Ann Arbor, Michigan
City of Ann Arbor
—  City  —
City downtown at sunset
Nickname(s): A2 ("A" Squared), A2 ("A"-two), Tree Town, Ace Deuce
Ann Arbor is located in the eastern center of Washtenaw County in southeast region of the State of Michigan
Location of Ann Arbor within Washtenaw County, Michigan.
City of Ann Arbor is located in Michigan
City of Ann Arbor
Location of Ann Arbor within Washtenaw County, Michigan.
Coordinates: 42°16′53″N 83°44′54″W / 42.28139°N 83.74833°W / 42.28139; -83.74833Coordinates: 42°16′53″N 83°44′54″W / 42.28139°N 83.74833°W / 42.28139; -83.74833
Country United States
State Michigan
County Washtenaw
Government
 – Type Council-Manager
 – Mayor John Hieftje
 – City Administrator Roger Fraser
Area
 – City 27.7 sq mi (71.7 km2)
 – Land 27.0 sq mi (70.0 km2)
 – Water 0.7 sq mi (1.7 km2)
Elevation 840 ft (256 m)
Population (2010)
 – City 113,934
 – Density 4,219.8/sq mi (1,627.6/km2)
 – Urban 283,904
 – Metro 344,791
 – Demonym Ann Arborite
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 – Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Area code(s) 734
FIPS code 26-03000[1]
GNIS feature ID 0620133[1]
Website http://www.a2gov.org/

Ann Arbor is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of Washtenaw County. The 2010 census places the population at 113,934, making it the sixth largest city in Michigan.[2] The Ann Arbor Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) had a population of 344,791 as of 2010. The city is also part of the larger Detroit – Ann Arbor – Flint, MI CSA.

Ann Arbor was founded in 1824, with one theory stating that it is named after the spouses of the city's founders and for the stands of trees in the area.[3] The University of Michigan moved from Detroit to Ann Arbor in 1837, and the city showed steady growth throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, with a decline during the Depression of 1873. During the 1960s and 1970s, the city gained a reputation as an important center for liberal politics. Ann Arbor also became a focal-point for left-wing activism and served as a hub for the civil-rights movement and anti-Vietnam War movement, as well as the student movement.

Today, Ann Arbor is home to the University of Michigan, which is the dominant institution of higher learning in the city. The university shapes Ann Arbor's economy significantly as it employs about 30,000 workers, including about 12,000 in the medical center. The city's economy is also centered on high technology, with several companies drawn to the area by the university's research and development money, and by its graduates.[4] Ann Arbor has increasingly found itself grappling with the effects of sharply rising land values and gentrification, as well as urban sprawl stretching far into the outlying countryside.[5]

Contents

History

Ann Arbor was founded in 1824 by land speculators John Allen and Elisha Rumsey. On May 25, 1824, the town plat was registered with Wayne County as "Annsarbour"; this represents the earliest known use of the town's name.[6] There are various accounts concerning the origin of the settlement's name; one states that Allen and Rumsey decided to name it for their wives, both named Ann, and for the stands of burr oak in the 640 acres (260 ha) of land they purchased for $800 from the federal government at $1.25 per acre.[3] Regional Michigan Ojibwa named the settlement kaw-goosh-kaw-nick, after the sound of Allen's sawmill.[7]

Aerial view of a city downtown, showing the Michigan Theater and a Borders in the foreground, and several buildings amongst trees in the background
A view of Ann Arbor toward Liberty and State Streets, showing the Michigan Theater, the Borders bookstore No.1, and several buildings of the University of Michigan

Ann Arbor became the seat of Washtenaw County in 1827,[8] and was incorporated as a village in 1833.[9] The Ann Arbor Land Company, a group of speculators, set aside 40 acres (16 ha) of undeveloped land and offered it to the state of Michigan as the site of the state capital, but lost the bid to Lansing. In 1837, the property was accepted instead as the site of the University of Michigan, which moved from Detroit.[10]

