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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3209
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.172.95.197
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 12:40 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Not really a big deal, but it shows how Detroit's riverfront revival is effecting other cities right here in Michigan, and how great Detroit is doing on this. It's an op-ed piece from my cities newspaper, today:

Riverfront: Lansing could learn from Detroit's redevelopment vision

A Lansing State Journal editorial

Seldom does Lansing look to Detroit for ideas about inner-city revival. But Lansing could learn plenty from Detroit's ambitious plans to redevelop its riverfront.

It's taken years, and will take years longer, but Detroit appears to have most of the pieces in place.

Developers willing to invest. A dazzling series of projects to build homes and restaurants along the Detroit River. A long-range plan that will steadily erase some of the ugly, industrial holdovers still casting a shadow over the riverfront.

Importantly, the new construction will be designed not to seal off the public from river access, but to invite the public to the riverfront. Condominiums and retail shops will be the welcoming connector between the river and visitors coming to shop, dine, or stroll.

That sort of chemistry has worked magic in other places where urban landscape meets water. It's the kind of chemistry that Lansing can replicate, as it has already, to some extent.

In his State of the City address last month, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero promised a new, strategic plan to redevelop the riverfront. He pledged to follow up on a blue ribbon commission's recommendation from five years ago, that "we must turn the face of our downtown toward the river."

Bernero's Grand Vision plan may sound familiar to some of our readers. In 1993, the Lansing State Journal initiated its own "Grand Vision" with a series of editorials by that name. It called on the community to embrace the Grand River as a vital resource; not just a recreational asset but an economic one as well.

The recreational piece has flourished. The city River Trail remains a popular place for joggers and strollers. There's a successful Adopt a River program, started by the Lansing Board of Water and Light, that has brought new attention to keeping the riverfront clean and appealing. The riverfront annually hosts several warm-weather festivals. Further north, Old Town has seen pockets of riverfront development.

Those are good starts. The missing part, though, is nurturing the river's economic potential. It's a tougher, costlier goal to attain. The mayor can do what his predecessors have tried: find a way to redevelop the decommissioned Ottawa Power Station, a moth-balled behemoth lording over the riverfront.

But the city's waited years for a developer to take on this project, and it just hasn't happened. Bernero would be better off attracting smaller projects. Example: The city parking ramp on Grand Avenue near Michigan Avenue is nearing the end of its life span. It's a prime location for something else - something more interesting than a parking ramp.

Housing. Restaurants. Retail. A public invited to the riverside. A scaled-down version of Detroit's vision could be just what Lansing's riverfront needs.
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Wsukid
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Username: Wsukid

Post Number: 134
Registered: 06-2004
Posted From: 69.14.145.38
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 1:47 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Lmich

This is a great op-ed piece. The one thing that caught me is that the power station I think I remember where it is. Is it the building that says "board of water and light" almost apart of the skyline near Michigan Ave. Anyway that would be I think the first piece of redevelopment that could anchor a series of projects. Personally I could see that building as a mix-used development that could spark everything. And that parking ramp on Grand Ave has to go you could put amazing townhouses or condos there that connect it right to Downtown. Oh man Michigan's core downtown's have so much potential that it is sickening. Oh anyway im done ranting it must be the urban planner in me.

Oh bye the way on a side note with the election of Mayor Bernero. Is Bernero similar to the reformer style that David Hollister was. My gut feeling is that Lansing is on its way to a full rebound soon.
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 3210
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 67.172.95.197
Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 - 2:21 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes, Bernero holds former mayor Hollister in high regard, and a role-model and friend, going so far as to make him one of the heads of his transition team when coming into office. He still has very strong connections with Hollister, who is running a new non-profit economic development group out of a once abandoned schoolhouse here in Lansing.

BTW, the citizens voted last year to transfer the riverfront land that the Ottawa Street Station (Board of Water and Light) sits on to the city to actively seek developers for renovation. The State has already made a loose agreement to use part of it for office space for Michigan IT department. In Lansing, under the city's charter, voters must approve the sale of public property within 25 feet of the river. A corner of the power plant building touches the river.

Also, there are plenty of developments going on, or completed in Lansing. Just checkout http://www.urbanplanet.org/, and go to the Michigan forumer, and look for the Lansing subforum.

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