Preserving historic buildings is imperative in Old Town. Through adaptive reuse, property owners rehabilitate buildings for modern use. Old Town is a part of the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register is a federal government list of historical districts. Old Town is considered a historical commercial district.
On March 30, the Lansing City Council held a Committee of the Whole meeting where Dr. Joan Jackson Johnson, director of human relations and community services at the Lansing at City Hall, discussed the lack of mental health resources for the Lansing Housing Commission (LHC). Federal dollars have continuously been cut. As a result, the LHC does not have the funds to help individuals who have mental health challenges, Johnson said. Cindi Borgman, housing and residential supervisor at Community Mental Health, said this is a result of the state having a general fund deficit for the last few years. “We (the state) had to eliminate services,” Borgman said.
It has now been more than two weeks since the seasonal transition into spring, but it seems mother nature did not get the memo. On April 4, the city of East Lansing experiences 27 mph winds, close to an inch of snowfall and temperature reached a high of 33 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 23 degrees. In the week ahead, the cold temperature is predicted to remain steady. According to the 10-day weather forecast, East Lansing is expected to receive two more snow showers between now and April 11. Temperatures will not exceed 50 degrees until April 12.
Old Town values its arts community to host events and festivals. However, planning these events bring budget configurations. Old Town events are organized by board member volunteers at The Old Town Commercial Association (OTCA). The community plans year-round events with the goal to raise money and awareness, Jamie Schriner, president of the Old Town Commercial Association and executive director of Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, said over the phone. The Commercial Association holds committee meetings to organize events throughout the year.
Old Town needs to be in control of their assessment dollar use in order to fulfill the needs in the community, said Jamie Schriner, president of The Old Town Commercial Association and executive director of Community Economic Development Association of Michigan. Schriner said Downtown Lansing Inc. is not satisfying those financial needs for the community because they do not know the community as well as residents. Old Town turns to Downtown Lansing Inc. for revitalization grants through The Principle Shopping District (PSD). The PSD performs these efforts within its frontier of l-496 in downtown Lansing to Clinton Street in Old Town. It advances businesses through “advocacy, cooperative marketing, special events, urban beautification and economic development,” Mindy Biladeau executive, director and coordinator of Silver Bells in the City and Downtown Lansing Inc., said in an email.
Preuss Pets is not an average pet store. With exotic animals including amphibians, lizards, snakes, invertebrates, parrots and more, the store resembles its animals with an adventurous interior design. Owner, Rick Preuss said customers are surprised with the knowledge they need to acquire when owning an animal. With 65 employees, he said they focus their energy on educating and assisting customers’ journey of pet keeping.
Ciesa Design located in Old Town experienced basement flooding Wednesday morning with the water rising 2 inches an hour, said owner Lauren Ciesa. He said he arrived at 7 a.m. with the basement floors still dry, but the water began rising rapidly. “We’re holding back another foot-and-a-half of water. So, we would be (at) about three feet if a window or door broke,” he said. The physical damages caused by the flood will include the kitchen used as a break room.
Old Town Lansing has an abundance of local restaurants and owners have to understand the market, said the owner of Meat Southern BBQ, Sean Johnson. With 19 restaurants in Old Town, each owner had to start from the beginning in gaining their own customers. Tamiko Richard, owner of JN Press Juice, said she wanted to educate the market about being more health-conscious with what they put in their bodies. “We (her family) want to be healthy ourselves. You are able to tell more people about it once you start with yourself,” she said.
Old Town maintains its historical district denomination through the Michigan Main Street program. The program has four core points: economic vitality, design, organization and promotion. Brittney Hoszkiw, Community assistance team specialist for Michigan Economic Development Corp, said the Main Street Four Point was created in the idea of building economic development through the root of historic preservation. According to National Register of Historical Place, North Lansing developed in 1843. Old Town grew to be the original downtown of Lansing.