Since the university's establishment in the city in 1837, the history of both the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor are closely linked.[11] The town became a regional transportation hub in 1839 with the arrival of the Michigan Central Railroad, and a north—south railway connecting Ann Arbor to Toledo and other markets to the south was established in 1878.[12] Throughout 1840s and the 1850s settlers continued to come to Ann Arbor. While the earlier settlers were primarily of British ancestry, the newer settlers also consisted of Germans, Irish,[13] and African-Americans.[14] In 1851, Ann Arbor was chartered as a city,[15] though the city showed a drop in population during the Depression of 1873.[12] It was not until the early 1880s that Ann Arbor again saw robust growth,[16] with new immigrants coming from Greece, Italy, Russia, and Poland. Ann Arbor saw increased growth in manufacturing, particularly in milling.[17] Ann Arbor's Jewish community also grew after the turn of the 20th century, and its first and oldest synagogue, Beth Israel Congregation, was established in 1916.[18]

Tree-lined city street, with an apartment tower with columns of windows at the far-end of the street
South University Avenue caters to young people.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the city gained a reputation as an important center for liberal politics. Ann Arbor also became a locus for left-wing activism and served as a hub for the civil-rights movement and anti-Vietnam War movement, as well as the student movement. The first major meetings of the national left-wing campus group Students for a Democratic Society took place in Ann Arbor in 1960; in 1965, the city was home to the first U.S. teach-in against the Vietnam War.[19] During the ensuing 15 years, many countercultural and New Left enterprises sprang up and developed large constituencies within the city.[18] These influences washed into municipal politics during the early and mid-1970s when three members of the Human Rights Party (HRP) won city council seats on the strength of the student vote. During their time on the council, HRP representatives fought for measures including pioneering antidiscrimination ordinances, measures decriminalizing marijuana possession, and a rent-control ordinance;[20] many of these remain in effect in modified form. Alongside these liberal and left-wing efforts, a small group of conservative institutions were born in Ann Arbor. These include Word of God (established in 1967), a charismatic inter-denominational movement;[18] and the Thomas More Law Center (established in 1999), a religious-conservative advocacy group.[21]

Following a 1956 vote the city of East Ann Arbor merged with Ann Arbor to encompass the eastern sections of the city.[22]

In the past several decades, Ann Arbor has grappled with the effects of sharply rising land values, gentrification, and urban sprawl stretching into outlying countryside. On November 4, 2003, voters approved a greenbelt plan under which the city government bought development rights to pieces of land adjacent to Ann Arbor to preserve them from sprawling development.[5] Since then, a vociferous local debate has hinged on how and whether to accommodate and guide development within city limits.[23] Ann Arbor consistently ranks in the "top places to live" lists published by various mainstream media outlets every year. In 2008, it was ranked 27th out of 100 "America's best small cities."[24]

Geography and cityscape

The Huron river runs through Ann Arbor

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 27.7 square miles (72 km2); 27.0 square miles (70 km2) is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) or 2.43% is water, much of which is part of the Huron River. Ann Arbor is about 35 miles (56 km) west of Detroit. Ann Arbor Charter Township adjoins the city's north and east sides. Ann Arbor is situated on the Huron River in a productive agricultural and fruit-growing region.[25] The landscape of Ann Arbor consists of hills and valleys, with the terrain becoming steeper near the Huron River. The elevation ranges from about 750 feet (230 m) along the Huron River to over 1,000 feet (300 m) on the city's west side, near I-94.[26] Generally, the west-central and northwestern parts of the city and UM's North Campus are the highest parts of the city; the lowest parts are along the Huron River and in the southeast. Ann Arbor Municipal Airport, which is south of the city at 42°13.38′N 83°44.74′W / 42.223°N 83.74567°W / 42.223; -83.74567, has an elevation of 839 feet (256 m).[27]

Ann Arbor's "Tree Town" nickname stems from the dense forestation of its parks and residential areas. The city contains more than 50,000 trees along its streets and an equal number in parks.[28] In recent years, the emerald ash borer has destroyed many of the city's approximately 10,500 ash trees.[29] The city contains 157 municipal parks ranging from small neighborhood green spots to large recreation areas. Several large city parks and a university park border sections of the Huron River.[30] Fuller Recreation Area, near the University Hospital complex, contains sports fields, pedestrian and bike paths, and swimming pools. Nichols Arboretum, operated by the University of Michigan, is a 123-acre (50 ha) preserve that contains hundreds of plant and tree species. It is on the city's east side, near the university's central campus.[31]

