Ann Arbor is overrated has recently posted a comment about an article in the Business Direct Weekly where it was reported the South University Merchants Association has applied for the city to change the zoning for the area to increase density in order to achieve “greater diversity along the street.” I support the move to increase density, but I don’t buy their “diversity” argument. I thought this comment, posted by Boris (one of the webmasters of the site Sovok of the Week), was right on:

“The South U Merchants Association is being disingenuous, to put it nicely. In plainer speak, they’re lying.

The SUMA members claim that they want a more “inclusive” and “university-friendly” atmosphere that’s not just entirely awful, horrible undergrads (whose manners they may despise, but whose money builds their mansions).

Except they already have a pretty inclusive clientele base. Walk into the Brown Jug on any weekday late afternoon/evening (esp. Friday) and there will be lots of UM staff, maintenance crew, guys from the Life Center construction project, etc. all eating and drinking and spending their hard-earned money. You can barely get a table at Saigon Garden during the week, b/c there are so many UM staff and faculty there (esp. from the Social work building, school of ed., etc.). You could go on and on. People from all over town make special trips to Village Corner to buy wine. The Korean restaurants, Charlie’s, and Rendezvous — all these places bring in diverse crowds too (during the day at least).

The SUMA members claim they want “inclusiveness” and “diversity” but they already have it. What they really want is to gentrify one of the few remaining parts of town where local resident, undergrads, grad students, staff, and faculty all frequent, jack up the prices and force out “undesirables” like students and (gasp!) UM staff and facilities employees, and turn the whole strip into some bo-bo wasteland stuffed with candle shops and crap art on a stick. You know, just like State St., Liberty, Main St., etc etc etc.”

Author: Rob