Natural Lansing: Parks, Foresty and Nature



  • I think the Scott Woods sewer project was handled in a much better way, then say the substation in the garden or the cutting of the Red Cedar trees by the last administration. While tree lovers could not convince the Mayor to reroute the drain he really listened to the concerns of citizens and his people came up with a better less destructive plan. That is progress in my book.

  • edited April 2019

    The new Beacon field - completed last fall - on the southwest side has given its name to the new park it will be in: Beacon Park.

    Mayor Andy Schor has issued an Executive Order to establish and officially name Beacon Park in southwest Lansing. The park will feature a new playground and walking trail in addition to the recently completed southwest Beacon Soccer Field.

    “Beacon Park is a fitting name for the park space since it features the second Beacon Soccer Field in the city,” said Mayor Schor. “Lansing’s time is now, and Beacon Park is yet another example of how the city is expanding to offer additional resources and amenities to our residents.”

    Located just behind the South Side Community Coalition, Beacon Park will feature amenities like a walking trail, a KaBOOM! Playground and shaded seating. The Lansing Parks and Recreation Department and South Side Community Coalition will be organizing Community Build Days to prepare the park.

    This is the new park located off of Simken Drive just southeast of the corner of Pleasant Grove and West Holmes. Additional phases:

    Phase one of the park will be complete after May 18, 2019, when the playground is scheduled to be installed. Funding for the Beacon Park amenities comes from a successful crowdfunding campaign that reached its goal of $50,000 in January 2019. The donation was generously matched by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. Beacon Park is a part of the broader Southwest Action Plan, which includes many proposed projects, such as the town square being developed in front of Pleasant Grove Plaza and the community designed art sculpture.

    Along with Simken Drive, the park will be directly accessible by foot from Pleasant Grove via an easement through the first residential property south of the Pleasant Grove and West Holmes. At this site is also a bus stop, so kids and families will be able to hop off the bus and go straight to the park.

  • In a general story on Frandor in the LSJ this morning, we get an update on the Red Cedar renaissance:

    Additionally, pedestrians will eventually be able to use pathways at Ranney Park just east of Frandor.

    The asphalt pathways also will accommodate county utility vehicles. which must access retention ponds being built as part of a $30 million county drain project to reduce flooding and prevent pollution from spilling into the Red Cedar River.

    "It's going to be a lot more appealing, a lot more walkable," Ingham County Drain Commissioner Pat Lindemann said. "Probably, when it's done, you won't recognize the place."

    The drain project, which could break ground this summer, coincides with plans for a $250 million commercial development near Michigan Avenue at the site of the former Red Cedar golf course.

    Developers of the Red Cedar project have promised to include additional pathways south of Michigan Avenue and north of the Red Cedar River. If the Red Cedar development does not move forward, local governments will pay more (roughly $4 million) for pathways south of Michigan plus additional drainwork, Lindemann said.

    Sound like if the private end is finally approved (amended agreement and brownfield are up for approval tonight for the last time), they could get shovels in the ground by this summer for the public end of this.

  • That looks really great. I would have loved to have this next door when I was living off of Glenmoor Rd. It seems like East Lansing is really going to be the ones that benefit from this reconfig, unless it becomes a lot easier to get to Ranney from the East Side. I am hoping the bike path through Vine over there helps.

  • Cross your fingers and knock on wood the Red Cedar project passed city council last night and will start this summer along with the drain project it could be a very nice area in a few years.
    I have noted here before that Frandor could lay out a lane and block plan similar to Eastwood. With curbing sidewalks trees and landscaping creating the lanes and the borders of the parking areas. With a wide lane right down the middle of the lot, they could even develop the areas on both sides of the lane there is a lot of space between one side and the other.
    I think it would be a great idea if Lansing would enact green parking lot rules for pollution control and community improvement. Pollution control could be a way to get older businesses to rebuild their parking areas. Like a certain area of pavement is only allowed to put a certain amount of runoff water into the storm sewer. I think we might see a lot of excess blacktop pulled up if such rules had fines for breaking them. So many places have broken potholed pavement and are also full of dirt and debris from the broken pavement, I think this would be really bad for business but the owners don't seem to care. We live in a zoned city there should be a way to get property owners to take care of their properties.

  • edited April 2019

    Were Frandor developed, today, it would look considerably different due to our zoning code. The code requires that a site plan include a proposed stormwater management plan; in the case of a development as large as Frandor that would at least mean some kind of retention pond since much, much smaller developments have required them.

    In fact, the article kind of addresses this:

    If Frandor were built today, the city would require an eight-foot-wide "buffer" zone of greenery at the edges of the property.


    Representatives from Corr Commercial Real Estate, the company that manages the Frandor Shopping Center, say new islands will be added to the mall's parking lot in 2020. The company says it plans to replant existing greenery and re-stripe crosswalks this spring.

    I agree, though, that Lansing needs some specific regulations relating to greenery requires in parking lots of a certain size. Detroit has a pretty specific section of its code that governs parking lot construction. Lansing has a pretty sepcific section on parking lot construction, but it doesn't speak specifically to landscaping within the parking lots.

    I think this would be something great to write the council about, particularly since they did work on parking lot regulations as it relates to lighting requirements just last year. Actually, it would be the planning department who'd write this, and more specifically it seems that the zoning administrator is the one who draws up the staff reports and such:

    Planning tends to be very response, so if you email them, you will likely get a response back.

  • Take note the next time one drives through Frandor and see just how much of that area has wasted green space as a result of it being paved over. That island in between the Saginaw and Grand River one-ways comes to mind. The area between the parking lot and the road that would be perfect for greenery was shoved full of asphalt. It's pretty depressing and really attributes to the bleak look of the place, not to mention runoff.

    A bit of beautification (and stormwater mitigation) along the trunklines would be great too, not only the parking lot of Frandor itself.

  • I have this idea of planting a forest of trees along both sides of the 127 embankments with a pedestrian/bike paths along be the street level on the east and west sides. They would lead directly to the cross streets into Frandor without crossing so many curb cuts and drives on the right side. I'm not sure what to do about the whole mess to the north of Frandor. Maybe a huge traffic circle with a new grid of lanes leading to the businesses in the middle.

  • edited April 2019

    Commemorating Lansing's 50th anniversary of its Sister City relationship with Otsu, Japan, a ceremony was held in Riverfront Park which added another cherry blossom tree. Mayor Schor, who was accompanied by Deputy General Yuki Sakai of the Japanese consulate general in Detroit, will be going to Otsu in August.

    Photos from the City Pulse:

    The first trees were planted in 2013, but this is the first time they've bloomed in time for one of these commemorations that take place every two years. I grew up near the park, so this was like my local park, and it's so nice to see these when I go by; they seem to be doing very well. I'd love to see many, many more of them.

  • So pretty! Thanks for posting the photos now I going to ride down there to see the cherry trees.

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