Monday, September 26, 2011

Because you're mine, I walk the line

The Daily is back in full force after a little summer vacay. In his recent article, Walking the Line: How Ann Arbor balances old with new, Stephen Ostrowski writes about the changing face of downtown. It's interesting to see downtown development framed from a student's point of view. From the article:
"What makes Ann Arbor great is that it combines the character of a college town, a place you come to when you go out to school and fall in love with, with the access ... that perhaps a bigger city has," said Andy LaBarre, vice president of government relations for the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber. "It's a perfect mix."

Navigating economic waters while preserving a city’s identity is a difficult balance to strike — a feat that, according to Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje, requires dedicated maintenance and a well-reasoned approach.

“It’s always a challenge to keep moving forward economically while maintaining the culture and character of the city,” Hieftje said.

Susan Pollay, executive director of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority, believes the city’s presence of chain and local businesses has long been well-balanced — labeling this mix one of Ann Arbor’s “great strengths.”

“It’s valuable to think of downtown like a forest or an ecosystem,” Pollay said. “You need old buildings and new buildings. You need big things and small things. You need national tenants who have the big advertising budgets, and you need the small independents to give you an identity. In a forest … it supports itself better by having a variety.”

1 comment:

  1. Maybe it's me, but the balance between chains and local restaurants is anything but balanced. I remember when there used to be a Burger King, McDonald's and Taco Bell pretty much downtown. The Burger King is now a Kinko's. The McDonald's is somethign and the Taco Bell is an Italian place (or was, it's been a while since I've been down that way). Maybe when you step out of Ann Arbor proper there are chains...but where is the Sonic or Culvers?