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Clock Tower in Depot Town
(Cross Street in the center of Depot Town)

Ann Arbor News - April 4, 1997 - By Susan Vela, News Special Writer: Depot Town Adds Tower Drive Time. Thanks to $46,000 in donations, Depot Town will be graced with a new clock tower this August.

But for the finishing touches, the Depot Town Association still needs another $14,000. That means the fund-raising effort that kicked off last August will continue for at least another month.

The Depot Town Association has set a May 1 deadline for raising the money needed to finance irrigation, landscaping and security posts near the 19-foot clock tower that's proposed for the pedestrian walkway in the middle of Cross Street.

"The next three weeks will be our push time," said Bill French, association chairman. "We'll have a strong indication of whether we've been successful or not. We have a lot of confidence that our cup will be full."

French said the association needs 187 more contributors. Businesses, corporations or individuals willing to donate money for the finishing touches will have their names inscribed in a brick or plaque, which will be placed in the path leading up to and around the clock.

Construction is scheduled to begin in early July and should be done by August 1. But before the first brick can be laid, construction bids need to go out. French said that also should happen within the next three weeks.

The cast iron tower planned for Depot Town is to have four clock faces. The design of the clock will be reminiscent of the late 1800s, when most of Depot Town's buildings went up.

The new clock tower sill provide the city with another landmark, and at the same time, provide a buffer to slow down Cross Street traffic.

"We're fortunate to receive 300,000 visitors (to the area) annually," said French, co-owner of two Depot Town eateries. "Besides the clock's aesthetic value to the community, it (makes) the Depot Town area more pedestrian friendly."

Original plans set a $45,000 price tag for the clock tower and a drinking fountain and parking benches. However, French said efforts to install a drinking fountain and parking benches were nixed a while ago to accommodate new plans for landscaping, irrigation and the posts that will highlight the edges of the pedestrian walkway and protect the clock tower.

Those amenities have added to the total cost. "We have an additional $14,000 to raise due to a couple of changes," French said.

French is optimistic that the final fund-raising efforts will be successful. If not, he noted that the clock tower still will be constructed, but that plans for the finishing touches could change.

"We've been really pleased with the response from the community," he said. "But it's a large sum of money when you're collecting in $50 and $100 bills."

Both the Depot Town Association and Depot Town Development Authority contributed each $7,500 to seed the project.

Anyone wanting to make a donation can contact Dave French at 485-4677. Correspondence can be sent to Depot Town Association, P.O. Box 97-235, Ypsilanti, MI 48198.

Donations for the commemorative bricks or plaques are being accepted in amounts of $50, $100, or $1,000.