Night time in downtown, with buildings lit by street lamps
Washington Street, towards Main Street

The Kerrytown Shops, Main Street Business District, the State Street Business District, and the South University Business District are commercial areas in downtown Ann Arbor. Three commercial areas south of downtown include the areas near I-94 and Ann Arbor-Saline Road, Briarwood Mall, and the South Industrial area. Other commercial areas include the Arborland/Washtenaw Avenue and Packard Road merchants on the east side, the Plymouth Road area in the northeast, and the Westgate/West Stadium areas on the west side.[32] Downtown contains a mix of 19th- and early-20th-century structures and modern-style buildings, as well as a farmers' market in the Kerrytown district.[33] The city's commercial districts are composed mostly of two- to four-story structures, although downtown and the area near Briarwood Mall contain a small number of high-rise buildings.

Ann Arbor's residential neighborhoods contain architectural styles ranging from classic 19th-century and early-20th-century designs to ranch-style houses. Contemporary-style houses are farther from the downtown district.[32] Surrounding the University of Michigan campus are houses and apartment complexes occupied primarily by student renters. Tower Plaza, a 26-story condominium building located between the University of Michigan campus and downtown, is the tallest building in Ann Arbor.[34] The 19th century buildings and streetscape of the Old West Side neighborhood have been preserved virtually intact; in 1972, the district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it is further protected by city ordinances and a nonprofit preservation group.[35]

City skyline during the day with clear skies
Ann Arbor skyline as seen from Michigan Stadium

Climate

Ann Arbor has a typically Midwestern humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), which is influenced by the Great Lakes. There are four distinct seasons: winters are cold with moderate to heavy snowfall, while summers are very warm and humid; in between, spring and autumn are short but mild. The area experiences lake effect weather, primarily in the form of increased cloudiness during late fall and early winter.[36] The monthly daily average temperature in July is 72.6 °F (22.6 °C), while the same figure for January is 23.4 °F (−4.8 °C); the year averages out at 49.0 °F (9.4 °C). Summer temperatures can exceed 90 °F (32 °C), doing so on 10 days,[37] and winter temperatures can drop well below 0 °F (−18 °C), doing so on 6 nights.[37] Average monthly precipitation ranges from 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm), with the heaviest occurring during the summer months. Snowfall, which normally occurs from November to April, averages 52 inches (132 cm) per season, and the median amount is slightly less, at 45 inches (114 cm).[37] The highest recorded temperature was 105 °F (41 °C) on July 24, 1934, and the lowest recorded temperature was −22 °F (−30 °C) on January 19, 1994.[37]

Climate data for Ann Arbor, Michigan (UMich, 1971−2000)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 30.1
(−1.1)
33.9
(1.1)
45.2
(7.3)
58.0
(14.4)
70.5
(21.4)
79.2
(26.2)
83.0
(28.3)
80.7
(27.1)
73.5
(23.1)
61.1
(16.2)
46.8
(8.2)
34.7
(1.5)
58.1
Average low °F (°C) 16.6
(−8.6)
18.9
(−7.3)
27.0
(−2.8)
37.3
(2.9)
48.3
(9.1)
57.6
(14.2)
62.1
(16.7)
60.7
(15.9)
53.2
(11.8)
42.1
(5.6)
32.4
(0.2)
22.3
(−5.4)
39.9
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.24
(56.9)
2.04
(51.8)
2.78
(70.6)
3.36
(85.3)
2.97
(75.4)
3.38
(85.9)
3.16
(80.3)
3.71
(94.2)
3.38
(85.9)
2.50
(63.5)
2.99
(75.9)
2.84
(72.1)
35.35
(897.9)
Snowfall inches (cm) 13.8
(35.1)
10.3
(26.2)
7.9
(20.1)
2.5
(6.4)
trace 0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
.3
(0.8)
3.8
(9.7)
13.5
(34.3)
52.1
(132.3)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 15.8 12.6 13.7 13.7 12.1 11.1 10.7 10.7 10.6 11.8 13.8 15.9 152.5
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 13.9 10.1 7.7 2.5 0 0 0 0 0 .4 4.7 11.7 51.0
Source: NOAA [37]

