Homeless Angels make a difference

by Zachery Fanko
Lansing Star Staff Writer

Although Mike Karl and Jessep Magoon, started Homeless Angels a mere five months ago, they have already made a difference helping the homeless in the Lansing area.

Both Karl and Magoon point to the Internet and social media as the tool that has helped them the most in reaching out to not only people who need help but also citizens who have a desire to help but are not sure where to start.

“People want to see that they’re actually making a difference,” said Karl. “With social media, we can show everyone how their donations are helping.”

Homeless Angels not only helps people in the Lansing area but in other states as well.

“We have had people reach out to us from as far as Florida, Texas, and even L.A.,” said Karl. “And with our social media, we were able to seek out agencies that could help them.”

The biggest challenge is changing the stereotype of the homeless.

“People look at homeless and think they’re a drunk, addict, or lazy,” said Magoon. “Our mission is to change that perception and not only help these people find homes, but help them change their lives.”

Karl and Magoon both point at their past experiences as motivation for the movement. Karl still remembers not too long ago being in the same position as a lot of those he helps on daily basis.

“I was homeless eight years ago,” said Karl. “My experiences have helped me relate to those in need.”


History comes alive in Lansing

by Alex Bauer
Lansing Star Staff Writer

The Historical Society of Greater Lansing is unveiling new events and renewing their collections to help showcase Lansing’s history.

The HGSL currently hosts a display on the first floor of City Hall called “Lansing Votes: How Six Votes Changed the City of Lansing.”


(Above: A display from the Lansing Votes exhibit in the City Hall atrium)

In this audio clip, Valerie Marvin, president of HSGL, gives a tour of the exhibit.


Marvin also talks about an upcoming fundraiser. The event will be a tour of Lansing Community College’s Herrmann House. Those who purchase a ticket will be offered food and a tour of the home featuring objects from the house’s past on display, according to Marvin.

To help spread the news of the Herrmann House event– and help strengthen the connection between the community and the historical society– the organization hosted a booth at the 59th Michigan Antiquarian Book and Paper Show. Maintaining a strong connection with the community is important to the historical society, Marvin explained.


(Above: The display for the Historical Society of Greater Lansing at the Michigan Antiquarian & Paper Show)

In recent weeks, HSGL hosted a wide variety of different events from “The Lansing State Journal Remembers” to “Restauranturing in Lansing — Then and Now.” Finding the story untold is something that the historical society loves to learn about, according to Marvin.

The video above highlights the event that explored the life of artist Leonard Jungwirth, who is known for his Spartan sculpture at Michigan State University. To connect his story with the modern age, HSGL Vice President Bill Castanier arranged to have a 3d printer made a replica from the original design during the event.


(Above: The 3D printer in action and with the finished product)

Besides hosting events, the Historical Society of Greater Lansing collects artifacts in the hope of establishing a permanent place to showcase them, Marvin explained. The society continues to look for a home, and Lansing remains the only city in the state without a permanent facility. Until that time, the society will continue to mount “pop-up” events in the area.

The Historical Society of Greater Lansing makes sure there are plenty of activities throughout the community to attend.


A dog’s day in Lansing is not always a great one

unnamedby Riccard Cozzolino
Lansing Star Staff Writer

A dog is known as man’s best friend. However, in the Lansing area over the past decade, man’s best friend has seen some rough times.

Dogfighting, abuse and neglect are problems that many dogs endure in the Lansing metro area. Ingham Animal Control takes in or picks up thousands of pets every year.

“We take in dogs, bunnies, cats, farm animals that have been in bad situations,” explained animal control worker Trisha Struck. “We take as many as we can.”

While there are no official numbers on the amount of abused dogs that enter the shelter every year, the Ingham County shelter accept all animals without other options. Although it is not a no-kill shelter, finding suitable homes for the animals is the primary goal

“Last year we had no euthanizations of any adoptable dog,” said Struck.

An ‘adoptable’ dog is one that healthy and does not show signs of being “overly aggressive.” Dogfighting in the animal’s past is often a dog who looks to have a troubled future.

