The City of Lansing is home to dozens of small businesses, college students and several of the most important landmarks in Michigan history. It isn’t, however, a permanent home to many people. The Greater Lansing Area, defined as the East Lansing and Lansing areas combined, holds more than 400,000 residents. The City of Lansing is home to just over 100,000 of them. “Honestly a lot of people are trying not to own a home in the City of Lansing,” Nichole McCollum, a Lansing Realtor, said.
Economic growth has expanded in the city of Lansing and the city has become a prime location for entrepreneurship. The community has set a foundation of resources for startup companies in order to help new businesses thrive in the Lansing area. Neil Kane is an expert in entrepreneurship and startup companies as he is the director of undergraduate entrepreneurship at Michigan State University. In regards to the economic growth in Lansing, Kane said, “There’s a lot of development going on in the area, a lot of real estate development, new apartments going up. That’s got to be good news.”
In fact, the Greater Lansing Association of Realtors market data shows that the number of active single-family, condominium and town home listings at the end of each month has increased in the last year.
Owning a business is far from easy, even under perfect circumstances. Success is hard-won and results from months (or years) of effort and dedication. What, then, is the secret to success in the capital of the state, where organized events, politics and tourism make a significant difference in traffic? Chad Jordan, the owner of Cravings Gourmet Popcorn, believes in being genuine. “I think what helped us stay in business for 10 years was authenticity,” Jordan said.
Eviction blindsides many people at the bottom of the income scale. Citizens in poverty – those people making equal to or less than $12,000 annually in a single-person family according to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation – are in a tough situation because they have no resource net besides their paychecks.
For those who may disagree about ‘open carry’ should read the second amendment of the constitution: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” (“The Constitution of the United States,” Amendment 2). And “The right of the people to keep and bare arms,” is exercised annually in Lansing, at the city’s Capitol building. Wednesday, April 26 , nearly 400 activists stood strong behind the 2nd amendment by commemorating together in a peaceful protest amongst citizens and supporters. “It’s an open carry rally to educate the public on what your rights really are when it comes to fire arms,” said Sheriff Dar Leaf of Barry County. Leaf attends the rally each year because it’s important to him as a sheriff and citizen in the state of Michigan.
Joshua Laske, a graduate student studying veterinary medicine at Michigan State University, said that having a safe space growing up would have helped him feel comfortable with his sexuality earlier in his life. There is a debate on American college campuses about the necessity and constitutionality of safe spaces for students. A safe space is a place where people can go where they will not be harassed by others.
Lansing is best known for being the capital of Michigan, but, it’s also the location for numerous businesses and companies. But for many it seems as though the city is not their home, opting for longer commutes to work as opposed to living in the city. A majority of the restaurants and bars in the area close before dinner time only offering regular hours for late night food and drink during the weekend. Smaller niche businesses pepper the city and keep consistent crowds and regular customers at night while the Lansing Lugnuts provide mid to late day entertainment, but neither has been enough to revitalize the city. “We need a vibrant, walkable urban area that is cool and attractive to all walks of life,” said Scott Gillespie, president of Gillespie Company.
All across the nation there has been a 260 percent increase in the number of students in highly concentrated poverty school districts, whose poverty levels are 40 percent and above. School districts in this category are at high risks of childhood well-being and positive opportunities. High poverty school districts in Michigan have doubled from 120 in 2006 to over 240 pre-kindergarten through 12th grade schools in 2012. In Lansing, once you step out of comfort of downtown and the capitol building, many of the surrounding neighborhoods are plagued with at least some level of poverty. The poverty doesn’t stop there, as majority of the Lansing schools are located in highly-impoverished areas.
The city of Lansing is known for its diverse population and its school district is no exception. According to the Lansing School District, nearly 70 countries are represented among its population of students.