Voting for the sale of downtown parking lots

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downtown

This unused building and parking area will be reconfigured into an eight-story building for various businesses.

map

This map shows viewers which areas of the Park District are being proposed to be sold and reconfigured. Courtesy of http://www.elparkdistrict.com/.

By Irum Ibrahim
Entirely East Lansing

With elections soon approaching, East Lansing residents have much to consider in terms of what is better for their city, community and personal well-being.

On Nov. 4, residents will vote on whether the city should sell parking lots 4, 8 and 15 to private city developers and urban planners. The decision could mean an improvement or decline in the infrastructure of the city. The parking lots will replaced with businesses and residential space.

In recent years, East Lansing has seen progress in development, with businesses such as Hop Cat and architecture such as Zaha Hadid’s Eli and Edythe Broad Museum.

Some residents say these developments may be beneficial to the economic status of East Lansing, while others argue that the amount of benefit (if any) is questionable.

“I think that it really depends on how much use those specific lots are getting in their current state. Finding parking around campus is difficult, in my opinion, so I don’t necessarily think that decreasing parking will help the infrastructure,” said photojournalism junior Jordan Jennings. “That being said, an eight story building full of businesses sounds like it would inevitably boost the economy. I realize that substitutional parking could be created somewhere else, I just don’t know if it would be worth it. Does East Lansing really need those new businesses anyways?”

City council member Kathleen Boyle said that parking should not be the issue.

“There will be street parking as a result of straightening the road across from the City Hall. Additionally, the homes that are split up into apartments in Valley Court will be turned into a parking structure,” said Boyle.

At Abbot Road and Albert Avenue, parking lot 4 is projected to be reconfigured into an eight-story building for stores, offices, restaurants and an apartment complex.

For parking lot 8, DTN Management plans to create a bike-friendly street for bikers and walkers. Lastly, Parking lot 15 across from City Hall will be transformed into housing for seniors.

Boyle said that this space will benefit seniors because there is  no senior-restricted housing downtown.

According to Boyle, a recent housing study showed that people who are in their active senior years want to be at a walking distance from downtown East Lansing.

The ballot proposal is not directly linked to the Park District project, however, voters will be asked to approve or disapprove of the selling of these three parking lots.

If the proposals pass, the city can then move toward working on a public approval. The city will have to organize its finances before the property is sold and construction will take place next year at the earliest.

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