Off topic thread



  • It's no surprise considering that Michigan ranks either 49th or 50th out of 51st (includes DC) for per capita road spending. That is soon to change as the legislature looks close (again) to coming up with something this year with the fail-safe being the popular ballot initiative in 2016 that would raise the corporate income tax back up to pre-2011 levels with all funds dedicated to roads. But, yeah, this state really dropped the ball on road funding and transportation in general. Michigan got hit harder than most by the recession, but not even that's an excuse as other hard-hit states still held infrastructure as a top priority.
  • We're coming up to the 10-year anniversary of this site. I can't believe it!

    The oldest comments I can find on the site are dated July 30th, 2006. I'd like to organize a couple "walk-arounds" to celebrate.

    We can meet up in downtown Lansing and East Lansing, and spend a couple hours walking around the downtowns looking at the buildings, traffic, travel, and talk about what has and hasn't changed in the past 10 years.

    I'm thinking of doing these closer to the 10-year anniversary date. Anybody interested?
  • While I'm not the most enthusiastic person when it comes to social events, if you can get at least a few people on board I'll show up as long as the date/time works for me.
  • edited March 2016
    The talk in the Red Cedar Renaissance thread got me thinking about how many of the recent developments were built on land that was previously owned by a municipality.

    Of the major developments that come to mind:
    * Red Cedar Renaissance
    * Accident Fund Headquarters
    * Lansing's East Village
    * Stonehouse Village III (built on a public parking lot)
    * The Outfield
    * Stadium District
    * Market Place
    * Sparrow Expansion on Bingham Elementary

    Meanwhile, there have been a fair number of developments on privately owned property.
    * Knapps Building
    * Eastwood
    * SkyVue
    * The Arbaugh
    * Midtown
    * Chandler Crossings expansions
    * 504 E Michigan Ave and other mixed-use retail/residential developments on Michigan Ave and Grand River in East Lansing

    Do you think the developments on publicly owned land are necessary for our continued growth? Most of the land was sold below market value along with other incentives to developers. As this land runs out (also with no new parks coming online), how do you see the growth of metro Lansing changing? Or, will this be a non-factor?
  • I think this a good question. I think re purposing already developed urban land is were we will find space for future development. I think there is still a lot of open private land we could develop. I do not think we should sell any park land, in fact should be turning large areas like on the east side in the flood plan back into parks.
  • edited March 2016
    In fact, that's kind of what the Ingham County Land Bank has been doing: purchasing homes on the eastside floodplain (particularly in the Urbandale neighborhood) where they can and demolishing them. So far, they haven't added them to any parkland, but they certainly could be in the future. The idea is to move folks out of the 100-year floodplain. Some of the parcels have been used for urban gardens. But, yeah, there will be no permanent development in these areas with the landbank as owner, at least.

    On the general question, I'm not a fan of selling off parkland. There is a process that this all goes through, however, and it's given over to the voters. Voters decided they didn't see any future for Waverly (which is not even in the city) or Red Cedar. At the same time, it's not quite true new parks haven't come online over the last decade or so. We lost Waverly and Red Cedar, but gained Hawk Island and Crego. I'd have to calculate it, but I'd guess if that's not a wash it's a near wash. I also think Waverly and Red Cedar were sold at kind of hairy times for the city, where we were having a hard time maintaining even smaller parks let alone trying to reopen Waverly and Red Cedar as general parks. I think that as the economy has gotten better, we've seen less interest in - and voters would probably be a bit more wary of - any future park sales. On top of that, I don't think there is any likely large park parcels that would make sense to develop, anyway. So, yeah, this may end up being a non-factor from here on out.

    I think the worst may be over. As it comes to other publicly owned land/property? That's not as controversial an idea to long as the deals make sense. Surprisingly, on individual projects of things like parking garages I've been much less supportive than the case made for selling off the golf courses. On the properties being built on surface parking lots, however, those I don't mind much at all. Things like the Outfield and Stadium District and too a lesser extent Marketplace - and I say to a lesser extent, because I think the loss of the old City Market has proven itself to be a net negative - have been good in that they've mostly filled in dead space in the middle of town.
  • I don't have anything inherently against public land being sold or leased for private projects, it depends on all the various circumstances of a particular deal. I also agree with the sentiment that selling parkland is generally a bad idea, but there are exceptions. The Waverly Golf Course was outside the city limits so that's essentially a non factor and a large chunk of Red Cedar will remain a park while the land being sold is all but certain to be more beneficial to the city than the additional parkland would have been.

    When it comes to parks, I just want them better maintained, I would love to see a fully improved and well maintained Moores Park in particular. Comstock Park is another that intrigues me, it has a neat old building that's all boarded up, it'd be great to see things like that restored and put back to use. Just about every park in the city could use some significant repairs, improvements and most importantly more reasons for people to use/visit them (I think gbinlansing touched on some of the great amenities in the past at Quintin Park in one of his first posts, bringing back things like that could do amazing things for the city and it's neighborhoods).
  • While walking in our woodland parks I have noticed great blooms of several different kinds of wild flowers. I think it is the first time I ever saw these little yellow and orange ones called trout lilies. There is also a lot of trillium with big flowers and these little white flowers that smell like gardenias, among other more colorful wildflowers. The verity and size of the flower patches was very impressive and beautiful, check them out before it gets hot again. Also does anyone know a good spot to hunt for morel mushrooms? I have always wanted to find just one!
  • I "found" two really nice Ingham County parks that I had not visited before. Burchfeild Park in Holt has well marked trails through mature woodlands next to the Grand River. There is a really nice boardwalk along the river on the high bank. Over on the other side of the county Lake Lansing Park North has a surprisingly diverse landscape. lots or rolling hills and ridges then down to swamps and marshes that are crossed with several boardwalks and bridges. We saw a sandhill crane in the marshes, I had never seen such a large bird here and really had to take a double look at it to figure out what kind of bird it was. I really love stuff like that because 50 years ago when I grew up here, there were no sandhill cranes, eagles, or blue birds, white egrets, or blue herons in our parks and rivers. It is notable and a good sign that the environment has improved a great deal.
  • I remember my first time seeing blue herons in the middle of the city years back it freaked me out. I saw them from the river trail bridge that connects the trail to Moores Park. They were standing on the small island in the river just staring at me. There are all kinds of wildlife along the trail even in the city. Every once in a blue moon a deer will find its way into the middle of town. I remember growing up seeing one going the wrong way up Cedar in the Stadium District when I was a little. I've also seen racoons, muskrats, groundhogs, and possums. There are also plenty of falcons and hawks, now. Something I used to see a lot of but no longer see are rats. They used to live along the banks under the boardwalks on both sides of Riverfront Park.
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