While PLPP has not taken any position regarding a particular use for the Library Lot, we are encouraged by a resolution passed by the Ann Arbor Democratic Party at its monthly meeting on February 13, 2010. The resolution calls for an open space or town square, which goes beyond the scope of PLPP's efforts. Nonetheless, the Party's resolution recognizes that the Library Lot RFP has proceeded without appropriate public participation. We hope the Democrats on Council will be mindful of the Party's Resolution when the RFP comes before them.
The resolution passed by the Ann Arbor Democrats:
A RESOLUTION CONCERNING DEMOCRATIC PROCESS AND THE
DISPOSITION OF PUBLIC PROPERTY WITHIN THE CITY OF ANN
ARBOR COMMONLY KNOWN AS THE "LIBRARY LOT".
Whereas, the Administrator oft City of Ann Arbor has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) concerning the disposition of the public land commonly known as the Library Lot and the issuance of this RFP has been approved by the City Council, elected by the citizens of Ann Arbor to represent their interests; and
Whereas, the citizens of Ann Arbor have long held the hope that the Library Lot would one day be reclaimed by the public as a commons or town square because it is recognized that a city needs a physical center and Public space for the perpetuation and enhancement of its civic life; and
Whereas, the recent use of the surface of this public land as public parking will change with the construction of an underground parking structure; and
Whereas, the sale or long-term lease of any public land, should be accomplished only with robust involvement of the community in deciding the eventual uses and costs to the community of the loss of the land to the public; and
Whereas. the process for determining that the Library Lot parcel should be sold or leased for purposes of private development has been neither transparent nor responsive to long-standing community concerns for the future of this parcel; and
Whereas, the citizens of Ann Arbor have neither assented to the sale or lease of this property nor indicated that a partnership between our city and a private developer would be beneficial; and
Whereas most studies on the subject have shown that partnerships of this nature for convention/conference centers, stadiums and other such projects have not been proven to be financially sound forms of community investments; and
Whereas, that the selling or leasing of the Library Lot to any private parties would irreparably harm the citizens of Ann Arbor and that no sum of money could recompense the citizens for the loss of a central place of convivial community engagement.
Now be it Resolved by we, the Democrats assembled here today at this monthly meeting of the Ann Arbor Democratic Party, that the City Council of Ann Arbor institute and support a public process for determining the future use of this property that must include robust public involvement, which has not, to this date been accomplished; and it is further
Resolved that we encourage the city government to support the development of a commons or town square in the center of the city for the promotion of civic virtues which are central to citizen centered democracies; and
Resolved that the selling or leasing of the Library Lot to any private parties should not happen without approval of the voters of Ann Arbor; and it is further
Resolved that the City Council, as our elected representatives, should not approve investment of any public funds in any private development of the Library Lot, and that any private use or development of the Library Lot must be proven sound enough to be financed through private funding.