Feeling the squeeze-more Manhattan natives moving to NYC’s boroughs

NEW YORK — As more people move into a city, population, housing and overall living expenses seem to go one way—up. Manhattan is no different. People move in, prices increase, and those who have lived in a neighborhood their entire life may find that they can no longer afford it, said Nicole Gelinas a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a local based think tank, and an expert in state and local fiscal policy, along with public transportation and infrastructure. The cost of living has changed significantly over several different time periods, and for different reasons she said. “Since the financial crisis, so we’ll say since 2008, the sales market has certainly increased markedly in prices,” Gelinas said.

Mason’s population moves toward becoming younger, more diverse

As a predominately white, older and wealthier community, one wouldn’t expect the rural town of Mason to be very diverse. However, the community is moving in a more diverse direction, according to resident Erica Earls. “I think Mason is slowly getting there, but it’d be nice if we could expedite that process,” said Earls. As of 2010, 21.7 percent of Mason residents were from the ages of 20-34 and 92.4 percent identified themselves as Caucasian, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Having diversity within a community depends on a lot of factors, according to Michigan State University’s Professor of Urban & Regional Planning and Director of MSUE Urban Collaborators, Zenia Kotval.

Rental housing in East Lansing serving unique market

East Lansing has a unique set of needs to meet when it comes to rental housing. The city provides and regulates rental housing units that accommodate a diverse renter base ranging from local college students to long-term residents. While the level of renter-occupied housing units in adjacent cities like Lansing and Mason falls below 50 percent, rental housing comprises 66.5 percent of the total housing units in East Lansing, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. “When you look at East Lansing and compare it to other cities, even other cities in our region, the proximity to the university really plays a major role in what type of housing can be developed here and what type of housing can be successful here in terms of the underlying economics,” said Thomas Fehrenbach, community and economic development administrator for East Lansing. Fehrenbach said that analyzing the local rental market requires taking into account the circumstances that are specific to East Lansing.

The Center City District project is changing the face of downtown East Lansing

The Center City District project is something that the East Lansing Planning Building and Development Department has been working on since July 2016. It is a project that will further the development of downtown East Lansing. This project is rather large, but how well informed are the people of East Lansing about it? When speaking to some of East Lansing’s residents it quickly became apparent that the residents of East Lansing did not know much in regards to the Center City District project. Varying in response from “I don’t know much about that (in reference to the Center City District Project),” or “Is that the new apartment complex?” and things like “Oh, that’s where the Target is going in,” no one was informed to the point where they could establish where the project was going in or what was really going to be there structurally.

Remodeling bringing downtown Mason back to life

There’s a lot of historical buildings in the city of Mason, many which have been around for a long time. The city is encouraging businesses to remodel and look more presentable. As one of the older cities in the state of Michigan, Mason has done a nice job in keeping the city a place where people can go and hang out regularly. The downtown area is a major focal point that brings in a lot of traffic and the city tries to get businesses to take pride in their building. “What we’ve tried to do in the city, and this started 20-ish years ago, is encourage the building owners to take pride in the way their buildings look and to take some ownership on their part in creating the downtown square that we want to have,” said Mason Mayor Russ Whipple.

Journalism at Michigan State University

Real estate offers opportunities to grow one’s own business

The trend of property buying has continued to grow, especially in Detroit. There are currently 1,300 properties in Detroit that are in some stage of foreclosure, default, auction or bank owned, while the number of homes listed for sale. With the increase of available property being sold and auctioned, there comes an increase in the number of of property buyers. Like Vernon Grimes III, a Detroit native who has recently started his own property development and management company with four other co-owners. There are almost 28 million small businesses in the U.S. and over 22 million are self-employed with no additional payroll or employees, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Does the ‘New Detroit’ have room for native Detroiters?

DETROIT — On a cloudy Sunday afternoon, Janet Webster Jones, a lifelong Detroiter and owner of Source Booksellers, recalls a time when black Detroit residents were unable to invest in their own city. “Detroit went through a period where outside investors would not come to Detroit for reasons of race and fear of a place where people don’t look like them,” explained Jones. “And the banks wouldn’t give any money to the black and brown Detroiters who wanted to invest in the city.”

Jones felt that this had to do with representation in the bank system. “There was a time when we had absolutely no bank tellers of color,” she recalled. “Then Dr. Charles H. Wright went on a campaign to get banks to hire black people as tellers at least, which is the lowest level of employment.”

However, despite the adversities faced by blacks in Detroit, many still managed to create independent communities.

Residents, employees and business owners share their view of Lansing’s future

Every city has its stakeholders – men, women and children who want to see the community grow, businesses thrive, education improve and popularity skyrocket. The collective viewpoint of these individuals in the City of Lansing could determine the future of Michigan’s capital city. Ariniko O’Meara – Vice President of the REO Town Commercial Association

Ariniko O’Meara is no stranger to the Lansing area. She spends much of her time in REO Town, a Lansing district in the middle of an impressive comeback. “I was born and raised in Lansing until I was 22,” she said.

Border of Detroit and Grosse Pointe Park reflects gap, tensions between city and suburbs

DETROIT — Christine Matthews and Marlon Wilson have lived near the border of Grosse Pointe Park and Detroit almost their entire lives. Both in their 40s, they describe a Detroit unimaginable to many due to the recent fall of the city. “It was very diverse in the beginning. You had a lot more togetherness,” explained Matthews. Matthews is a 47-year-old homemaker and has lived in her childhood Detroit home since 1971, apart from a short period of time living out of state.