Dogfighting is illegal in the state of Michigan. According to the law 750, section 49 of the Michigan Penal Code, a person “shall not knowingly own, possess, use, buy, sell, offer to buy or sell, import, or export an animal for fighting or baiting, or as a target to be shot at as a test of skill in marksmanship.”

Breaking the law is now a felony, and, if convicted, a person can spend up to four years in prison. If the animal is trained by this person to attack a human, and “thereby causes the death of that person, the owner is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment for life or by imprisonment for a maximum term of any term of years greater than 15 years.”

Although the general public may not realize it, dogfighting and animal cruelty are still huge problems in the Lansing area. In 2013 two men were charged with the stabbing, killing and hanging of a pit bull from a tree in the northwest corner of Lansing. Their trial is currently ongoing, and the men could face up to four years in prison if convicted.

“There didn’t used to be a trial, because they couldn’t find which men killed the dog,” Ingham Animal Control worker Catelyn Evans said. “It took them almost a year to find them. We had to make posters to tell people to turn these guys in.

In another grisly case, MSU student Andrew Thompson was arrested in 2010 for killing 12 greyhound puppies. Thompson had the animals shipped from Italy, took them home and then beat and killed them. He pleaded guilty, but was not given any jail time.

Animal neglect is not something that can go away overnight. However, the people at the animal control work every day to make the situation better. People can donate pet food that the shelter then makes available to families in need.

People who cannot afford to take care of their animals are urged to bring them to the shelter rather than abandon them so that they can be re-homed.

Volunteer Cathy Baker said they have adoption events most weekends. “Petco and Petsmart often carry our events,” said volunteer Cathy Baker. “We use our mobile adoption van to move the animals to places we know people will be.”

“Usually we have 15-20 different animals. We have dogs, cats and even bunnies. All that need a good home,” said Baker.

Even if the animals do not get adopted on the day of the event, they still sometimes find a loving home.

“I took Amia home with me. We still try to find her a new place to live, but for now she’s made her stay in my house,” said Baker.

The Ingham County’s website offers a detailed list of adoption opportunities.

“If we can find a new home for even one dog, we’ve done our job,” said Struck with a smile.


Montgomery Drain complicates Red Cedar Renaissance project


by Kyna Garrett
Lansing Star StaffWriter

The Red Cedar Renaissance project is still in its early stages, as it continues to battle difficulties with development of the site.

The project involves LEAP, Ferguson Development and Continental Real Estate of Columbus, Ohio, in an effort to build a residential and commercial space in the old Red Cedar Golf Course, which sits on the polluted Montgomery Drain off of Michigan Avenue.

The Old Red Cedar Golf Course that will be developed into a residential and commercial area.

The Old Red Cedar Golf Course that will be developed into a residential and commercial area.

According to Ingham County Drain Commissioner Patrick Lindemann,  “The Red Cedar Renaissance takes place in the heart of what is called the Montgomery Drain. It is one of the most polluted discharges from the Red Cedar River.”

Lindemann said the drain, which has existed since 1902, has gone through many evolutions and could cause problems with flooding while developing the site, though he hopes to work with the water and incorporate it in the development.

“In order to fix that pollution problem, we would rebuild the drain and bring it up to today’s standards,” Lindemann said. “In order to do that, it requires ripping up a whole bunch of land and redoing the drain in such a way that may be interfering with any development that would have to take place later.”

Lindemann said building up the site into a residential and commercial area while also rebuilding the drain would save money.

CEO of Continental Real Estate Frank Kass spoke at a meeting on Feb. 12 with other developers announcing plans for the site. According to Kass, the site has natural barriers like the Montgomery Drain to work with, which he claims is more beneficial than having nothing to work with at all.

“There’s going to be water running through the site because that’s the way the water flows,” Kass said at the meeting, regarding the Montgomery Drain at the site.

CEO of Continental Real Estate Frank Kass presenting on Feb. 12 what designs of what the finished site could look like.

CEO of Continental Real Estate Frank Kass presenting the designs of what the finished site could look like.

