Ypsilanti City Council discussed street closures for local businesses and concerns about the recent increase in gun violence during the Feb. 2 meeting.
In 2020, the city of Ypsilanti closed streets in prominent areas of the city for businesses to use during the pandemic. This allowed for restaurants to adopt outdoor dining and for retailers to sell their goods outside in order to comply with guidelines from the state of Michigan, as well as to provide safer ways for customers to continue shopping and eating locally.
Christopher Jacobs, Community Development Manager of Ypsilanti, explained to the City Council that they needed an updated resolution from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) in order for businesses to use the streets again, this year.
“Part of what helped us succeed last year were the street closures. Businesses are largely weathering the storm and persevering. Many of them report that the street closures really helped them survive, and it’s really helped us reestablish the outdoor spaces as a safe alternative for those entertainment parts of what’s made our economy vibrant and special,“ Jacobs said.
Ypsilanti City Council voted unanimously to continue street closures for small local businesses in 2021.
Also during the meeting, the City Council discussed the recent increase in gun violence at the newly built New Parkridge housing development.
Ypsilanti Mayor Lois Allen-Richardson was among those who expressed great concern over this increase in gun violence.
“Many of the apartments [at New Parkridge] are full of bullet holes where people have been shooting. I don’t have an answer, but I do know that we have got to find an answer,“ Allen-Richardson said.
The City Council, as well as Ypsilanti Chief of Police Tony DeGuisti, discussed several solutions to the problem; including reducing the availability of guns on the street and establishing a greater dialogue between the community and law enforcement.
Mayor Allen-Richardson plans on holding a special meeting to further discuss solutions to the increase in gun violence, in Ypsilanti.