Old Town could see the effects of the shift back into the urban core

By Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Old Town is subject to the population shift of millennials moving back into the urban core, after so many years of sprawl, because of its walkability and number of things to do. “What we seem to be observing is that young millennials seem to have different interests and life style choices,” said Rex LaMore, a member of Michigan State University’s Urban and Regional Planning faculty. “They want to be in interesting places where there are a lot of opportunity and things to do. So they are moving back into central cities.” Old Town offers an array of unique festivals, an assortment of different styles of restaurants, and many niche shops as well as shops for basic necessities.

LGBT is A-OK: Acceptance is important for Old Town

Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community has been a big part of Old Town’s rich history and the acceptance of it is a big reason why those within the neighborhood and visitors feel a close-knit, family-like bond. Acceptance is in Old Town’s fabric. The tolerance for those that identify as LGBT can be seen as a symbol of the openness Old Town has for people of all colors, backgrounds, gender, sexual orientation, and beliefs. Maintaining the ability to express yourself and feeling welcome at all times is a huge part of the Old Town fabric. General Manager of Spiral Dance Bar, Sam Courtney, says it’s important for Old Town businesses to promote a welcoming and a tolerant message.

Old Town reliant on volunteering to stay afloat

By Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Volunteers have allowed Old Town to become what it is today, and are also the reason it remains such a vibrant community. Whether it be the upcoming Taste and Tour of Old Town event where guests can sample food from various restaurants in the Old Town area while touring Old Town property or Oktoberfest where visitors can dance to their favorite polka song, Old Town is known for its festivals. Festivals continue to be the heart and soul of the community. But with only one and half employees working for the Old Town Commercial Association, people dedicated to the growth of Old Town are a necessity to put on these events. Without volunteers, there are no festivals, without any festivals there is no money for the neighborhood, without any money Old Town is back to a red light district.

Wake Up Old Town brings businesses together in more ways than one

By Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Networking and collaboration is vital to the growth of Old Town. To accomplish this, the Old Town Commercial Association has been putting on an event called Wake Up Old Town. “Wake Up Old Town first and foremost is a networking event for people to come together, both Old Town and people that can serve Old Town businesses,” said Old Town Commercial Association Executive Director, Austin Ashley. “It’s a great time for us to collaborate and come together as a community.” During the event that takes place the first Friday of every month, it looks like a family reunion.

Vacant buildings turning into an anomaly for Old Town

Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

The vacant commercial buildings in Old Town aren’t set to be empty for much longer. One may notice when walking down the few streets that make up the Old Town neighborhood that there are a noticeable number of vacant buildings for such a small area. For the part of Lansing that prides itself so much on growth, it can be seen as a sad sight. But by no means are vacancies or trying to fill these buildings a problem for Old Town. “We are pretty much at capacity in terms of our commercial spaces at this point,” said Austin Ashley, Executive Director of the Old Town Commercial Association.

Waiting for a bus at Old Town? Don't expect your wait to get shorter anytime soon

By Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Old Town Lansing is not slated to see public bus service become more frequent in the near future. That’s bad news for Old Town bus riders. Currently, during evening and weekend hours CATA will only pass through the Old Town area roughly every 45 minutes. This does not include the time it takes to get to the downtown Lansing CATA bus station where one must connect to the specific bus that will take him or her to Old Town. One must connect again when leaving Old Town to get on the right bus that will take them home.

Mixed-use development planned for Old Town in limbo

By Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

The plan to add a mixed-use community development to Old Town is in the process of trying to obtain more financing. It’s been about two and a half years since Mayor Virg Bernero announced $3 million in renovation for the property that stands at 1113 N. Washington Ave. Since then, the property to the right of it, 1119 N. Washington Ave., has been torn down, leaving the lone tattered and vacant building by itself. Dr. Sam Saboury, the head of the project, plans to add on to the current building, bringing in 18 one-bedroom lofts, 5 two-bedroom units, and 5,035 square feet of space to be rented for a commercial shop or shops. The hope for him is to start the project this summer.