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Ypsilanti seeks public input on Freighthouse Plaza redesign

Aerial image of the Freighthouse Plaza space
Aerial image of the Freighthouse Plaza space

The Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority is seeking input on the potential redesign of Freighthouse Plaza.

Elize Jekabson is the executive director of the city’s Downtown Development Authority. They say the department hopes to maintain the historical significance of the space, while balancing parking options and its functionality.

“It’s a historic building. The scale inside still works. Right now, it’s been used for events, community events, our warming shelter in the wintertime and also private events like weddings.”

Redevelopment ideas include using the space for additional private events, a farmers' market, or a walking path. Jekabson says the Development Authority plans to work with an outside consulting firm to create a final presentation on the possible outcomes for the space.

“We’re going to have a few more weeks of these public input sessions, and the survey will be open, and then the company will be presenting designs. We have yet to discuss how we’re going to present and move forward. Those are our next steps right now. We’re just on the public participation piece.”

The Development Authority is also seeking feedback on a stretch of North River Street, near the Ypsilanti Food Co-op. Jekabson says the area could serve as an entry point to Depot Town and an extension to potential plaza events.

“We’re looking at making a little bit more of a welcoming gateway for Depot Town… Do we have native flowers? Do we have a “Welcome to Depot Town” sign there? One of the reasons we’re tying that area into this overall project is because we want to make it cohesive with the plaza.”

The department is circulating an online survey that will inform the final plan for the space. The city will host its first public input session tonight at 6 PM at the Ypsilanti Freighthouse.

The section of North River street the department is looking to redevelop
The section of North River street the department is looking to redevelop

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Taylor Bowie joined WEMU as a reporter in October 2023.
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