Library leaders fear new plaza will bring more heroin activity

ANN ARBOR (WXYZ) - In a city known for its academics, the Ann Arbor Public Library is somewhat sacred ground.

That is why the city is still buzzing about the city council meeting Monday night after comments made by Ann Arbor Public Library Director Josie Parker.

“There have been five heroin ODs in the public library in the last three and a half years.  The last one in the last 5 months.  This your public library.  Your downtown library,” said Parker.

Parker told 7 Action News she dropped the bomb to wake up the city council.

“The library board has never interfered with the business of the city and has not wanted to… but this was a serious enough situation,”  said Parker.

Parker said she revealed the library’s heroin problem because she believes it will get worse if council votes to turn a parking lot next door into a park or outdoor plaza.
“The the library would see an increase in its cost maintaining the building,” said Parker.  "We are the only public restroom in the area and that would be something would need.  So we would see more traffic in the building."
“I think that was a premature effort on their part,” said Ann Arbor City  Councilman Stephen Kunselman of the Library Board’s stance.

Councilman Kunselman is one of the majority of council who voted in favor of plaza plan.  He says the heroin issue is separate.

“We are all very committed public servants.  we are all very committed to the public safety of our community and the plaza… a public plaza at that location is no different.”

The future of the lot is unknown.

It could take months to a year for the lot to be sold.

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