The plans include building undergraduate student housing at the farthest east side of the site closest to campus and a hospital at the far west corner of the site, according to Kass.

He announced at the meeting that the buildings will have a modern, older look, but nothing will be too out of place.

“We’ll have a world class hotel, tremendous housing and great restaurants,” said Developer Joel Ferguson.

Ferguson said the site is still in the preparation stage, and he expects it to take a long time.

Joel Ferguson of the Ferguson Developers presenting the goals of the Red Cedar Renaissance Project.

Joel Ferguson of the Ferguson Developers presenting the goals of the Red Cedar Renaissance Project.









LEAP Director of Business Development Steve Willobee said Lindemann is working with LEAP to resolve flooding issues in the land before beginning construction, He also said they are taking all factors into consideration for the project.

Lindemann said he hopes the finished project will attract residents from all over Lansing and encourage residents to enjoy themselves and spend their money.

“It’s going to be a destination for people to go to and enjoy themselves,” Lindeman said.

He said he thinks the site, once it is complete, will be a focal point of Michigan Avenue and will be a project far beyond urban renewal.

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Women’s Center offers makeovers through “Work Your Image”

by Danielle St. Marie
Lansing Star Staff Writer

Job interviews are stressful, and the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing helps women prepare – inside and outside.

The VivEsta Salon in Lansing on Monday April 14, 2014, women from the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing participated in the “Work Your Image” event at VivEsta Salon in Lansing.

Before the makeovers began, each women participating went to the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing’s professional clothes closet and picked out a new outfit complete with accessories.

Each outfit was brought to Vivesta Salon in Lansing, where the women received their makeovers.

“It’s one of my favorite days here (at the center),”said Cindie Alwood, co-founder of the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing. “We help them with the inside work at the center and we find the salon stylists to help with the outside.”

VivEsta Salon owner Dawn Beyers donated each woman’s makeover purely to see the joy on their faces for their upcoming interviews.


Beyers runs the program “Cut It Out” that teaches the stylists how to communicate with a woman they feel is experiencing domestic abuse. Brochures are in the salon to spread awareness and to provide a contact number for women to call to get to a safe place away from the abuse.


“The salon owner knows what it feels like to be where these women have been,” said Alwood.


Problem Areas

By Meg Abebe

Several areas within the Lansing community have been identified as potential problems according to former Lansing City Council President Carol woods, Averill Woods Neighborhood Association President Melissa Huber and Lansing Police Department Public Information Officer Robert Merrit.

All of these locations serve alcohol and have been the source of various problems including fights and shootings as well as underage drinking.

Fahrenheit Ultra Lounge & Grille

farenheit.jpgThe most recent incident occurred last August when a Grand Rapids man was shot in the leg after an argument in the parking lot.

According to an article on the WILX website, “The club has a history of incidents like that over the years when it was under different management.. .It’s not surprising to hear about shooting over the weekend.”

“Once an area gets labeled in a negative way, it’s very hard to come back from that,” said B.J. Rycus, president of the South Lansing Business Association.

Fahrenheit Ultra Lounge is known for their popular yet crowded parties.

“Well when you over promote an event that has the capacity to only hold 500 people and 1,000 plus show up, you have to put two and two together,” said Wood.

The Firm Lansing and Secrets Night Club

Similar events have occurred at The Firm nightclub located in downtown Lansing. In late 2012, shots were fired outside the club and a bullet struck someone on the sidewalk. The victim was found later. “Officers were unable to locate anyone shooting or getting shot,” said LPD’s Public Information’s Officer Robert Merritt  “They did locate some spent (fired) gun shell casings on the sidewalk.”

thefirm_1           thefirm_2

Just across the street is Secrets Night Club, where reported assaults and altercations have occurred as recent as earlier this year.

“LPD has responded to two assault reports,” Merritt said “I believe as long as alcohol is involved, any business can be subject to potential issues/problems.”

Cozy Food Mart

cozyn addition to bars and nightclubs, some retailers and licensed liquor stores also raise concerns.

