While the majority of students are
praising the University’s decision to build its first new
residence hall in 30 years on the site of the dilapidated Frieze
Building, nearby Ann Arbor residents in the neighborhood commonly
known as the Old Fourth Ward, are less than thrilled at the
University’s choice of location for “North Quad.”
The projected residence hall is slated to open in 2008, offering
500 University students new suite-style rooms with semi-private
bathrooms, a welcome departure from the living environments in the
much older residence halls scattered across campus.

Angela Cesere

Residents and representatives of the Old Fourth Ward, an area
spanning most of the downtown Ann Arbor area north of Huron Street,
have voiced dissenting opinions on the construction of the new
residence hall, arguing it will flood the already crammed historic
district with more student vehicles. For this reason, the Old
Fourth Ward Association is pushing to allow for city-issued
resident parking permits for all streets within the Old Fourth Ward
district. Aside from placing more of a burden on the city to create
a parking-regulation bureaucracy, this move will hamstring students
and other Ann Arbor residents, limiting their abilities to find a
parking space in an area already largely devoid of any parking. It
will also create even more impetus for already aggressive Ann Arbor
city “meter maids” to issue parking citations simply
for parking on residential streets without this exclusive
permit.

This will not be the first time the Old Fourth Ward Association
has petitioned against student interests on campus. During City
Council meetings on July 19 and August 16, an array of Old Fourth
Ward residents spoke to the council in fervent support of an
upholstered furniture ban. The ban would have asserted a $100
penalty for students with sofas or other upholstered furniture on
their front porches because of their supposed capacity to catch
fire more easily than standard outdoor furniture. Thanks to the
lobbying from MSA representatives and additional student activism,
the Old Fourth Ward residents and the couch ban were finally
defeated.

This latest petition by residents of the Old Fourth Ward has
further confirmed the constituency’s reputation for being
anti-University and anti-student, demonstrating that the Old Fourth
Ward sees the student body as nothing more than a group of
irreverent kids that adds nothing to the city or its residential
districts other than a few more vehicles on their streets or sofas
on front porches. The Old Fourth Ward should spend more time
communicating with the students that surround the area instead of
attempting to pass anti-student legislation in the City
Council.

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