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Why Ann Arbor Town Objected

Why Ann Arbor Town Objected image
Parent Issue
Day
17
Month
April
Year
1891
Copyright
Public Domain
OCR Text

Editor Argus. - To those whom it may concern, allow us to answer through your paper, numerous questions in relation to the annexation of Ánn Arbor town territory to the city of Ann Arbor. In the first place, Ann Arbor township covers but a small territory, for the city has, since 1861, taken out three sections of land. Aside from four bridges across the Huron River, Ann Arbor township is obliged ,to maintain two bridges across Mallett Creek, and several other small bridges and culverts at other points. Now these same bridges are principally used to bring trade to Ann Arbor city. Then in some sections of the town, the highway lead over hills where the township is obliged to assist the road district in keeping the road in good passable condition. On what is known as the Dixboro hills in 1890, $200 was spent in graveling. Grading and repairing these same hills in 1870, cost $300. On another hill on the town line, $500 has been expended. Since 1881 we have expended on cross roads and bridges from $700 to l3,ooo per year, aside from the district road tax. It was proposed by the city charter amendment to take away about one-sixth of our assessable property. (It is fair to say here that a great deal of this said valuation is sonal property for instance, J. M. Wheeler's personal property is assessed at $33,000 real estáte, $7,000.) So it will not be a difficult task to figure out the injury to us. We have always endeavored to live neighborly, and have exerted ourselves to keep up good roads which naturely helps the city in the way of travel. Nearly all of the territory which it had been proposed to take from us is and has been for many years in the city school district, and has paid many thousand dollars into the city treasury for the support of its schools. Another thing, the land taken from us is all farming land, excepting a short distance on the west side Huron street. On that street in traveling a distance of a quarter of a mile six houses will be found which have been built in the past ten years. All told, there are sixteen and a half houses on this street which the city has taken away from us. On the west side of Miller avenue there are only three houses and they have farms connected with them from five to thirty acres each. Going further north we find one house on two acres, one on 20 acres and one on 40 acres. On the highway west of Liberty street in a distance of 80 rods, there are eight houses. One is a tenant house on a farra of over 100 acres, which was proposed to be taken from us. On the south the proposed annexation was farm lands entirely, excepting 8 acres of land laid out for a park. A 40 acre tract had recently been purchased and platted on which the park lies; one new house has been built on the forty acres. On the east, where Baldwin's addition lies, one new house has been built in the past six years, one house has burned down and been rebuilt. [Nearly all the platted land in the proposed annexation was platted twenty years ago and is still used for farming pur poses. Let us look into the city corpor ation and see what has been done for the improvement of land already in. On the west side of the city from the north end of Spring street along Chubb street to the city line there is one solitary house upon the south side of it and on the north side two houses in a distance of half a mile notwithstanding the land is wel adapted for building purposes hig' and dry and a sightly place. A little distance south of this we fine the Gott addition, which was put up at auction, 126 lots, and there is still more unoccupied land in this same addition. We will now go on Wines street, which was laid out four years ago from Liberty to Washington streets, yet it is not passable with horse and buggy, but there are nice building lots with signs up for sale, not sold. On the west, the city wanted the water works reservoirs and its appurtenances which are assessed at $35,000. The city already has an assessment of $50,000 on the water works. The township generously conceding a división of this property upon the assessment roll, which was a neighborly act toward the city, as under the law we had a perfect right to assess the entire plant. About three-fourths of a mile north of the west city line, there were found some beautiful, good springs of water coming out of the surrounding hills. Here a receiving basin and a pumping house was built to pump this water into the reservoir mentioned above. These works the township has assessed at $15,000. Upon the south, within the city limits, before this last annexation was made from the west to the east city line, are farms and wood land ranging from 10 to 70 acre tracks. We. have been told by citizens of Ann Arbor city, that they were opposed to the annexation scheme as it was proposed, because of every dollar's worth of tax they would get, it would cost three. There was, before the annexation was made within the city limits, not including the fair ground or campus, 1860 acres of land for a population of 9,505 inhabitants. Itisestimated there were over $300,000.00 worth of bare land, south of Huron ïver, March 20, 1891. Does not this look as though ïere was sufficient vacant land for ie city to spread out in for a time et. In the course of ten years the city may need this extensión, but at present, it is unnecessary and a great injustice and hardship for the people of the township. In conclusión, we wish to make a few corrections of statements made in the Ann Arbor Courier by Mayor Manly, President Howlett and City Attorney Keainey, when they say the city limits have never been extended since the said city ation. Arm Arbor city was first incorpoated April 4, 1851. In 1861, what s known now as the Fifth ward, was added to the said city. Again they ay the city already maintains three )ridges across the Huron for the benefit of the people who desire to come to town to dispose of their jroducts, that by the extensión they add one more bridge to the city and relieve Ann Arbor town of one. The proposed annexation did not reach any of our four bridges across the Huron, and they never proposed to take any. Again they say the equalization will reduce our taxation. It will on state and county taxes, but it will not reduce our township taxes one farthing. The first proposed territory to be taken from us measured 1040 acres of land. The annexation as made by the state legisture measures now 400 acres of land. In the eighty acres taken iu the west of the city the valuation as assessed is over one-half personal property, which shows clearly that the city simply wants the valuation and not the territory for the growth of the city's welfare. We would say also that it was not the voice of the people of the city. They did not ask for this extensión. They knew they had all the territory needed for the next ten years, but it sprang from the Hamilton Park Co., and the city council thought it would be a good time to add more territory, -more population, more wealth and more salary. They did not ask the people of the city if thty wished this sion. They did not ask the people dí the township if they were willing to come in and help pay the city expenses, but they did ask the legislature to take from the township 1040 acres, nine-tenth of which was farming land. They got 400 acres. We would say in behalf of the people who were taken into the city against their wishes, be good citizens, and try to boom the city. We would say in regard to our representatives from Washtenaw county, after listening to the committee from the city of Ann Arbor, which was composed of three smart men, who labored night and day for their cause, that the representatives decided the question before them without fear or favor to any one, according to their best ability. Ann Arbor Township.