“Cozy Food Mart, South Waverly, has been one of the main concerns,” said Huber. The liquor store, which is technically located in Eaton Township, has been investigated for selling alcohol to underage customers.

“In the past year, it was the focus of a sting operation using city, county, state and federal forces.” Huber said. However, the owner dismisses the concerns. “They always come,” said XXXX, the Cozy Food Mart’s owner. “We check ID’s every time.”




Soup Spoon Café leads restaurant growth on Michigan Avenue

by Colleen Otte
Lansing Star Staff Writer


Nick Gavrilides, owner of The Soup Spoon Café, said he feels Michigan Avenue is at the forefront of Lansing’s local restaurant renaissance.

The Soup Spoon, located at 1419 E. Michigan Ave., is a local, independently owned café that regularly serves folks from Michigan State and Sparrow Hospital, corporate groups, neighborhood citizens and international visitors.  Gavrilides said he feels such restaurants offer more to the community than large chains.

He said local restaurants are doing amazing things with food and service – despite not being presented in what he described as the “beautiful, brand new . . . cookie-cutter boxes” of chain restaurants.”

Gaviledes said independent restaurants are where patrons will find “the very best food, given to you with the very best service.” 

Lansing’s “foodie” potential

Former Jim’s Tiffany owner Ange Vlahakis said there are 500 restaurants in the Ingham County area: 250 chain and 250 independently owned.  The problem, he said, is that the independently owned restaurants have a high turnover, so the same local entrepreneurs are not in business for long.

Emil’s owner Paul Grescowle said these enterprising local entrepreneurs have revitalized Michigan Avenue and have significantly restored the corridor from its once embarrassing state.

Click here for map of Michigan Avenue restaurants

Gavrilides said independent restaurants are important to the city and deserve support. “I skip over that chain restaurant to make sure I go to the independent guy, because I know what it means for him to sell me that pint of beer as opposed to maybe another guy.”

“We want to have the very best food – the finest scratch-made products, the best, freshest locally-sourced things,” he said.

The Soup Spoon provides only Michigan craft beer and sources its summer vegetables from an organic farmer from Alma.  “If you do your homework and go digging . . . you can find both quality and reasonable pricing in the area,” said Gavrilides.

“As far as independently owned and operated restaurants around town, I think that we’re all pulling for each other, and we all know each other and we all go to each others’ restaurants,” Gavrilides said.  “We give each other some gentle ribbing, but it really is a camaraderie.”


Robert Jenkins: The Most Interesting Man In Michigan

by Troy Jefferson
Lansing Star Staff Writer


Robert Jenkins enters the SmittenDust Studio in Dimondale… his other place of business. The Detroit native teaches a comedy workshop on Tuesday nights at the arts-focused studio in the Lansing suburb.

The “funny” thing is the prize-winning comedian has taken a different road to stand-up than most. Jenkins is not only a comedian but an attorney.

“I was told I had a good sense of humor,” said Jenkins, who called himself a “class clown.”

Jenkins favorite personal joke

“My neighbor is into deer hunting. I want to try it, but I suffer from ADD. I can’t wait in the woods, but I want to practice. I figure I’ll wait until Jehovah’s Witnesses comes to my door. ‘Sure, I’ll take a Watchtower, just put these antlers on.’”

“I’ve been banned from participating in Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday, but my pet peeve is 15-16 year old kids who don’t have a costume but want candy.  I decided to play a game. You want candy with no costume? Sure, just put these antlers on.”

Jenkins grew up idolizing comedians like Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor and Franklyn Ajaye but he always wanted to be an attorney.

The comedy and law professions aren’t as different as one would think. Jenkins said both  have their positives. Comedy provides an “immediate payoff” while the legal profession is a “longer payoff.”

One of his workshop participants, Margot Valles, also thought the two professions helped him run the class better. “Jenkins’ experience on stage and in the courtroom was apparent in the comfortable way he ran the class,” said Valles.

Jenkins taught a four-week workshop in which he taught his students how to become better comedians.

