Lansing Lugnuts planning renovations to Cooley Law School Stadium

The Lansing Lugnuts are planning to add apartments and restaurants as part of a renovation plan. The plan to add as many as 100 apartment units and a year-round bar-and-grill would be ready by opening day of baseball season in 2016.

 

According to lansingstatejournal.com, the renovations would cost an estimated $22 million: half would be paid in bonds by the city and the other half by Lugnuts owner Tom Dickson and Lansing developer Pat Gillespie.

 

The project called ‘The Outfield’ would look to build apartments in the outfield of Coley Law School Stadium

 

In an interview with mlive.com reporter Melissa Anders, Mayor Virg Bernero discussed renovating the stadium.

 

“Under that contract, I have to put major bucks into the stadium,” said Bernero. “As I say, I could take the minimalist view, and argue with the team and put in as little as possible, or I could take the value-added approach.”

 

Formally known as Oldsmobile Park, the stadium that opened in 1996 hasn’t be re-modeled since its original construction. The renovations are hoping to increase attendance (average attendance was 5200 in 2013) and add to the game experience.

 

Adding apartments to Lugnuts Stadium could compare to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. There are many apartments near the Wrigley Field and home games can be seen from the rooftops of those apartments.

 

In addition to adding apartments that would surround the stadium, the renovations would include a year-round bar-and-grill. According to Anders, the restaurant would employ around 75 people. Anders also reported that Gillespie has not yet found a tenant for the restaurant.

 

The project to renovate Cooley Law School Stadium would additionally plan to rebuild the dugouts, scoreboard, locker rooms and the field itself. The plan also includes renovating suites, seating, concession stands and restrooms.

 

According to Lansing State Journal reporter Lindsay VanHulle, the proposal to approve bonds, a development agreement and a brownfield plan will need approval of Lansing City Council. Supporters are hoping to receive approval by May 1.

 

– Jacque De Witt

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Lansing Eastern High School faces possible closure

LEHS angle view

 

Eastern High School, Lansing’s oldest high school, may be closing down soon.

 

According to an article done by Kathleen Lavey in the Lansing State Journal, Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul said that it will not close at the end of the 2014 school year, but its future beyond then is uncertain.

 

“Keeping Eastern open as a comprehensive high school is not feasible financially,” said Canul. “We don’t have the population for four high schools.”

 

Matt McClintic, the Deputy Treasurer of Lansing Township and member of the 1990 graduating class, feels that it is time to close the school.

 

Matt McClintic

 

“I think they should close the school,” said McClintic. “It isn’t safe for students and faculty. It isn’t a modern high school.”

 

The high school opened in 1901 and currently houses both junior high and high school students. McClintic said that after they closed the junior high school, it was discovered the building contained asbestos, a cause of lung cancer.

 

“I know I have asked myself, do I want to send my kids there?” said McClintic. “It’s a nice old building, but I wouldn’t send them there because of the safety concerns. I would want them to go to East Lansing High School.”

 

Other former alumni of Eastern High School have pledged their support to keep the high school open. Joe Herr DeRose wrote a letter to the editor of the Lansing State Journal, but the letter wasn’t published. In the letter, he said, “I hope that the board takes a very long and hard look themselves at the magnitude of their decision before taking any type of vote on this monumental decision. This decision will not only affect the School District and Students at each and every school in the district in one way or the other due to the need for redistricting, but will also greatly affect property values.”

 

DeRose also started a Facebook group to oppose plans to close Eastern High School, and it has more than 1,000 members.

 

Current EHS Principal Donna Pohl preferred not to comment on the status of Eastern High School at this time.

 

Famous alumni of Eastern High School include Jay Vincent and Sam Vincent (former NBA players), Kip Miller (former NHL player) and former Olympic wrestling gold medalist Kevin Jackson, the current wrestling head coach at Iowa State University.

 

– Jacque De Witt

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Medical marijuana bills remain stagnant in legislature

A Lansing Township couple hopes for quick passage of two bills on medical marijuana that are stalled in the Michigan legislature.

Marilyn and Gerald Bracy have a strong opinion on House Bills 4271 and 5104 because they affect them on a personal level.

Earlier this year, Gerald Bracy was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome and is currently going through chemotherapy. He has lost over 60 pounds, which he said makes him feel weak.

Wife Marilyn said she wonders whether medical marijuana in some form could help her husband eat his way to a healthy weight, since the drug reputedly improves appetite in cancer patients.

The problem is that they would have to drive more than an hour to obtain the pills from a clinic since designated caregivers are limited to only five patients and the dispensaries closest to the couple are already full.

“Gerald needs something to help increase his appetite and medical marijuana seems to be the cure,” Mrs. Bracy said. “But we can’t be driving so far every time he needs a refill and we have no idea how to grow it. Unfortunately, it just isn’t practical.”

House Bill 4271, sponsored by state Rep. Mike Callton, would give local communities the power to allow, prohibit or limit medical marijuana “provisioning centers” giving patients like Mr. Bracy easier access to the drug.

Another problem is that Gerald doesn’t want to smoke the drug and is looking for a way to get the effects of medical marijuana without having to light up.

“I personally don’t see how inhaling smoke of any drug could be healthy,” Mr. Bracy said. “But if I could take it in a different form, I would feel a lot better about taking it.”

House Bill 5104, sponsored by state Rep. Eileen Kowall, would expand the definition of usable medical marijuana to allow for non-smokable forms of the drug, including edibles, tinctures and topical creams.

The two bills have passed the House and are now being considered in the Senate Government Operations Committee.

