From the outside looking in, an economist might look at Haslett as a “bedroom community” compared to its neighbor and seemingly-always-growing Okemos. But to Emily Drummelsmith, who grew up in the Haslett area, the two communities are not all that different to her. And that’s just the way Meridian Township officials want residents of both communities to feel.
“Honestly I kind of grew up in both so they’re not that different to me truly,” said Drummelsmith, who has been a resident of Haslett for 20 years. “I always spent my time shopping in Okemos and walking around in Haslett. It’s just honestly not different to me.”
Haslett and Okemos are both unincorporated communities governed by Meridian Charter Township.
Local representatives have been working together on an initiative called “Shaping the Avenue” to spark economic development across four mid-Michigan cities. This is a multi-jurisdictional partnership between the City of East Lansing, City of Lansing, Lansing Township, Meridian Township and the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA).
Tabitha Mpamira was at work scrolling through social media when she suddenly thought, “here we go again”. It has happened again. Another mass shooting in the United States has captured the media’s attention and some citizens of Meridian Township are not surprised. “I’ve seriously grown cynical,” said Tabitha Mpamira, who is a citizen of Okemos. “ I figured here we go again, and nothing is going to be done and something else is going to come up and take over the news.”
On Sunday, 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley, grabbed his AR-556 rifle, and opened fire
in First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, TX.
One Kiwanis Club; One Meridian: Okemos and Haslett Kiwanis Clubs are merging together as one
The Kiwanis Club of Haslett meets up on Tuesday mornings at Blondie’s Barn to
discuss the executive board agenda over breakfast, and on Oct. 25, they met to continue their talk about their merger with the Kiwanis Club of Okemos. “The reason for the merger, we lost four of our members to passing away this past year. Then we had three more of our active members become disabled for health reasons,” said Terence Carroll, who is the former secretary of the Kiwanis Club of Okemos. “It was an awful amount of people to lose within a year and we looked at Haslett, and their membership is stable and we thought we’ll just merge.”
The Kiwanis Club is an international organization with more than 5,000 clubs in North America, according to the Kiwanis International website.
Meridian Township has a variety of attractions to offer its community, ranging from various artworks throughout the township to historical places that are unique to citizens in the area. The township even offers a self-guided walking tour that people can go on to gain historical information on the township. Here are three places that I visited, each listed under the tour guidelines, that citizens of the community or travelers can visit during their stay in Meridian Township. Disco Fish at Wonch Park – Okemos, MI
Meridian Township is a supporter of artwork by displaying artwork all over the
township and recently three “Disco Fish” were installed in Wonch Park. “We just installed them last week,” said Meridian Township Treasurer Julie Brixie.
Fit4Mom is a workout program designed for women going through all stages of motherhood. This group meets in Meridian Township on the corner of Jolly and Hagadorn Roads. These women meet for classes where they workout, plan mom’s night outs, play groups and where they discuss community events.
Construction on the new L.O. Eye Care, located at 5100 Marsh Rd., is going slower than expected. The new location opening on March 31, in Okemos presents other business opportunities for the surrounding businesses in the Marsh Road plaza. “We did run into an issue with a design component of the new office and after spending a couple of weeks trying to find a way to achieve the look we desired, the plan had to be altered,” said Lisa Rentz, who is ahead of the construction progress of the new L.O. Eye Care center in Okemos. “This resulted in a slight delay in our original timeline,”
Rentz is the director of marketing for every L.O. Eye Care location in Michigan. “We have 11 other locations including two in East Lansing and one in Williamston as well,” said Rentz.
In 1970, 6-year-old Kirk Frayer, now an employee at Haslett True Value Hardware, moved to a house near Lake Lansing in Haslett. He would come to spend summer days at Lake Lansing Amusement Park, which once sat on the site of what is now Lake Lansing Park South. “I was able to spend almost every day there from a woman who was watching me, and ride on the airplane thing, the Ferris wheel, all that,” Frayer said. “My grandma and grandpa used to go there when they were young, and yeah, that was a really nice place.”
According to Meridian Township historical records held at the Haslett Library, the park featured the Dodgem, a small wooden covered stage and seating area where bands would perform, a hand-crafted wooden carousel, and a wooden roller coaster that operated for 60 years. Lifelong Haslett resident Lisa Harkness said she also remembers riding a tilt-a-whirl, cups, and a Ferris wheel at the park.
On the first and third Saturday of every month from December to April, shoppers at Meridian Mall can stop and browse the natural and locally grown produce sold at the Meridian Mall farmer’s market. Instead of the usual limitation of fast food served at the mall’s food court, shoppers can bypass the food court and browse tables filled with an assortment of different homemade and homegrown goodies. “The farmer’s market has been around for over 40 years,” said Christine Miller, Meridian farmer’s market manager. “The success of the market has been from the great support of customers and vendors over the years. This affects the community by providing them with access to fresh, local products and helping the local economy.”
Meridian Township’s Director of Parks and Recreation, LuAnn Maisner, said around 45 vendors set up shop up and down the JCPenney corridor.