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1860 5,097
1870 7,363 44.5%
1880 8,061 9.5%
1890 9,431 17.0%
1900 14,509 53.8%
1910 14,817 2.1%
1920 19,516 31.7%
1930 26,944 38.1%
1940 29,815 10.7%
1950 48,251 61.8%
1960 67,340 39.6%
1970 100,035 48.6%
1980 107,969 7.9%
1990 109,592 1.5%
2000 114,024 4.0%
2010 113,934 −0.1%
Sources: Michigan State Census[38] (before 1860)
United States Census[39] (1900–2000)
U.S. Census Bureau[40]

As of the 2010 U.S. Census, there were 113,394 people, 45,634 households, and 21,704 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,270.33 people per square mile (2653.47/km²). There were 49,982 housing units at an average density of 1,748.0 per square mile (675.0/km²), making it less densely populated than inner-ring Detroit suburbs like Oak Park and Ferndale (and than Detroit proper), but more densely populated than outer-ring suburbs like Livonia or Troy. The racial makeup of the city was 73.0% White (70.4% non-Hispanic White), 7.7% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 14.4% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 1.0% from other races, and 3.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.1% of the population.

In 2010 89.6% of the population was in a total of 47,060 households. The remaining 10.4% of the population primarily lived in university dorms.

As of 2000 the ancestry reports collected by the US census showed that in Ann Arbor 14.9% were of German, 8.5% English and 7.9% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000. 79.2% spoke only English at home, while 3.2% spoke Chinese or Mandarin, 3.1% Spanish, 1.9% Korean, 1.2% German, 1.1% Japanese and 1.0% French. Because of the pull of the university, the city has one of the highest foreign-born populations in the state, at 17.4%.[41]

In 2000 Out of the 45,693 households, 23.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.8% were married couples living together, 7.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 52.5% were nonfamilies. 35.5% of households were made up of individuals and 6.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.90. The age distribution was 16.8% under 18, 26.8% from 18 to 24, 31.2% from 25 to 44, 17.3% from 45 to 64, and 7.9% were 65 or older. The median age was 28 years. For every 100 females there were 97.7 males; while for every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.4 males.[41]

The median income for a household in the city was $46,299, and the median income for a family was $71,293 (these figures had risen to $51,232 and $82,293 respectively as of a 2007 estimate).[42] Males had a median income of $48,880 versus $36,561 for females. The per capita income for the city was $26,419. About 4.6% of families and 16.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.3% of those under age 18 and 5.1% of those age 65 or over.[41]

Ann Arbor's crime rate was below the national average in 2000. The violent crime rate was further below the national average than the property crime rate; the two rates were 48% and 11% lower than the U.S. average, respectively.[43][44]

Economy

The University of Michigan shapes Ann Arbor's economy significantly. It employs about 30,000 workers, including about 12,000 in the medical center.[45] Other employers are drawn to the area by the university's research and development money, and by its graduates. High tech, health services and biotechnology are other major components of the city's economy; numerous medical offices, laboratories, and associated companies are located in the city. Automobile manufacturers, such as General Motors and Visteon, also employ residents.[45]

Atrium of a shopping arcade, with green and yellow banners hanging overhead with the words "Nickels Arcade"
Nickels Arcade interior, looking towards the east

High tech companies have located in the area since the 1930s, when International Radio Corporation introduced the first mass-produced AC/DC radio (the Kadette, in 1931) as well as the first pocket radio (the Kadette Jr., in 1933).[46] The Argus camera company, originally a subsidiary International Radio, manufactured cameras in Ann Arbor from 1936 to the 1960s. Current firms include Arbor Networks (provider of Internet traffic engineering and security systems), Arbortext (provider of XML-based publishing software), JSTOR (the digital scholarly journal archive), MediaSpan (provider of software and online services for the media industries), and ProQuest, which includes UMI.[47] Ann Arbor Terminals manufactured a video-display terminal called the Ann Arbor Ambassador during the 1980s.[48]

Websites and online media companies in or near the city include All Media Guide, the Weather Underground, and Zattoo. Ann Arbor is the home to Internet2 and the Merit Network, a not-for-profit research and education computer network. Both are located in the South State Commons 2 building on South State Street, which once housed the Michigan Information Technology Center Foundation.[49] The city is also home to the headquarters of Google's AdWords program—the company's primary revenue stream.[50]