Jenkins said it doesn’t even feel like he’s teaching. “It feels more like I’m just leading a discussion.”

Jenkins gave out weekly reading assignments from Greg Dean’s “Step by Step to Stand-Upand invited local comedians to speak with the class.

“Most of us had zero stand-up experience, while two gentlemen had been open-mic-ing for a while. In other words, he faced a tough and unusual crowd but handled it well,” said Valles.

The workshop was broken up into four parts: humor theory, the “nuts and bolts” of a joke, styling and editing. During my visit at the workshop, Jenkins explained the different styles of comedy.

“I’m a stationary comedian,” said Jenkins, whose towering appearance makes it easy to mistake him for a football player.

Jenkins prefers to stand in one spot and relies more on voice inflection to get his joke across.

Styles can vary in comedy. Seth Winicki, a fellow local comedian, says his jokes are based on things he thinks of throughout the day.

“A lot of the time (my) material comes about when I’m laying in bed and just thinking about things,” said Winicki, who has been performing for about a year.

Some of the things Jenkins talks about during his different standup routines includes relationships, social conventions and his own life.


Jenkins’ favorite joke (Baby on the corner) comes courtesy of Dave Chappelle.

Jenkins’ comedy career has blossomed over the last couple of years. The comedian/ attorney is booked for a feature weekend in July in Livonia, where he will perform seven 30-minute shows. He also has won third place in the Grand Rapids Funniest Person competition and performs on Monday nights at Mac’s Bar in Lansing.


Jenkins performs at Mac’s Bar in Lansing on Monday nights.

The comedy side is only one aspect of Jenkins, who has also won published cases in the Michigan Court of Appeals.

“Legal work takes more time,” said Jenkins, who devotes nights and weekends to comedy.

Lansing comedy scene

Mac’s Bar, The Green Door and Connxtions Comedy Club all offer comedy nights or open-mic nights and are within driving distance of Michigan State University.

“The Lansing comedy scene is unique,” said Winicki, who performs at Connxtions. He added, “There are a lot of different comedians and the age varies.”


Robert Jenkins on being an attorney: “Learn civil procedures for your practice and learn the rules.

Robert Jenkins on being a comedian: “Repetition, the more comedy you consume the funnier you will be.”

Seth Winicki on being a comedian: “I would say just go for it. The only way you learn is from getting on stage, and doing it. You can think you’re really funny, but you’ll never know until you do it in front of complete strangers. You have to dive in head first.”  


“The comedy workshop was a valuable experience for me both professionally and personally. I had a wonderful time and learned a lot. Rob is a great instructor,” said Valles, who is also a professor at MSU.

Valles teaches IAH 207 or “Humor in 20th Century Jewish Literatures, Cultures and Identities” and said the workshop gave her a new way to theorize humor.


Area thrift stores, shelters affected by unusually cold winter

Subzero temperatures this winter have made it tough for secondhand stores and homeless shelters in Lansing, not because of a greater demand for their services but because volunteers hesitated to venture out to donate their belongings or their time.


Donations lacking

Debra Kelly, the assistant manager at Hidden Treasures Thrift Store, said that the store’s goal is to “be real and resourceful and meet all the needs” regardless of the season.

“Whether it’s the winter or summer, there are so many in need,” she said.  “The demand is much greater than the supply.”

Kelly said that the cold winter significantly limited donations compared to what the store normally receives at this point in the year.

“The cold has kept people kind of in a slumber,” she said.  “The ice storms, the winter, the cold weather – it’s the same for most of the surrounding retail in the community.”

This is certainly true for Upscale Thrift, a secondhand store operated through the City Rescue Mission, according to employee Hannah Hall.

“I think that the cold weather and the amount of snow on the roads definitely affected business,” Hall said.

Because Upscale Thrift just opened in May, the store does not have any records to compare this winter’s sales to, Hall said.  However, “we definitely saw a decrease in donations in the cold months – January, February we were pretty low on donations,” she said.

According to Hall, Upscale Thrift expects to see an increase in donations into the spring and summer.  “That’s what we saw last year when we first opened in the spring months, because of garage sales and such.”

