Panhandling, drug use, and public safety concerns continue to plague Ann Arbor's Liberty Plaza. The Parks Advisory Commission intends to study whether more programmed activities is the right solution.
The Parks Advisory Commission (PAC) is calling for funds and someone dedicated to provide programming before making any decision on the downtown park issue.
A divided Ann Arbor City Council asked the commission to look at the issue of Liberty Plaza and a proposed park above the Library Lane underground parking structure. Council members have been split on how to make the best urban park available, is it a redesign or additional public safety.
PAC Chair Ingrid Ault recommends the city fund a position to oversee dedicated programming in the area. "Exercise classes, more music, art fairs, books fairs, I mean you name it. There's all kinds of opportunity for both of these spaces to be used for any of those that I just mentioned, but it is up to the community to help re-imagine what could happen in both spaces," Ault says.
Before additional programming can be planned city council needs to consider PAC's proposal and determine if they can find funding.
City Council member Christopher Taylor proposed a re-design of Liberty Plaza earlier this summer. He still thinks some elements of the park need to be changed but supports anything that will ensure a positive experience for visitors.
PAC's recommendation now goes to City Council for consideration.