With summer just around the corner, Lansing Charter Township is wasting no time in planning activities to bring residents and the community together.
Leading the main event, which is a series of summer movies being shown in two parks is Lansing Township Supervisor Dion’trae Hayes.
“So two movies shown for two different Fridays, and they are consecutive Fridays,” Hayes said. “The idea is to make it a family, friendly and affordable event for all the residents in our community.”
According to Hayes, she has secured donations for a concession stand that will consist of water, popcorn and other amenities.
In order to make the movie affordable, all residents will need to do is show up with a blanket or chair, there is no admission fee.
Hayes is working closely with a group to finalize the list of movies that will be shown and also to develop possible themes that the families can participate in.
“We’re going to do some preplanning, so for one of the movies we are trying to get has a hawaiian theme so it would be kind of more of a luau event,” Hayes said. “And the other would be kind of a karaoke style event, so it gives families who get to the park a little early something to do in the mean time before the movie starts.”
Hayes explained how pre-movie activities will be available since typically, when you see a movie in a park you have to wait for it to get somewhat dark in order to see the movie on a projector.
To cater to resident’s parking needs, Hayes said that one movie will be shown on the west side of the township in the field behind Waverly East Intermediate School next to the Lansing Township Building Department.
The second movie will be shown at Slater Park located on the east side of the township, according to Lansing Township zoning maps.
In terms of community development, a summer movie night could be a tool the township uses to create community integration.
William Lee, is an associate professor social work at McMaster University has researched community development and organization.
According to Lee, there are various tactics of community development such as creating events such as picnics in the park or starting a little league or bringing different groups together.
“A community is not just made up of individuals, its made up of smaller groups,” Lee said. “The big thing in any community development is that one thing isn’t it, its part of a larger structure.”
If the event proves successful, then more will be planned in the future, Hayes said.
“Since this is our first time doing it, you know we are trying to see if its something our residents like and if its something they find value in,” Hayes said. “If its well received and successful, there could be talks of us making it an annual event. That’s our whole bet, it does provide an outing for families.”
According to Hayes, families in Lansing Township are always looking for something to do.
“The more events you can cater to the families, the better,” Hayes said. “Parents are working all day, children primarily are in school until the summer and even then they might be involved in sport events, they may be involved in camp events, they may be involved at community centers.”
Ultimately, the summertime movies are aimed at creating a stronger family unit for those who live in Lansing Township.
“It gives them a chance to focus as a unit and to have fun together and its free,” Hayes said. “We are a cultivated community in Lansing Township, so this goes into the core of who we are.”
Lansing Township isn’t the only one in the Greater Lansing area kicking off movies in the park. The city of East Lansing offers outdoor film series that are apart of their Moonlight Film Festival every Thursday evening this summer, according to the City of East Lansing website.
More information will be released from Lansing Township once more details are finalized.