member Stephen Kunselman, D-3rd Ward, mentioning the 121-page report done by the urban and regional planning students titled, “Moving Forward on an Allen Creek Trail.”

The report reference by Kunselman was presented by the students to members of the Ann Arbor community on December 19, 2014. Over 120 interested community members attended the presentation  at the Main Branch of the Ann Arbor Public Library which revealed a wide range of motivations for an Allen Creek trail, including facilitating recreational and commuter use, connecting neighborhoods and downtown, mitigating flooding and stormwater issues, and enhancing quality of life.

A downtown trail or ‘greenway’ along the route of Ann Arbor’s Allen Creek/railroad corridor was first purposed over thirty years ago. The team worked closely with the City of Ann Arbor and the Allen Creek Greenway Conservancy to undertake this challenge by operating information stations at popular community venues, attended neighborhood meetings, launching a youth art competition, and administering an on-line survey. In the process, over 800 different residents shared their ideas.

The Ann Arbor City Council continues to debate the budget allocation needed to push the Allen Creek Greenway forward. Visit the Allen Creek Greenway capstone report and the MLive article for more information.

Master of Urban Planning students Matt Bourke, Hannah Dean, Matt Ferris-Smith, Ashleigh Johnson, Christopher Johnson, Luke Norman, Tolu Olorode, Tricia Pontau, Arthur Prokosch, Lucas Reigstad, Pam Schaeffer, and Douglas Smith conceived their capstone plan alongside faculty members Larissa Larsen and Eric Dueweke.

The Taubman College Urban and Regional Planning capstone’s are an essential component of the program. This semester five capstone projects focusing on Detroit, Washtenaw/Ypsilanti and Brazil are intended to partner students with community partners or “clients” to address timely and real-world urban planning problems.