Plan to remodel Trowbridge Plaza has been changed

By Jamie DeRosa
Entirely East Lansing

unnamed (1)

The plan to renovate Trowbridge Plaza has been updated to gve the developer a bigger tax break The proposal presented to the council by the project’s main developer in May has turned out to be inaccurate, with the construction costs being higher than expected.

The Trowbridge Plaza is one of the oldest shopping centers in East Lansing and the idea of a renovation has been floating around for awhile. The proposal calls for the renovation of existing buildings, a new parking lot, and the biggest addition, the construction of a five-story mixed-use building.

The proposal approved by the council was for a 50 percent tax increment financing capture. In simpler terms it is a public financing method where property taxes increase. However a mistake in the planning has been found as the costs of the project are now expected to be higher than originally thought.

“The developer originally came to us and said they had this project planned for the area and that it was not financially viable, so we were able to use are Brownfield redevelopment authority tools in order to set up a Brownfield plan for the developer that would reimburse them for some of their eligible expenses,” East Lansing economic development administrator, Lori Mullins states. “There were some errors made and some things that required changes to the project that change the economics after that plan was approved. The developer came back to us and said that this isn’t enough to meet the needs of the project to make it viable.”

The original plan called for 50 percent of the taxes collected to be distributed to taxing jurisdictions such as the school district and city of East Lansing, while the other 50 percent of the taxes are used to reimburse the developer. The new proposal instead calls for 65 percent of the taxes to go to the developer, with only 35 percent going to the taxing jurisdictions over the course of the next 16 years.

The proposal met a mixed reaction by members of the community and council.

“Like most cities in Michigan, East Lansing has a budget crisis,” Council member Ruth Beier states. “Last night, the developer asked for an increase in the tax break from 50 to 65 percent on the grounds that his profits would not be high enough at 50 percent. I am embarrassed to say that the majority of council agreed with the developer and voted to approve the change. It is clear to me that the majority of council puts the interests of developers ahead of the interests of city residents, and that makes me pessimistic about the future of the city.”

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

East Lansing passes ordinance supporting public art

By Chris Hauler
Entirely East Lansing

The City Council passed an ordinance that helps further East Lansing’s reputation as a city dedicated to arts and culture. The ordinance, which passed 3-1, requires that 1 percent of the cost of both private and city construction be used for public art.

According to city attorney Thomas Yeadon, the ordinance will not apply to plans that have already been approved.

“Once the effective date is established, any project seeking site plan approval that has not already submitted its request will be required to comply with this,” said Yeadon. “Site approval is when you have to show staff how you are meeting the percent for art requirement.”
Continue reading

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lawsuit filed against City Clerk Marie Wicks

By Irum Ibrahim
Entirely East Lansing

Although being sued discourages many workers, it has made City Clerk Marie Wicks more dedicated.

Wicks was sued in August, for presumedly invalidating numerous signatures of a marijuana petition. The petition proposed that adults 21 and older should be allowed to possess one ounce or less of marijuana on private property.

While the petition was submitted timely on July 29, there was not enough time to canvass it to validate it by Aug. 12.

“In order to have been placed on the ballot, the petitions needed to be canvassed and certified by me in order for council to add a clarifying statement during the Aug. 6 meeting. At that point, the language would be certified to me by Aug. 12.,” said Wicks. “Mr. Hank submitted his petition on July 29 which was the last day. It would have been physically impossible for me to conduct a primary election on Aug. 5 and conduct a canvass of his petition during the week before a major election.”

Hank argued that rights of the First Amendment were being destroyed through Wicks’ actions and the response of her defenders. He also claimed that Wicks was not doing her job.

“In the summer, I asked Marie twice when the petition is due, and she gave the wrong dates both times: Aug. 29 and Aug. 13,” said attorney Jeffrey Hank.

However, Wicks said she mistakenly gave him the wrong dates for the petitions in 2013 and not in 2014.
Continue reading

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trowbridge Plaza becoming Trowbridge Village

By Jessica Steeley
Entirely East Lansing

Trowbridge Plaza, the strip mall at Harrison Road and Trowbridge Road, is being reconstructed into Trowbridge Village, which will contain a new apartment building and grocery store.

Trowbridgre Construction workers
Patty Sutherland, the owner of East Lansing Hot Yoga, said she is “excited as can be” about the redevelopment.

“I can hardly contain myself,” Sutherland said, “It’s an apartment building for college students, when my main customers are college students.”

David Castro, a construction worker at the site, said, “This will be some eye candy.”

“We’re going to be a shiny new penny, because we’ve been run-down, and now we’re going to look beautiful,” said Sutherland.

Tracy West, an employee at a hotel near the construction site, said, “I’m all for the change. That’s the main thoroughfare, and I think it will look nice.”

“This is a gateway, one of the gateways to East Lansing,” said Sutherland, “We want an attractive plaza here so that people can come into the city and think ‘Wow, what a beautiful city’.”

Continue reading

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

East Lansing calls on Legislature to ban discrimination against the LGBT community

By Jessica Steeley
Entirely East Lansing

The East Lansing City Council has called on the Michigan Legislature to immediately ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

According to Mayor Nathan Triplett, East Lansing has been a leader in this type of legislation for a long time.

