Public Works

ELi ON EARTH: Greenhouse Gases from the Public Fireplace

Monday, February 9, 2015

Image: The Ann Street Plaza public fireplace

This week, Eli on Earth takes a look at one contributor to the City of East Lansing’s carbon footprint: the outdoor public fireplace in the Ann Street Plaza.

First, some background: “Ann Street Plaza” is the name given to the downtown public space on the north side of Albert Avenue just west of MAC. It includes the clock tower, the performance space used for summer outdoor concerts, and the large gas fireplace enclosed with heavy metal grating (see above photo) just outside of Peppino’s sports/pizza lounge.

Council Capsule, January 27, 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Image: City Council last night

All members of City Council were present. The meeting lasted from 7:02 pm on January 27 until 12:27 a.m. on January 28.

City’s credit rating at risk, with layoffs possible: Dire financial news was delivered by City Manager George Lahanas just before the end of the meeting. Read our special report.

PDIG Plan Now Exceeds $100M with $32M in Tax Incentives

Friday, January 16, 2015

Image: The corner where PDIG seeks to construct the 10-story "Building A"

The East Lansing Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is moving forward on controversial developer PDIG’s plans for the blighted area downtown. Two major buildings in the area are now estimated together to cost $101 million, and local government is considering $32 million in tax incentives for the project area. At a public DDA meeting yesterday, details emerged on the Tax Increment Financing plan as well as the development agreement being made between the developer and the City.

Bob Nelson Likely to Be Our BWL Rep

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

In November, Lansing ciitzens voted to change their City Charter to allow East Lansing to have representation on the BWL Board of Commissioners. BWL is the major electric utility for residents of East Lansing. The East Lansing representative, who will start this work in July of this year, will have a non-voting role on the BWL Board.

Bob Nelson Likely to Be Our BWL Rep

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

In November, Lansing ciitzens voted to change their City Charter to allow East Lansing to have representation on the BWL Board of Commissioners. BWL is the major electric utility for residents of East Lansing. The East Lansing representative, who will start this work in July of this year, will have a non-voting role on the BWL Board.

BWL Board Votes to Terminate General Manager's Employment

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Image: J. Peter Lark faces the BWL Board of Commissioners today

There was only one item on the Agenda for the hastily convened Lansing Board of Water & Light Board (BWL) of Commissioners Special Board Meeting this afternoon. That was to "Review the Employment of the Lansing Board of Water & Light's General Manager," J. Peter Lark. Following a brief portion of public comments, the Board voted 5 to 3 to terminate Lark’s employment “for cause” and appoint an interim manager.

Council Capsule: January 6, 2015

Wednesday, January 7, 2015
East Lansing Council Greater Lansing Area MLK Holiday Commission

Each Wednesday morning, ELi provides you a "capsule" of what happened at City Council on Tuesday night.

Present: Mayor Nathan Triplett, Mayor Pro Tem Diane Goddeeris, Ruth Beier, Kathy Boyle, and Susan Woods.

ASK ELi TO INVESTIGATE: Why So Many Water Main Breaks?

Friday, November 28, 2014

Image: East Lansing DPW crews fix a sewer problem. Courtesy of City of East Lansing.

A reader asks: "Why does East Lansing keep having all these water main breaks—this summer, Grand River Avenue; last winter, Forest Avenue; and recently Harrison Road?"

Some EL Tree Experiences with BWL Are Positive

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Tensions with electrical utility provider Board of Water and Light (BWL) remain high in parts of East Lansing, especially in old-growth neighborhoods like Oakwood (where I live) and Glencairn. But at a recent Oakwood potluck, I talked to a neighbor who has had overall a positive experience with BWL coming to trim his family’s trees. So I asked that neighbor, Nate Stevenson, to share his story with our readers.

Voters Consider Cost to City from Park District Projects

Friday, October 31, 2014

Image above: Plan rendering provided by DTN, looking west across Abbot Road from above City Hall toward Valley Court Park. The largest building is a planned 7-story parking ramp with a 10-story building wrapped around it. (This does not show the entire Park District area plan.)

What would a “yes” vote on the parking lot sales ballot question mean to East Lansing residents in terms of changes to our city’s debt and our city’s real estate tax revenue? That’s a question on the minds of many East Lansing residents as they go to the polls.

ASK ELi: Why Parking Lots Ballot Question Is NOT about the Blighted Corner

Friday, October 31, 2014

This week's Ask Eli tackles a question we've gotten in conversation with several readers one that can be summed up this way:

Does redevelopment of the blighted area at Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road depend on the parking lot sale ballot question passing?

The answer: The answer is an unequivocal "no." That is simply a different project.

COUNCIL CAPSULE: October 28, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

ELi’s weekly Wednesday feature, “Council Capsule,” gives you a quick run-down of happenings of note at City Council the night before.

Last night's meeting was a work session. Next week’s meeting will be on Wednesday because Tuesday is Election Day.

Roll Call: All five Council members were present: Mayor Nathan Triplett , Mayor Pro Tem Diane Goddeeris, Ruth Beier, Kathy Boyle, and Susan Woods.

Council Considers Record-Breaking 60-Year TIF to Avoid Sharing Revenues

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Council is hastening to vote to extend the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan on the Marriott University Place property as much as 30 more years at a 100% level of tax capture, bringing the TIF plan at this location to a record-setting 60 years. The current 30-year plan is not set to expire until December, 2016, but City staff fear that if Council waits to extend it, new rules at the State level will restrict what they can do in terms of TIF at this location.

Mercury Contamination Investigation at Hannah Community Center Leads to Selective Notification of Citizens

Friday, October 24, 2014

The City is selectively notifying some East Lansing residents of an investigation at Hannah Community Center related to a mishap involving a mercury spill. An email message has gone out from the City addressed to “East Lansing Hannah Community Center Visitors.” The letter advises recipients that a vacuum hose that had previously been wrongly used to clean up a mercury spill at the water treatment plant was then also wrongly used at Hannah Community Center.

City Allows BWL to Cut Trees without Required Permits; Tree Resolution to Be Considered Tonight

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

ELi has learned that City of East Lansing staff has been allowing BWL to trim and cut down trees in East Lansing without the permits and oversight required by the City’s own municipal code.

This news comes as tonight City Council will consider a resolution in support of the trees, raising the question of whether such a resolution would, in practice, also be disregarded by City staff.

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