The University Record, October 14, 1998

U, city announce collaboration to improve State Street area

By Bernie DeGroat
News and Information Services

State Street  PhotoThe University, in collaboration with the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the State Street Area Association, will conduct an 18-month study of the State Street area and report their findings by Jan. 30, 2000.

The multidisciplinary effort within the University brings together the Business School, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, School of Public Policy and the University’s central administration.

The study aims to develop a strategic plan and recommend urban design strategies for the visual and economic enhancement of the area. The project utilizes faculty, students and staff from the three U-M schools, and draws on the knowledge and experience of area business owners, customers and local government officials.

“The State Street area is akin to a complex ecosystem, whose continued viability and health depend on proactive and integrated efforts by merchants, the city and the University,” says Marian Krzyzowski, director of the Business School’s Business and Industrial Assistance Division, which is taking the lead on the project.

According to President Lee C. Bollinger, “through this collaborative working relationship the study will extend the University’s knowledge, expertise and resources to help improve our community. This project will give us a real-world opportunity to work on community development and improvement, and it will give students the platform to study changing policies and develop proactive responses to them.”

The State Street Project serves as a forum for the University and the city of Ann Arbor to collaborate and communicate within and beyond the scope of the project’s outline. Such forums can include focus groups, gathering information from stakeholders, and establishing a proposed permanent committee with representatives from both the University and city organizations involved in the project.

“The results of the project will produce a blueprint for area businesses and the DDA to apply in creating a dynamic and aesthetically appealing commercial district that highlights the area’s unique cultural, educational and social resources,” Krzyzowski says.

“This collaboration is a wonderful opportunity for town-gown dialogue and planning,” says Cynthia Wilbanks, vice president for government relations. “Both the community and the University will benefit from this type of forum and we look forward to the improvements that will result from this study.”

For more information on the project, contact Krzyzowski or Lawrence Molnar, principal investigator, 998-6201.

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