The council urged the Legislature to act in a resolution passed at its Sept. 16 meeting.

This city was also one of the first to pass legislation banning discrimination based on race, said Triplett.

Travis Lunsford, a member of the LGBT community in East Lansing, said, “I really value living in a municipality that has such protections against housing and employment discrimination for people like myself, because I can be myself without fear of having repercussions for that.”

Emily Dievendorf, executive director of Equality Michigan, said that this “is legislation that we’ve been trying to pass for 30 years.”
Continue reading

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

East Lansing opens new maker studio

By Christopher Hauler
Entirely East Lansing

Maker Studio is an all ages space that offers something for everyone.

Maker Studio is an all ages space that offers something for everyone.

The moment had finally come. More than 60 people had crammed the studio, citizens were creating tie-dye t-shirts and crafts, learning how to sew, constructing Lego castles and children ran around with painted faces. Library Director Kristin Shelley said it was a dream come true.

That dream was realized after an anonymous donor gave the library money to establish a Maker Space on the second floor of the Marriott hotel. According to library officials, makerspaces are community centers with tools, supplies, computers and software that allow community members to design, prototype and manufacture in a collaborative space.

“The Maker Space is a place where the community can come create and create together,” said Shelley. “We can build and develop, and not just as individuals, but together as a community and build up the city.”

Features include 3D printing, sewing lessons, bike repairs, crafts, a messy projects room and a Lego room. The space will run until the end of February as a pilot project, but Shelley said she hopes enough expansion will occur to create a permanent studio after the initial five month period.
Continue reading

Share
Posted in Arts and culture, Library | Leave a comment

Red Cedar school closing still up for debate

By Irum Ibrahim
Entirely East Lansing

Red Cedar Elementary, closed in June, is still an issue at East Lansing School Board meetings. The school and its more than 300 students were up for discussions on Sept. 22 and 23.

The school was known for several reasons, such as having children from 45 countries and accommodating low-income or disabled students. However, several parents of former Red Cedar students found flaws in the school’s system.

Samina Naboulsi, mother of a Red Cedar student, said that she and her daughter enjoyed the global community of the school. “My daughter loved and thrived in an environment that celebrated a multitude of ethnicities and cultures.”

“In contrast, we wished there were more teachers of color who understood how to teach cross-culturally. Most American schools teach international children or children of immigrant families how to assimilate instead of incorporating their rich cultural values into the educational environment. Sadly, this process of assimilation continues through college and into the workplace. Claiming diversity does not equate assimilation of an ethnocentric paradigm,” Naboulsi added.
Continue reading

Share
Posted in Education, Elementary | Tagged | Leave a comment

Registration deadline for election coming up

By Jamie DeRosa
Entirely East Lansing

20141002_150623 (1)
This fall, Michigan will experience a general election, which will see candidates running for offices multiple political positions including senator, governor, and representative positions. With the election set to take place on Nov. 4, the Oct. 6 deadline of registering to register to vote is approaching.

The city of East Lansing and Michigan State University are looking at the election as an opportunity to inform the many young people in the area on as to why they should register and take part in an event that they may not have been able to before. The Associated Students of Michigan State University, is a student run organization whose mission statement is to make a collective student voice.

“We’ve identified helping students vote in this election because among all voting groups it is young people that show the largest detachment from their government…” states vice president of governmental affairs at ASMSU said the organization’s vice president of governmental affairs, KC Perlberg. “When one considers how simple it is to do, and what prices were paid to secure it, voting is a right that we can’t afford not to exercise.”

The organization has been sending out emails as well as handing out flyers all in an effort to inform the MSU population. Leading up to the deadline it’s very likely students will see members of the organization around campus informing students on how to approach the process of registering to vote.
Continue reading

Share
Posted in Elections, Government, Services | Leave a comment

Bailey Community Center future to be voted on

By Chris Hauler
Entirely East Lansing

The Bailey Center's future will be voted on by city council.

The Bailey Center’s future will be voted on by city council.

The agenda was jam packed. Dozens of East Lansing citizens filled City Hall council chambers the city’s monthly work session. While the council had a long list of items to discuss, the large crowd quickly made it known that only one item held its interest.

The plan for a two-hour meeting was thrown out the window when the opening communication from the audience lasted that duration alone. Citizen after citizen walked up to the podium strictly to discuss agenda item number eight, which had to do with the budget analysis and potential closing of the Bailey Community Center Early Age Child Care Program.

“The potential ripple out effect from (losing) the green space and that building is very risky,” said Matt Phillips, who lives in the Bailey community. “I see that space as an anchor to the neighborhood and a bridge between residents and Michigan State students.”

According to East Lansing Parks and Recreation Director Tim McCaffrey, a deficit of more than $100,000 and a drop in registration have been the main factors in his recommendation to shut down the program.
Continue reading

Share
Posted in Education, Government, Parks & recreation | Leave a comment

Family-owned restaurant has long tradition of Greek heritage

DSC_0125

Customers enjoy watching a basketball game at The Coral Gables.


By Nathaniel Gaynor
Entirely East Lansing

A local family-owned restaurant in East Lansing has been a staple in the city for more than 45 years.

<Listen to the story here.>

Share
Posted in Restaurants and bars | Comments Off