As he sits in his restaurant, Olympic Broil owner Mike Alexander interacts with almost every customer that walks through the door, and he knows many of them by name. Like a typical boy growing up in Michigan in the 1960s, Alexander spent his summer days wandering down to the river with his friends to drop a fishing line in the water and hang out. “One summer they were building the Dog n Suds,” Alexander said. “Being the young guys we were, my friend and I thought it was great to watch the welders work.”
At the time, Alexander had no idea he’d spend the majority of his life working in this very same place. Originally a Dog n Suds in the 1960s, Mike’s father Jim Alexander acquired the property at 1320 N. Grand River Ave.
Anyone who has ever been to a city has more than likely experienced the frustrations that come with trying to find parking. This problem is not isolated to bigger cities; even smaller communities experience such issues. More than likely, any place that attracts larger numbers of people will face struggles when it comes to parking. Old Town is no exception. During her day job, Jamie Schriner-Hooper, president of the board of directors for the Old Town Commercial Association, works in communities across the state.
From the outside, Great Lakes Artworks may simply appear to a passerby as a place that sells art. After all, that’s technically what an art gallery is. Darrell Taylor, director of the University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art, states that an art gallery is any space that seeks to present art forms.
Great Lakes Artworks fits this definition. However, it is also so much more than that. Great Lakes Artworks has been an artist owned cooperative gallery since 2011.
Once a bustling, prosperous community, North Lansing — known today as Old Town — fell into disarray in the second half of the 20th century. However, toward the end of the 20th century and into the 21st century, people in the community began to take an interest in the revitalization of the area, with the hope of restoring it to its former glory. Revitalization of downtown areas is not unique to Lansing. Ken Schroeppel, an expert in downtown revitalization as well as an assistant professor in urban planning at the University of Colorado Denver, said this phenomenon can be seen all over the country. “Up until World War II, cities were vibrant.