RIVERSIDE ARTS CENTER HOSTS “THE FUTURE OF YPSILANTI” TOWN HALL
RIVERSIDE ARTS CENTER HOSTS “THE FUTURE OF YPSILANTI” TOWN HALL JANUARY 8
Ward 1 Representative Lois Richardson and the new REDY Coalition Invites Ypsilanti
residents for a dialogue about the future of development in the city.
Friday, January 5, 2018, Ypsilanti, Michigan–Ypsilanti Ward 1 City Councilmember Lois Richardson and
Rising for Economic Development in Ypsi (REDY) will host a “Future of Ypsilanti” community town hall at
the Riverside Arts Center (76 N. Huron) on Monday, January 8, 2018, 7-9pm. Residents of all ages are
invited to attend. The town hall will provide community members an opportunity to discuss what they
want to see in a Community Benefits Ordinance (CBO) now being developed for Ypsilanti City Council.
The year 2017 witnessed a range of community organizing and ferment around how Ypsilanti engages in
development. “The Future of Ypsilanti” event follows up on a well-attended town hall that
Councilmember Richardson hosted in the fall one week after the Ypsilanti City Council approved a
purchase agreement for the publicly owned Water Street land with International Village
LLC. Richardson has been the most outspoken proponent on council of equitable development with
greater community input. In November, the Assistant Ypsilanti City Attorney Dan DuChene presented
the city council with a memo outlying possibilities for a local Community Benefits Ordinance (CBO)
modelled after Detroit. That ordinance may have its first official reading to Ypsilanti City Council
soon. “The problem is that in 2016 Detroit voters had to choose between two competing Community
Benefits Ordinances that were on the ballot”, explains David Reynolds. “Which of these the Ypsilanti City
Council uses as a model will fundamentally determine whether a local ordinance gives the community a
genuine voice in city development or simply the appearance of consultation with no real change in how
public development works.” David Reynolds is a board member of Doing Development Differently in
Metro Detroit and a Ypsilanti resident.
“If the city council is going to move forward with an ordinance to supposedly give the community a
greater voice in local development decisions, then the process of gathering that input should play a
central role in developing the language and power behind the ordinance”, argues Desiraé Simmons, a
Ypsilanti Resident and one of the organizers of the January 8th event. “The town hall will provide an
opportunity for community members to discuss what they want to see in an ordinance and to begin to
form a broad-based coalition to advocate for democratic development.” Monday’s event will feature a
brief presentation by Detroit CBO leaders followed by participatory small group conversations on
building an inclusive coalition, addressing key issues around affordability and community needs, and
The results of the town hall will be presented to the city council the following evening.
About Rising for Economic Democracy in Ypsi (REDY)
REDY is a new coalition sprouted to gather the perspectives of Ypsilanti residents and advocate for
greater community input into a variety of issues related to equitable inclusive city economics.