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Six new works of art that will double as bicycle racks are to be celebrated at an East Lansing ribbon-cutting event next week. Ami Van Antwerp, Communications Coordinator for the City, estimates that the $20,000 project will net “at least 10 new [bicycle] parking spaces” downtown. According to Van Antwerp, “There are a couple of situations where we are replacing deteriorating hoops with the new artistic bike racks.”
The Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (BRA) voted at its meeting on September 25 to favorably recommend to the City Council a second amendment to the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan requested by River Caddis Development for the Trowbridge Road development that is underway.
The developer rehabbing the Trowbridge Plaza site, formerly the home of Goodrich Shop-Rite, is asking for a substantially larger tax assistance plan than the one to which East Lansing’s City Council previously agreed. His request will come before City Council at their work session tomorrow, Tuesday, September 23. The Red Cedar Community Association, the neighborhood in which the project resides, has "strongly urge[d] a rejection of this request" in a letter to Concil.
When large development projects come before East Lansing's Planning Commission for possible approval, citizens are normally alerted by a public hearing notice. Because the proposed ten-story downtown building being reviewed this Wednesday at 7 pm at Planning Commission has been previously discussed, no such notice is required to be issued and many citizens appear unaware that a major decision may be made this Wednesday on this project. In public discussions around the plan, some citizens strongly favor any possible progress at the long-blighted site, at the corner of Abbot Road and Grand River Avenue. Others have serious reservations about the proposed plan, including in terms of: the size of the proposed building; the ability of the area to manage the associated increase of car traffic; and the developer, PDIG, a company with a principal owner who has caused concern for the failed last go-around at the site, as well as for problems with projects in other cities.
Mackerel Sky has functioned as a kind of “anchor store” to East Lansing’s downtown shopping district from the time it was founded in 1990. Since 1969, husband-and-wife team Tom and Linda Dufelmeier, Mackerel Sky’s owners, have worked almost continuously within a one-block radius. This means they have witnessed four decades of change in East Lansing’s downtown. While they are troubled by the current state of downtown (as noted below), what has not changed is their affection for the regular customers of their business.
Last night, the East Lansing Transportation Commission voted with only one dissenting vote to move forward the Park District Investment Group (PDIG) plan for major redevelopment of the “big bank building” at the corner of Abbot Road and Grand River Avenue.
East Lansing Info (Eli) has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds to help cover their first six months operating costs. Using the IndieGoGo platform, the campaign was launched this morning and gives contributors a wide choice of ‘perks’, based on donation level. Perks include coffee mugs, t-shirts, house concerts by Eli board member Michael Lawrence’s band Jackalope, local artwork, and an invitation to a swank party at board president Alice Dreger’s home. Eli needs to raise $20,000 during the 45 day duration of the campaign.
The Lansing Board of Water and Light (BWL) which supplies electrical power to a large section of East Lansing, appears to be lacking legal easements for its power lines, at least in a number of older neighborhoods including Glencairn and Oakwood. This unexpected discovery has been made by homeowners demanding to see copies of written easements before allowing BWL’s contractors to come onto their properties and cut vegetation.