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Thursday May 25, 2017
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Burns Park Divide



"The two sides seem to be getting closer socially rather than more divided," says Joel Dalton, an entrepreneur who has lived in Lower Burns Park since 1995. With all the rehabs of homes on the lower side and residents of varied professional backgrounds--including tenured U-M professors--he doesn't notice much of a difference.

What Dalton calls the neighborhood's "two provinces" frequently collaborate on events like the Burns Park Run (he and his wife Jackie are codirectors) and shows by the Burns Park Players. But the lower side maintains its own identity. When Anne Berggren, who taught at U-M, and her attorney husband Kurt moved to Lower Burns Park in 1976 to raise their family, they bonded with other young families in a babysitting co-op. Today, she says Lower Burns Park neighbors stay connected through an active neighborhood association and block parties.

Mary Bisbee-Beek, a book publicist, and her musician husband, Randall Beek, moved to Ann Arbor seven years ago. They rented in Lower Burns Park for a couple years while they researched other neighborhoods, only to buy a house four doors down. She says friendly neighbors, proximity to the campus and downtown, and great dog-walking routes were a few reasons they settled on the lower side. Walking is a popular pastime for residents on both sides of Packard, she says.

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