Pfizer, once the city's second largest employer, operated a large pharmaceutical research facility on the northeast side of Ann Arbor. On January 22, 2007, Pfizer announced it would close operations in Ann Arbor by the end of 2008.[51] The facility was previously operated by Warner-Lambert and, before that, Parke-Davis. In December 2008, the University of Michigan Board of Regents approved the purchase of the facilities, and the university anticipates hiring 2,000 researchers and staff during the next 10 years.[52] The city is the home of other research and engineering centers, including those of Lotus Engineering, General Dynamics and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Other research centers sited in the city are the United States Environmental Protection Agency's National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory[53] and the Toyota Technical Center.[54] The city is also home to National Sanitation Foundation International, AKA: NSF International, the nonprofit non-governmental organization that develops generally accepted standards for a variety of public health related industries and subject areas.[55]

Tower with blue glass facade and white concrete sides, and a framed communication mast at the top
Tower Plaza, Ann Arbor's tallest building

Borders Books, started in Ann Arbor, was opened by brothers Tom and Louis Borders in 1971 with a stock of used books. The Borders chain was based in the city, as was its flagship store until it closed in September 2011.[56] Domino's Pizza's headquarters is near Ann Arbor on Domino's Farms, a 271 acres (110 ha) Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired complex just northeast of the city.[57] Another Ann Arbor-based company is Zingerman's Delicatessen, which serves sandwiches, and has developed businesses under a variety of brand names. Zingerman's has grown into a family of companies which offers a variety of products (bake shop, mail order, creamery, coffee) and services (business education).[58] Flint Ink Corp., another Ann Arbor-based company, was the world's largest privately held ink manufacturer until it was acquired by Stuttgart-based XSYS Print Solutions in October 2005.[59] AvFuel, a nationwide supplier of aviation fuels and services, is also headquartered in Ann Arbor.[60]

Many cooperative enterprises were founded in the city; among those that remain are the People's Food Co-op and the Inter-Cooperative Council at the University of Michigan, a student-housing cooperative founded in 1937.[61] The North American Students of Cooperation (NASCO) is an international association of cooperatives headquartered in Ann Arbor. There are also three cohousing communities—Sunward, Great Oak, and Touchstone—located immediately to the west of the city limits.[62]

Culture

Many Ann Arbor cultural attractions and events are sponsored by the University of Michigan. Several performing arts groups and facilities are on the university's campus, as are museums dedicated to art, archaeology, and natural history and sciences. Founded in 1879, the University Musical Society is an independent performing arts organization that presents over 60 events each year, bringing international artists in music, dance, and theater. Regional and local performing arts groups not associated with the university include the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre, the Arbor Opera Theater, the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra, the Ann Arbor Ballet Theater, the Ann Arbor Civic Ballet (established in 1954 as Michigan's first chartered ballet company),[63] The Ark, and Performance Network Theatre, which operates a downtown theater and frequently offers new or nontraditional plays.[64] Another unique piece of artistic expression in Ann Arbor is the fairy doors. These small portals are examples of installation art and can be found throughout the downtown area.

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, located in a renovated and expanded historic downtown fire station, contains more than 250 interactive exhibits featuring science and technology. Multiple art galleries exist in the city, notably in the downtown area and around the University of Michigan campus. Aside from a large restaurant scene in the Main Street, South State Street, and South University Avenue areas, Ann Arbor ranks first among U.S. cities in the number of booksellers and books sold per capita.[65] The Ann Arbor District Library maintains four branch outlets in addition to its main downtown building. The city is also home to the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library.[66]

Several annual events—many of them centered on performing and visual arts—draw visitors to Ann Arbor. One such event is the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, a set of four concurrent juried fairs held on downtown streets, which began in 1960. Scheduled on Wednesday through Saturday in the third week of July, the fairs draw upward of half a million visitors.[67] Another is the Ann Arbor Film Festival, held during the third week of March, which receives more than 2,500 submissions annually from more than 40 countries and serves as one of a handful of Academy Award–qualifying festivals in the United States.[68] One event that is not related to visual and performing arts is Hash Bash, held on the first Saturday of April, ostensibly in support of the reform of marijuana laws. Until (at least) the successful passage of Michigan's medical marijuana law, the event had arguably strayed from its initial intent, although for years, a number of attendees have received serious legal responses due to marijuana use on University of Michigan property, which does not fall under the City's progressive and compassionate ticketing program.

