Old Town 4-3-50 helps keep money in the community

For areas like Old Town, it is essential that they keep money within their local community. Many of the businesses are owned and operated by individuals who rely on their business for their livelihood. This is easier said than done. However, the Old Town Commercial Association has devised a program with the hope of keeping money in Old Town. Old Town 4-3-50 is a project within community, and its goals are to support the businesses in the neighborhood and keep money in the community, according to the OTCA’s website.

Public art represents what Old Town wants to be all about

Whether you are passing or just stopping by, the first couple of things you may notice are all the beautiful and unique art pieces displayed that ultimately shows what Old Town is all about. When Old Town was revitalized in the late 80’s and early 90’s, there were a lot of empty buildings being bought by artists that would use them for studios, media studios, and professional art galleries. It has been the type of area where creative businesses have made it their home, according to Sarah Christiansen, Old Town Commercial Association board member and owner of Katalyst Gallery and Gift Boutique. Dawn Gorman is the communications and events manager at the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, discussed how Old Town became an art district along with how each sculpture, mural, and any piece of art is made. “When Old Town first started out, the main people that were doing stuff in the area were artists,” said Gorman.

Interns making an impact in Old Town

Old Town Commercial Association interns are making their mark in Old Town. Helping with events, talking with sponsors and working on the newsletter are all just a few tasks they help with to grow the neighborhood.

Some Old Town residents see a need for more neighborhood eateries

Folks from around Old Town can tell you all the time that having such a close community and successful small businesses are what makes Old Town so unique, different, and almost complete. However, there is one thing that a few residents wish to see in the nearby future. Andrea Kerbuski, one of the few residents in Old Town believes there is a lack of restaurant options in the area. Sweetielicious is set to open and it is the type of place needed in the area to balance out the existing restaurants and provide residents with more options. “It is hard to get into places like Golden Harvest and we need at least another five more food places to eat at to make it more diverse and more of an attraction to city residents and visitors,” said Kerbuski.

Volunteers help Old Town thrive

Volunteers are oftentimes the unsung heroes keeping small communities alive. In Old Town, the volunteers allow the community to not only survive, but to thrive. Ken Schroeppel, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado Denver and an expert in downtown revitalization, said that if people are really committed to their local community, there is a much greater chance for success. The people of Old Town have certainly taken this concept to heart. Matt Hund, a resident of Old Town as well as a member of the Board of Directors, said that volunteers are an integral part of the community.

Old Town’s events offer a unique side of Greater Lansing

When you think about Lansing, you think about the Michigan State Capitol, Michigan State University, St. Mary Cathedral, and the Porter Park Zoo. However there is not much talk when it comes to people talking about Old Town, as many people have yet to visit this unique and vibrant area that provides its residents with something new every month consistently for so many years. From the Chocolate Walk, Taste and Tour, Chalk of the Town, and ScrapFest, Old Town provide its residents and visitors with a new event or activity every month to make it unlike anywhere else throughout Lansing. These events really appeal to families and young professionals throughout Old Town as many events are successful, however the success does not all just come from community participation.

Olympic Broil withstands the test of time

As he sits in his restaurant, Olympic Broil owner Mike Alexander interacts with almost every customer that walks through the door, and he knows many of them by name. Like a typical boy growing up in Michigan in the 1960s, Alexander spent his summer days wandering down to the river with his friends to drop a fishing line in the water and hang out. “One summer they were building the Dog n Suds,” Alexander said. “Being the young guys we were, my friend and I thought it was great to watch the welders work.”

At the time, Alexander had no idea he’d spend the majority of his life working in this very same place. Originally a Dog n Suds in the 1960s, Mike’s father Jim Alexander acquired the property at 1320 N. Grand River Ave.