Extended stays

Shelter manager Sherri S. said that the City Rescue Mission’s women and children’s shelter and men’s shelter “may have been affected in that people stay longer than they normally do.  But generally every winter we have a lot of guests.”

“We’re one of the larger shelters in the area,” she said.  “Are we full? Is there a need? Yes.”

She explained that she thinks it is the harshness of the cold causing guests to stay longer than in the past.  “People who don’t stay as much in the summer are more transient individuals,” who will sleep in their car or outside on their own, she said.

Hall said that she feels Lansing has a large number of homeless people and that it is a growing issue.  “I think it’s more evident in the winter because people are cold and the shelters fill up more.  I definitely think it’s a problem we need to do more about.”

Offering hope

Kelly said that they see the needy turn their lives around “on the daily” with the help of Hidden Treasures’ services, and that it is a very rewarding experience.

“We’re committed to operating from a place of service,” she said.  “It’s compassion, it’s generosity – and it’s actually very humbling to see.  It definitely makes a job not feel so much like a job.  It’s really an honor.”


Lugnuts about more than baseball for downtown Lansing

by Robert Bondy
Lansing Star Staff Writer

Lugnuts 1

One of many statues outside Cooley Law School Stadium, the home of the Lansing Lugnuts.

It’s the crack of the bat on a warm summer night.

It’s the smell of a ballpark hot dog floating through the air.

It’s 12,000-plus chanting “Go Nuts” in unison.

It’s the professional sports team of the capital city.

It’s Lansing Lugnuts baseball.

The Lugnuts came to Lansing in 1996 and have left a mark on the city ever since. A member of the Midwest League as a Class A MLB minor league team, the Lugnuts have become a hit attraction for local residents and students of Michigan State University, and helped improve the city as a whole.

“The opening of the stadium in 1996 dramatically turned around the downtown area and catalyzed capital-area and regional development,” said Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.

By adding a new summertime entertainment, the Lugnuts also spawned development, including new local restaurants and bars. Their presence has helped form what is downtown Lansing.

Take me out to the ballgame

The Lugnuts have grown as an all around attraction for everyone in the family since its first game back in 1996.

The franchise uses specials to attract a wide variety of fans, with cheap beer deals geared to Michigan State University students and post-game fireworks for the family of five. The Lugnuts offer deals on nearly every home weeknight game, such as Dollar Deal Day, Hump Day, Thirsty Thursday and College Students Eat Free, where students get a free slice of pizza, drink and bag of chips with admission.

Lugnuts 8

Lansing Lugnuts have multiple trucks driving around downtown Lansing and Michigan State University advertising its gameday deals.

Trevor Embed, a student at MSU, said he attended the game on April 11 mostly because of the deal associated with the game.

“I have seen the trucks driving by all week with the deals and I thought ‘what the hell, why not go catch a game,’” Embed said. “A cheap meal and some good baseball on a warm spring evening is pretty nice.”

Another Lugnuts college friendly event that historically brings in big crowds is the annual Crosstown Showdown exhibition game against Michigan State University.

Since it’s beginning in 2007, the game generally brings in record crowds, including nearly 13,000 in 2012, and has become a traditional welcome back for Lugnuts baseball from year-to-year, Lugnuts General Manager Nick Grueser said.

“It’s (an) extremely important game and we value it a lot,” Grueser said. “It’s one of those games that doesn’t happen in a lot of markets. It’s a lot of fun for us and a lot of fun for the community.”

Although this year’s game fell on a cold rainy evening and didn’t bring in a huge crowd, Grueser said the Crosstown Showdown has brought in the Lugnuts’ three largest crowds of all-time.

Lansing resident Tracy Milpert was one of the 4,455 that elected to battle the cold temperatures of this year’s Crosstown Showdown on April 3. Milpert said despite having to layer up for the game, she enjoyed the atmosphere of Cooley Law School Stadium and looks forward to returning to another game this summer.