University of Michigan Stadium

Ann Arbor has a major scene for college sports, notably at the University of Michigan, a member of the Big Ten Conference. Several well-known college sports facilities exist in the city, including Michigan Stadium, the largest American football stadium in the world[69] with a 109,901 seating capacity. The stadium is colloquially known as "The Big House."[70] Crisler Arena and Yost Ice Arena play host to the school's basketball and ice hockey teams, respectively.[71] Concordia University, a member of the NAIA, also fields sports teams.[72]

For a period during the latter 1960s, the Ann Arbor vicinity acquired a greater recognition globally among certain fans of rock music, as the area included a number of popular groups which originated in Ann Arbor, were frequent visitors of Ann Arbor, or settled in the city or surrounding area. Among these were Detroit transplants MC5, as well as The Stooges, SRC, The Up, The Rationals and others. This trend continued with later groups such as The Cult Heroes, although the residual influences of the 1960s trendsetters are still evident in the city today.

A person from Ann Arbor is called an "Ann Arborite", and many long-time residents call themselves "townies". The city itself is often called ("A-squared") or A2 ("A two"), "The Deuce", "Ace Deuce" and, less commonly, Tree Town.[73] With tongue-in-cheek reference to the city's liberal political leanings, some occasionally refer to Ann Arbor as The People's Republic of Ann Arbor[74] or 25 square miles surrounded by reality,[75] the latter phrase being adapted from Wisconsin Governor Lee Dreyfus's description of Madison, Wisconsin. In A Prairie Home Companion broadcast from Ann Arbor, Garrison Keillor described Ann Arbor as "a city where people discuss socialism, but only in the fanciest restaurants." Ann Arbor sometimes appears on citation indexes as an author, instead of a location, often with the academic degree MI, a misunderstanding of the abbreviation for Michigan.[76]

Media

A painted hydrant with vertical stripes of multiple colors
One of 39 downtown fire hydrants painted by students. This hydrant's artist was in elementary school; others were in high school or college.[77]

The Ann Arbor News, owned by the Michigan-based Booth Newspapers chain, was the major daily newspaper serving Ann Arbor and the rest of Washtenaw County. The newspaper ended its 174-year print run on July 23, 2009, due to economic difficulties. It has been replaced by AnnArbor.com, which has a bi-weekly print operation in addition to its website.[78] Another Ann Arbor-based publication that has ceased production was the Ann Arbor Paper, a free monthly.[79] Currently-established publications in the city include the A2 Journal, a weekly newspaper that features local news, opinion, features and sports; Ann Arbor Observer, a monthly magazine with features covering local culture, politics, family life, business and history, as well as a comprehensive calendar of events; Current, an entertainment guide; and the Communicator, a local high school paper. The University of Michigan campus area is served by many student publications, including the independent Michigan Daily. The Ann Arbor Business Review covers local business in the area. The Ann Arbor Chronicle is an online newspaper that covers local news, including meetings of the library board, county commission, and DDA.[80] Car and Driver[81] magazine and Automobile Magazine[82] are also based in Ann Arbor.

Four major AM radio stations based in or near Ann Arbor are WAAM 1600, a conservative news and talk station; WLBY 1290, a business news and talk station; WDEO 990, Catholic radio; and WTKA 1050, which is primarily a sports station.[83] The city's FM stations include NPR affiliate WUOM 91.7; country station WWWW 102.9 and adult-alternative station WQKL 107.1. Freeform station WCBN-FM 88.3 is a local community radio station operated by the students of the University of Michigan featuring noncommercial, eclectic music and public-affairs programming.[83] The city is also served by public and commercial radio broadcasters in Ypsilanti, the Lansing/Jackson area, Detroit, Windsor, and Toledo.

WPXD channel 31, an affiliate of the ION Television network, is licensed to the city. Community Television Network (CTN) is a city-provided cable television channel with production facilities open to city residents and nonprofit organizations.[84] Detroit and Toledo-area radio and television stations also serve Ann Arbor, and stations from Lansing and Windsor, Ontario, can be heard in parts of the area.

