Street Questionsby Eddie Zhou, Brian Geiringer, and Aaron Apsey
On October 4th, we hit the streets to talk to a few Ypsilanti residents.
What do you like about your neighborhood?
Brad: When I grew up, [Ypsilanti] was a small city; all of it was my neighborhood. I grew up here on the South Side. Things sporadically changed…I played on the other side of town, which is north of the tracks in the old Boy’s Club area. I went to school here: the Perry school. I kinda fell in love with the whole place; it all became mine. I’m not sure if everybody felt like that, but I had friends in all parts of the town; I had people helping me in all parts of the town, kids as well as adults. Went to school at University of Michigan, then came back to Ypsi to try to keep some of that going… the good stuff.
Austin: That’s a good question. I didn’t grow up here, but I like this area because of places like [Prospect Park]. We were lucky enough to have a lot of people who participated and helped us build this place, and city council was cool with us building this place [referring to the skate park that was constructed by volunteers]. I grew up in Ann Arbor and they push away culture, as they do. We have an actual community. It’s actually people interacting. People who build and grow and do things together.
Emerson: I like that my neighbors and I get along: that we have good rapport. I’m in ward 1; I’m downtown and it’s taken us a while to get to know each other… a few years I’d say. There’s lots of things that I can walk to. I feel safe bringing my kids to the park, walking around, y’know, at night, for the most part. I think Ypsi has a lot of positive free events that I feel like I can invite others to to help get them connected… that I feel like queer ppl are safe at… people of color are safe at.
Josh: It’s quiet. It’s a lot more quiet than where I was living at on the west side of Detroit.
Hannah, Jenna, Sarah, Zee, and Lily: I like how close it is to Depot Town, and all the shops and stuff that are down there. / I love that there are so many places to eat… especially coffee. / I love all of my neighbors. They’re really great. / I love that everyone’s just so friendly and nice. / I love everything… I do. I love where it’s situated in town because I feel like we’re close to everything and can always be in tune with what’s going on.
Erinn: I like that it’s quiet; I live in West Willow. I’m raising twins and I don’t want a lot of noise and a lot of stuff going on.
How could local government better serve your interests?
Brad: As a citizen… [they could] come out and take a look at what the city is actually doing, and find out what communities are doing. For instance, if you’re doing this [gesturing to the interviewers] in your area, let’s see if local government can help bring that together with the other parts of the city.
Austin: That’s hard. They can do everything. More involvement, and making themselves present. If you run for city council you have to put on a face, but you don’t seem to go out of your way to do things outside of that. If I was a city council member, I would go out of my way to make myself known…City council doesn’t seem to come to you, you have to go to them.
Emerson: I feel that my needs are sufficiently served personally. I’d really love to see more done to address rising rent costs—the affordable housing issue—which has been a hot topic in our town for several years. I was talking to a realtor about the number of applications that have been turned down for private landlords to come in and build… meanwhile bigger corporations are being approved, like a Beal or whoever. If a smaller landlord comes in and wants to offer affordable housing they’re being denied. [I don’t think] there has been a single family home built in our city for several years now. People want to do something and come in with a plan for a four-bedroom unit, $500 or less for a room, and the city says they want it to be a single family home.
Josh: By policing the police. I’ve had police bother me on several different occasions and all I do is work and go home.
Hannah, Jenna, Sarah, Zee, and Lily: Provide more opportunities for students to get engaged in the community in Ypsi. I feel like we can sometimes be a little bit isolated on campus and we don’t really get to be involved out in the community/ If there are any government-related events going on in Ypsi maybe having an informational thing going on on campus to get the students engaged/ I’d really like to see Ypsi get better at recycling and going more green.
Erinn: As a mom and a student… more safety patrol. Maybe support groups. Also being transparent; I got shot about four weeks ago. Maybe support for gun violence; as a twin mom that would be an awesome thing.
What are you going to be for Halloween?
Brad: I’m gonna be all over the place. [Brad is the Director of Public Services in Ypsilanti.] Only reason I say that is Halloween for us is always a big deal. We usually have police and fire departments working with the library… then you have another group that’s called Ypsi Glow. For the last four years the blend has been pretty good; we would block the streets on the South Side, and police would help people transition to the north side by Ypsi Glow’s activities. Everybody wants to glow in the dark. Last four years that’s been a very good transition: good for the citizens, the kids. Just give people a chance to look around, and the stuff [Ypsi Glow] does with the kids in the evening is fantastic.
Austin: I don’t know, but I don’t want to be a person. People say I look like Jimi Hendrix; I’m not just gonna go get a bandana and be Jimi Hendrix. Me and my coworker told each other we might just go as each other, though…That’s the hardest question.
Emerson: Nothing. I’m going to work and I’m letting my kid go out with his step-siblings. I think he’s gonna be a ninja this year. He was last year and he dressed up the dog like a sushi roll. It was pretty adorable; the sushi costume had a little tail fin on it.
Josh: I’m gonna let my kids decide.
Hannah, Jenna, Sarah, Zee, and Lily: I have a bedsheet that I cut holes in so I’m just gonna be a ghost. / I’m gonna be The Doctor from Dr. Who. / It’s a work in progress. / I might just wear some 80’s style clothing and say I’m from Stranger Things. / *holds up a pumpkin*
Erinn: Tired. I was thinking about having my twins be Moana and Maui. They’re a boy and a girl… it kinda works. They were too young last year to do it.