General Lansing Development

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  • Those are significant developments. I like the Slotkin move. Was the Women's Center on Washington Ave at one point too? I also thought they were in that little building on the river and Grand Ave between the parking garage and the tower?? They sure get around.

  • edited January 8

    You're thinking of the City Club. The Women's Historical Center had been in the Cooley-Haze House for as long as I can remember.

    Another little thing. The Lansing downtown wayfinding signs have been added to:

    I'd like a more defined design, something a bit less cluttered-looking. But I really, really like the map portion they put on.

    BTW, looks like Councilwoman Wood retained her role as president, but young progressive Councilman Spadafore, who is in his first term, will replace not-as-progressive Councilwoman Washington as vice president. I am glad about this; it had seem the less progressive forces had implemented something of a coup on council. But this sort of mixes it up a bit.

  • edited January 11

    The city council is now back in business, and three projects continue on course. There will be public hearings next week on the rezonings for the hotel and apartment buildings on the Deluxe Inn site, Neogen's small expansion in Oak Park, and the proposal for a duplex building at the northwest corner of Cavanaugh and Lowcroft on the southside.

    Another proposal that has been quickly proposed after the huge supplemental budget the previous governor signed last month is the selling of the municipal Townsend Street parking garage to the State of Michigan for the state Senate. A public hearing will be scheduled for it on Monday.

    An additional issue being brought up is the amendment to the Oliver Towers brownfield redevelopment plan. This simply updates the previous brownfield plan passed in 2015 to match what the new plan for the property the Eydes released last summer, mostly this will push back the date of completion by one year. They are spending around $14.7 million (up from $8 million in the previous plan) and will be reimbursed $1.37 million for clean-up of the property (nearly $800,000 less than in the previous plan). Most of the reimbursement will be the result of them having to remove mold and asbestos, and the next biggest cost is the interior demolition that's already gone on. There also appears to be a lot of pollution under the parking lot out back that they'll have to remediate. $54,000 will go towards public infrastucture improvements (minor sidewalk, curb, gutter and landscaping work).

    Oh, and lastly, we heard about Pablo's, today, because the council will approved of a Business Financing Assistance Program to help finance the renovation project in REO Town. It's simply a business loan of around $143,000.

  • edited January 12

    The city planning board is back at work, too. At their January 15th meeting, they'll...

    • Consider the rezoning a small piece of 601 South Martin Luther King (southeast corner of MLK and Hillsdale) from residential to commercial to allow for the future development. Apparently, the parcel is too small to fit any of the requirements of commercial development, so they'll need to rezone it so the whole property can eventually be redeveloped. Specifically, this parcel of the property lies is the grassed-over part of the property directly south of the billboard. Only thing on the site is a single tree. I have had no idea what the current structure is used for, but it appears just storage.

    • Considering a special land use permit for the old North Larch BWL Substation (1609 North Larch) for reuse as apartments (5 units). Last we'd heard of this, the new owner was going to use it for office space. The staff report shows that the planning office isn't supportive of this change, and is recommending denial.

    • Considering a request by the city for the development of the new-construction portion for the Eastside Connector. They are requesting and easement to construct a 10-foot wide path (with two, 2-foot shoulders) that would be mostly on Lansing School District property but containing part of Gillespie's Armory. It'd start directly north of Eastern's driveway at Penn and Shiawasse and wind its way through the property and then behind Catholic Central to Marshall where it would pick back up south of the armory, then winding behind Pattengill before turning north up the side of the property to Saginaw. Halfway up this northern turn looks like they own a parcel that would allow a short connection to Clemens Street to allow access from that neighborhood.

    • Considering a request by the city for the development of a 10-foot wide path (with two, 2-foot aggregate shoulders). This is an extension of the South Lansing Pathway east of Cavanaugh through to Bear Lake and then up to Forest Road before 496 overpasses it. It's called the Bear Lake Pathway.

    • Consideration of selling the Townsend Parking Ramp to the state Senate. The city would retain 228 spots for city employees pursuant a renewable lease. There would also be 50 spaces use for public parking.

    • In some old business that wasn't resolved at the December meeting, the owner of 5400 South Cedar who wants to turn the old Kmart into a self-storage business is back on the agenda. The city is still concerned about the over-proliferation of these businesses on the southside. To ease their concern, the developer is now proposing putting two out-lots in the huge parking lot instead of just one for future commercial development. The city wrote back that this doesn't really address their concerns with this new usage for the site and are asking the planning board to deny this one.

    Really excited about the trail construction, particularly the Bear Lake Path. I'm not even sure the lake was publicly accessible before this proposal.

  • This "Bear Lake" area must look like what the first settlers saw when they came into this area is what I think when I take the Dunkel Road exit. I never knew there was a lake back there before looking at the site of the new hospital. I wonder if this area has even ever been logged over or cleared. It could be that there are some "Old Growth" trees back in there. It will be a very cool ride to loop out there from the River Trail.

  • It's veyr likely not old growth. Old growth forest are very, very rare in Michigan. Virtually the whole state was cleared between 1850 and 1910 save for these few areas:


    This photo of Hartwick Pines State Park is courtesy of TripAdvisor

    It really shows you how resilient forest are, though, that they can grow back to looking like old growth so quickly.

  • It will be nice to finally have some public access to the Bear Lake area. It's a fairly big natural area in the middle of the city, 161 acres according to MSU's site.

    It's definitely impressive how established forests have become in just 100 years or so, but these forests don't really look like old growth forests do. Even at the forests marked on the map, the ones in the lower peninsula have very small stands of old growth forest. Hartwick Pines only has 49 acres, Russ Forest only has 40 acres and Warren Woods has 300 acres of virgin beech and maple which isn't really old growth in the same sense that the pine forests are. I've been the Hartwick Pines and it's nice, but I'd really like to make it to the Porcupine Mountains with its 31,000 acres of old growth forest.

  • Thank you for the information about the forests. I thought I had heard that a few spots along the Red Cedar and Sycamore Creek had never been logged because of being in the swamp. Just an old "Indian Story" I guess.
    It seems like Mr. Moorse of Lansing was behind a good deal of the clear cut logging west and north of here. His company holds a record for board feet sent to the mills, that lumber was used to rebuild Chicago after the famous fire.
    My Great Uncle Albert Sleeper was one of the first governors of Michigan to put some controls on logging and requiring replanting after logging. He started the DNR which began protecting Michigan natural resources at that time. There is a State Park named for him on the tip of the thumb along Lake Huron. I have seen pictures taken at the turn of the last century up there that look like the prairie with no trees at all. We are blessed to have had much of the forest return. One other thought about the old forest is that it was such a physical enterprise to cut down and transport and process almost every tree on the lower penninsula mainly by hand is really something. Our forefathers and mothers were a tough and industious lot.

  • I wouldn't be surprised if there's a lot of little patches that haven't been logged, especially in swampy areas. I would guess that most trees in very wet areas probably don't get as big or live as long as normal so you end up not getting the really impressive trees.

  • The Bear lake property owned by MSU currently not public access. There are multiple signs stating this. I think the path will be on under the power lines for the part by the lake. Hopefully, MSU does not put up a new fence there. I do not know if access will change with the new trail. That area is really nice, not completely flat and has some interesting mix of flooded areas and dry higher spots. It would be great if the trail went and connected to Harrison and Trowbridge bike lanes or connected to the Crego Trail spur, the latter of which may be planned.

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