Law and government

A modern white building with about 5 stories, with a brick center tower
The Guy C. Larcom, Jr. Municipal Building housed the city hall and police station. It is in the process of major renovations, including a new adjacent and connected structure that will become the new face of city hall.

Ann Arbor has a council-manager form of government. The mayor, who is elected every even-numbered year, is the presiding officer of the City Council and has the power to appoint all Council committee members as well as board and commission members, with the approval of the City Council. The mayor of Ann Arbor is John Hieftje (Democrat), who has served in that capacity since the 2000 election. The city council has eleven voting members, two from each of the city's five wards, and the mayor. Council members serve two-year terms; half the council is elected in annual elections.[85] City operations are managed by the City Administrator, who is chosen by the city council.[86]

Ann Arbor is in the 15th Congressional district, and is represented by Representative John Dingell (Democrat). On the state level, the city is in the 18th district in the Michigan Senate. In the Michigan State House of Representatives, the city of Ann Arbor is in the 53rd district, while northeastern Ann Arbor and Ann Arbor Township are in the 52nd district.[87]

As the seat of Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor is the site of the Probate, Family and Circuit (civil and criminal) courts with pan-county jurisdiction; and of the District Court for the 15th District, which has limited jurisdiction within the City of Ann Arbor only. The 14-A District court, in the nearby City of Ypsilanti, has limited jurisdiction over matters that arise in the rest of Washtenaw County, except for the Charter Township of Ypsilanti (which is served by its own District 14-B court). Ann Arbor is also the site of a United States district court for the Eastern District of Michigan courthouse.[88]

Politics

Left-wing politics have been particularly strong in municipal government since the 1960s. Voters approved charter amendments that have lessened the penalties for possession of marijuana (1974),[89] and that aim to protect access to abortion in the city should it ever become illegal in the State of Michigan (1990).[90] In 1974, Kathy Kozachenko's victory in an Ann Arbor city-council race made her the country's first openly homosexual candidate to win public office.[91] In 1975, Ann Arbor became the first U.S. city to use instant-runoff voting for a mayoral race. Adopted through a ballot initiative sponsored by the local Human Rights Party, which feared a splintering of the liberal vote, the process was repealed in 1976 after use in only one election.[92] As of August 2009, Democrats hold the mayorship and all council seats.[93] The left tilt of politics in the city have earned it the nickname "The People's Republic of Ann Arbor".[94]

Education

Higher education

University of Michigan Law School

The University of Michigan is the dominant institution of higher learning in Ann Arbor, providing the city with a distinct college-town atmosphere.[95] Other local colleges and universities include Concordia University, Ann Arbor, a Lutheran liberal-arts institution, a campus of the University of Phoenix, and Cleary University, a private business school. Washtenaw Community College is located in neighboring Ann Arbor Township. Ann Arbor was once home to Ave Maria School of Law, a Roman Catholic law school established by Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan. Opened in northeastern Ann Arbor in 2000, the law school moved to southwest Florida in 2009.[96] Thomas M. Cooley Law School has acquired the law school buildings for a branch campus.

Primary and secondary education

The Ann Arbor Public School District handles local public education. The system — which enrolls 16,539 students (September 2008 head count) — consists of 21 elementary schools, five middle schools, (Forsythe, Slauson, Tappan, Scarlett, and Clague) three traditional high schools (Pioneer, Huron, and Skyline), and three alternative high schools (Community High, Stone School, and Roberto Clemente).[97] The district also operates a K-8 open school program,[98] Ann Arbor Open School, out of the former Mack School. This program is open to all families who live within the district. Ann Arbor Public Schools also operates a preschool and family center, with programs for at-risk infants and at-risk children before kindergarten. The district has a preschool center with both free and tuition-based programs for preschoolers in the district.[99]

Ann Arbor is home to more than 20 private schools,[100] including the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor, St. Paul Lutheran School, Clonlara School and Greenhills School, a prep school near Concordia University. The city is also home to several charter schools. One such school is Washtenaw Technical Middle College, a school where students earn an associate's degree at Washtenaw Community College and a high school diploma at the same time.[101]

