Public invited to contribute to Ypsilanti's bicentennial planning

Ypsilanti city residents are invited to get involved with planning the community's bicentennial. The city will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2023 with a time capsule, love letters to the city, and more.

Ypsilanti resident Evan Milan is a member of the board of advisors for the Ypsilanti Historical Society and is the unofficial chair of the current bicentennial committee. He says that a committee had formed before the pandemic, but committee members "put a bookmark in it" for the last couple of years.

Milan asked some of the previous committee members if he could have contact information to start up a new committee, which has been meeting since November via Zoom. City council members officially established a commission in March, and community members have started applying to be a part of the commission or one of its subcommittees. Milan says the goal is to create a commission of seven to 15 members by mid-April.

"There will also be a number of subcommittees, and you don't need to be involved in the commission to be on a subcommittee," he says. 

So far, plans for marking the bicentennial involve opening a time capsule buried during the city's 150th anniversary in 1973 and holding a kickoff of the bicentennial on New Year's Eve this year. Milan says the city also hopes to collaborate with Eastern Michigan University to host a homecoming-themed bicentennial event in autumn of 2023.

"We're also hoping to do something we're calling love letters to Ypsilanti," Milan says. "We want current and former residents to write their reminiscences."

Some of those reminiscences will be collected and published, and Milan says there's been discussion of turning some of those anecdotes into skits that can be performed during a bicentennial event.

Residents who get involved in the planning process can help shape a series of bicentennial events throughout 2023. City residents may apply to join the commission here. Updates on the city's bicentennial planning are also available via the Ypsilanti Bicentennial Facebook page.

Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at sarahrigg1@gmail.com.

Photo courtesy of Ypsilanti Bicentennial Committee.
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