Plastic bag in hand, Bruce Palmar of Lansing Township walks about a mile a day from Michigan Avenue to Saginaw Highway to pick up cans and various items he finds along the way. “From Michigan Avenue to Saginaw Highway I walk and I clean all that stuff out and people quit throwing that stuff in there,” Bruce Palmar said. Trina Palmar who is Bruce Palmar’s wife said once they began to play an active role in their neighborhood, others joined in. “We started it and everyone in the neighborhood kind of got the idea and they started doing it a little bit more,” Trina Palmar said. Bruce and Trina Palmar have lived in the township since 2007 and became active members in improving their community and would like to see it flourish.
For the first time in 12 years, the Capital City will be hosting the Michigan Township Association Conference & Expo. This year’s theme is “come together” which will allow the unique talent brought forth by over 1,000 other township officials to collaborate and create success in each of their communities.
Lansing Township will provide its guests with the “experience Lansing Township” tour through Eastwood Towne Center, said Lansing Township Supervisor Diontrae Hayes. The conference will bring networking opportunities for unity amongst officials all working towards a common goal. According to Julie Pingston, who is the senior vice president and chief operating officer for the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau, the host hotels will be including a shuttle service from the conference to the hotels.
According to 2015 Census data, Lansing Township has a total of 8,145 people. The township is made up of both urban and suburban islands of about 4.93 square miles of land. Amongst the 1,242 other townships in Michigan, Supervisor Diontrae Hayes of Lansing Township said “it’s not the smallest but not the biggest.” Still, it’s getting bigger in some ways. “Lansing Township is unique with its new construction and new businesses,” Hayes said.
The tumultuous windstorm that swept through Michigan on March 8 left Susan Flores feeling as if it was ‘just a normal day.” But her workplace’s neighbors may beg to differ. “The whole strip with Little Caesars, McDonald’s and all the way down to Taco Bell lost power,” said Flores, who works at the Subway located on the corner of Saginaw Highway and Waverly Road. “Our restaurant was okay and it hasn’t impacted us so far … It was just a normal day.”
At the storm’s peak, there were more than 20,000 outages in the area, according to Board of Water & Light.
Currently, there are no plans underway showing signs of re-development for the now-empty lot that was once the Waverly Golf Course. Due to a zoning moratorium expiring in Lansing Township, the 120-acre property owned by the City of Lansing closed in 2007. The lot is now a “single-family residential area,” according to Sam Schultz, who is the township planner in Lansing Township. “Currently, it is used as recreation space and it would have to be re-zoned if anything was to be done,” Schultz said. “If zoning was re-done, it could be used for only the options under the township ordinances which involve low resident intensity like churches or public parks and playgrounds.”
Holly Madill who is the outreach specialist for the Michigan State University Land Policy Institute and Planning & Zoning Center provided information on zoning moratoriums from the Michigan State University Extension.
John Elias, who lives across the street from Elizabeth Park in Lansing Township, recalls his neighbor, Cheryl Basey, putting her ambitions into action. Basey had a family to worry about. Before passing away, Elias recalls her being the driving force behind creating Elizabeth Park, and arranging for the upkeep of it afterwards. “Most people in this area rent houses and have kids. Cheryl’s house was right next to this empty lot and on top of that she couldn’t see her kids when they were playing outside,” Elias said.
Opened in 2002, Eastwood Towne Center has brought new forms of work and leisure to the residents of Lansing Township. Emily Desrochers, who is the general manager for Eastwood, said that the outdoor shopping center truly is the “center of attention.”
“With a unique lineup already including Forever 21, Sephora, Apple and NCG Cinemas, we continue to look for ways to add as many attractive retailers to support our project and the Lansing community,” Desrochers said. “Supported by our strong lineup of shops, services restaurants and entertainment, Eastwood Towne Center’s target audience is women between the ages 18 to 55.”
In order to maintain community outreach the variety of stores and brands target their own market with social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram provide the opportunity to deliver the tenants their own tailored communication that reach their entire social community. Aimed at “younger knowledge workers” employee at Victoria’s Secret Rachel Niceveski said she normally sees women in their 30s and 40s who are shopping for their nieces or daughters for a gift or birthday present.
Lansing Township, which lies within Ingham County, has generated a majority of its revenue from property taxes paid by residents and business in the area since 2015. According to the 2016 Municipal Finance Summary, Lansing Township had a total of $14,753,216 to allocate throughout all departments in the community. Michigan State University economics professor Ronald Fisher, who has reviewed Lansing Township’s expenditures before, says the expenditures shows a large portion of a loan that needs to be paid back. “From what I see, the township has a high fraction in debt which is larger than normal,” Fisher said. “This one is a special case.