Health and utilities

The University of Michigan Medical Center, the preeminent health facility in the city, took the No.14 slot in U.S. News and World Report for best hospitals in the U.S., as of August 2009.[102] The University of Michigan Health System (UMHS) includes University Hospital, C.S. Mott Children's Hospital and Women's Hospital in its core complex. UMHS also operates out-patient clinics and facilities throughout the city. The area's other major medical centers include a large facility operated by the Department of Veterans Affairs in Ann Arbor,[103] and Saint Joseph Mercy Hospital in nearby Superior Township.[104]

The city provides sewage disposal and water supply services, with water coming from the Huron River and groundwater sources. There are two water-treatment plants, one main and three outlying reservoirs, four pump stations, and two water towers. These facilities serve the city, which is divided into five water districts. The city's water department also operates four dams along the Huron River, two of which provide hydroelectric power.[105] The city also offers waste management services, with Recycle Ann Arbor's handling recycling service.[106] Other utilities are provided by private entities. Electrical power and gas are provided by DTE Energy. AT&T, the successor to Michigan Bell, Ameritech, and SBC Communications, is the primary wired telephone service provider for the area. Cable TV service is primarily provided by Comcast.[107]

Transportation

Surface roads and paths

The city is belted by three freeways: I-94, which runs along the southern portion of the city; US 23, which primarily runs along the eastern edge of Ann Arbor; and M-14, which runs along the northern edge of the city.[108] Other nearby highways include US 12, M-17, and M-153.

The streets in downtown Ann Arbor conform to a grid pattern, though this pattern is less common in the surrounding areas. Major roads branch out from the downtown district like spokes on a wheel to the highways surrounding the city. Several of the major surface arteries lead to the I-94/M-14 juncture in the west, US 23 in the east, and the city's southern areas.[109] The city also has a system of bike routes and paths[110] and includes the nearly complete Washtenaw County Border-to-Border_Trail.[111]

Bus service

A white low-floor city bus on an empty city street
An AATA bus, with the blue-roofed Blake Transit Center in the background.

The Ann Arbor Transportation Authority (AATA), which brands itself as "The Ride", operates public bus services throughout Ann Arbor and nearby Ypsilanti. AATA has recently introduced hybrid electric buses to its fleet of 69 and is the first public transit operator in the Midwest to state its intention to convert to all hybrid electric buses.[112] A separate zero-fare bus service operates within the University of Michigan campuses, and the AATA ran a free Link Bus connecting central campus and downtown during the U-M school year until August 20, 2009.[113][114][115]

A downtown bus depot served by Greyhound Lines provides out-of-town bus service, and is the city's only remaining example of the Streamline Moderne architectural style.[116] Megabus has twice daily direct service to Chicago, Illinois, while a bus service provided by Amtrak connects to East Lansing and Toledo, Ohio, though only for rail passengers making connections. The Michigan Flyer, a service operated by Indian Trails, offers bus service to Detroit Metro Airport, Jackson, and East Lansing.[117]

Special bus shuttle service to Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport [118] is available for a low fare before and after university breaks. Another service, Michigan Flyer,[119] is available regularly.

Airports

Ann Arbor Municipal Airport is a small, city run general aviation airport located south of I-94. Detroit Metropolitan Airport, the area's large international airport, is about 25 miles (40 km) east of the city, in Romulus.[120] Willow Run Airport east of the city near Ypsilanti serves freight, corporate, and general aviation clients.[121]

Railroads

The city was a major rail hub, notably for freight traffic between Toledo and ports north of Chicago, Illinois, from 1878 to 1982; however, the Ann Arbor Railroad also sold 1.1 million passenger tickets in 1913.[122] The city was also served by the Michigan Central Railroad starting in 1837. Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti Street Railway, Michigan's first interurban, served the city from 1891 to 1929.[123]

Amtrak provides service to Ann Arbor, operating its Wolverine three times daily in each direction between Chicago and Pontiac, via Detroit. Rail service is provided at the Ann Arbor Train Station; the present-day station neighbors the city's old Michigan Central Depot, which was renovated as a restaurant in 1969.

Sister cities

Sister cities sign, S. State St.

Ann Arbor has seven sister cities:[124][125]


See also

References

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