Montrose Mayor Ray Foust had the same concern as the Bracys about five years when he had to drive his cancer-stricken niece 80 miles each month to seek out medical marijuana. The experience led him and other city council members to approve a local dispensary in Montrose.

Foust, who testified before the Michigan Senate Government Operations Committee on Tuesday, just wants to help those in need. He said his niece was able to maintain a good quality of life with medical marijuana pills in the last year of her life.

“We don’t want to be known as the medical marijuana capital,” Foust said. “We want people to be able to get their medicine. That’s all.”

According to the Detroit Free Press, the outcome of the pair of bills clarifying Michigan’s medical marijuana law is still uncertain after more than an hour of testimony from both supporters and opponents of the legislation.

-Carley Johnston

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Board of trustees address retro-fitting lighting for township

The Lansing Charter Township Board of Trustees approved a quote from R M Electric to retro-fit the lighting fixtures in the township-owned parks, buildings and garages.

Kathleen Rodgers the Township Supervisor raised concerns that the bids received from three companies were not comparable.

“The companies didn’t count the same number or lights or quote the same price,” said  Rodgers. “The company out of Grand Rapids only has one electrician, and they’re not an electric company. Their quote was much lower than the other two. It sounds too good to be true.”

West Side Water Supply Manager Randy Seida supported awarding the contract to R. M.  Electic.

“R. M. Electric has done a great job with their work,” said Seida. “I got a recommendation from the Board of Water and Light. I upgraded all of my lights out back, and I was pleased with how it turned out. All of them are reputable contractors. I would recommend R M because they do good work and they are going to give you a warranty.”

According to Seida, it was imperative to make a decision quickly because the township could lose that quote and in the process lose a lot of money.

“If you don’t accept their deal now, you will lose it in the future,” said Seida. “The lights have to get replaced and the job has to be done by then end of March.”

Matt Brinkley, the Senior Planner AICP for LT, agreed with Seida.

“The T-12 lights are scarce,” said Brinkley. “If they aren’t out of production now, they will be soon.”

Seida’s word likely influenced BOT.

“Sometimes loyalty overrides extra cost,” said Seida “They have down work for Lansing Township before and I think you should take a chance because they are the only company offering a warranty.”

– Jacque De Witt

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Aeropostale closes branch in Eastwood, rent too high

Aeropostale of Lansing Township’s Eastwood Towne Center recently closed due to poor sales and high rent.

The Aeropostale branch in Eastwood Towne Center closed after the store accepted the fact that its sales weren’t high enough to pay the rent.

The Eastwood Towne Center store was one of three located in the greater Lansing area. The other two are located on Grand River in Okemos and Saginaw Hwy in Lansing.

Eastwood Towne Center was developed by Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate and opened in 2002. This store opened with the mall.

“It was a business decision with having three Aeros in our area,” former employee Adoree Killips said. “Rent is much higher in Eastwood then the other two locations, meaning our profits needed to be much higher for the company.”

Rent in Lansing Township’s open-air mall varies between $20 and $40 per square foot per year. A commercial rental in Frandor Shopping Center ranges from $9 to $14. One near Meridian Mall in Okemos is also $14.

The portion of the building where Aeropostale was located is 3,600 square feet and will soon be home to a new business in the expansion the mall will undergo.

– Amanda Chaperon

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Lansing Township board meets, discusses issues

The Lansing Charter Township Board of Trustees met to discuss several articles of business relative to the community.

The seven members of the Lansing Charter Township Board of Trustees met for the final time in January to discuss a few pressing matters present on the agenda.

A major issue to note is the Tollgate Drainage District and taxes to be assessed to the residents of that area.

The Tollgate Drainage District is an area in Lansing. Properties in this area, which total roughly 550 parcels of land, are required to pay a sewage or drainage tax on their property. This includes residents who have since sold their property and moved from the area.

“Many residents will be in an uproar about this because it is a payment that could have an impact on their mortgage and other bills,” Supervisor Kathy Rodgers said. She is requesting that residents make their payment by Aug. 1 to avoid this.

Seven local businesses requested a renewal in their Amusement Device License. The local ordinance requires that anything a coin is put into be relicensed annually.

Once a business applies, these devices must be verified by both the police and fire departments to make sure they are up to standard. Each individual device then requires a $25 fee to relicense.

Six of seven businesses were approved. The Whiskey Barrel Saloon was denied due to delinquent taxes.

“The total isn’t over $750, but I have not received a response to any of the letters I have sent,” Treasurer Leo Rodgers said.

The attorney present, Michael Gresens, advised the board to table the renewal of the Whiskey Barrel’s Amusement Device License until the next meeting as a form of sending a message.

– Amanda Chaperon

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Heavy snow destroys building

The wall of a building on North Rosemary St. collapsed around 11 a.m. due to large amounts of snow. This happened approximately six hours after residents said that they heard the roof collapse.

 

Mike Kaloz, a fire captain for the Lansing Township Fire Department said this was an abandoned building and nobody was injured.

 

“One of the neighbors made the call,” said Kaloz. “We got all the snow off safely, and nobody was hurt.”

 

According to Kaloz, the cause of the roof collapse was due to the amount of snow on the flat roof.

 

“Most likely the weight of the snow on the roof was too much for the walls and the roof structure to hold it up and the walls gave way,” said Kaloz.

 

Firefighter Jarrod LaRue, another firefighter for LTFD, said that is an “extremely rare” occurrence.  “In the 14 years I’ve been here, this is the first time this has happened for me.”

LaRue also said, that the building has been vacant for at least 10 years.

Firefighter Jarrod LaRue

Firefighter Jarrod LaRue

 

The building is set to be torn down by the owner which will be required by the township.

 

– Jacque De Witt and Zach Fanko

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