“This was my first Lugnuts game and I really am enjoying it,” Milpert said. “It’s obviously not ideal baseball weather right now, but the cheap beer makes up for it. I’ll probably come back for another game this season, just once it’s a little bit warmer outside.”

Renovations in near future

While the Lugnuts hadn’t started their season until April, it was back in early March when the organization made big time headlines, with the announcement of a renovation project to Cooley Law School Stadium.

On March 12  the Lugnuts announced a $22 million renovation project that would create up to 100 apartments in the outfield, as well as rebuild the field, dugout, locker rooms and scoreboard. The additions to the outfield also would include retail space for restaurants.

“This revolutionary project is a model for how the private and public sectors can work together to preserve a community asset while also propelling further economic growth downtown,” Lugnuts Owner Tom Dickson said in a press release. “Its inclusion of a mixed-use development directly in the outfield of the ballpark delivers a twist that is unprecedented in the industry, creating more energy in both the ballpark and surrounding downtown Stadium District.”

The project is set to be complete by opening day of 2016, but will still need to be approved by the Lansing City Council first.

Lugnuts 3

Between innings, players warm up playing catch in the outfield in front of the big screen scoreboard. The proposed renovation plans would increase the size of the scoreboard and add apartments to the outfield.

The project, known as The Outfield, would be financed in part by the city, who owns the stadium, . The city would be ponying up $11 million in bonds for the stadium’s upgrades alone. Private developers would then be hired to construct the apartments and retail space.

Lansing City Council member Carol Wood will have a say in the potential renovations, and said although city council hasn’t received any information on the project yet, she is cautious about the addition.

“We just went into refinancing within the state for rebonding,” Wood said. “My concern is that what we have seen so far, I’m not sure I’m ready to add additional debt at this time.”

Wood added that when the city of Lansing purchased the stadium, they had planned to see the stadium used for additional attractions such as concerts and other events, but haven’t seen such so far.

Ryan Jacobs of Lansing also is cautious about the planned renovation plans, but for a different reason. Jacobs said he attends a handful of Lungut games each summer and believes the stadium is already providing an exciting experience for the fans at the game.

“I personally think the changes aren’t needed at this time,” Jacobs said. “I get that the stadium has been around for awhile now and needs to be improved in some aspects, but I don’t think it needs a complete makeover like the current announced plan.”

Past left field

It’s not only within the fences of Cooley Law School Stadium that the impact of the Lansing Lugnuts is being felt, but also at the surrounding businesses.

The Lugnuts play a heavy role on the local businesses that surround Cooley Law School Stadium. Jason Evans, owner and general manager at Nuthouse Sports Grill, said anytime opening day rolls around, the restaurant experiences an instant impact.

“Obviously it’s a boost, it’s great,” Evans said. “We love the baseball season because of the crowds it brings and wish the games were year round.”

Evans added that the bar generally experiences good crowds regardless on gameday, but big games, such as the Crosstown Showdown and games on or the fourth of July, bring in the biggest crowds. The team’s performance also plays a role on the business’s revenue from year-to-year.

There are multiple attractions and restaurants that are part of the Stadium District. The district was created in 2006 and surrounds the Lugnuts home, ranging from Kalamazoo Street to Oakland Avenue, and Pennsylvania Avenue to the Grand River.

The Nuthouse Sports Grill, along with Rum Runners, Arts Bar & Grill and The Knight Cap are a just a few of the restaurants that make up the Stadium District.

Mason resident Hunter Kingsley was at the Nuthouse before the April 11 game against Cedar Rapids Kernels, and said whether he’s with his family or buddies, he’ll normally get a meal and few beers before the game.

“The Nuthouse is generally my go to, but I don’t mind some of the other places down here,” Kingsley said. “Coming to a Lugnuts game is an all day event for me. I enjoy getting a chance to catch up with friends or taking out the family before the game as (much as) attending the game itself.”

Lugnuts Gameday Slideshow:

Take a look inside Cooley Law School Stadium on a warm spring night when the Lansing Lugnuts are hosting the Cedar Rapids Kernels.

Lansing Lugnuts Gameday Slideshow