Waiting for a bus at Old Town? Don't expect your wait to get shorter anytime soon

By Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Old Town Lansing is not slated to see public bus service become more frequent in the near future. That’s bad news for Old Town bus riders. Currently, during evening and weekend hours CATA will only pass through the Old Town area roughly every 45 minutes. This does not include the time it takes to get to the downtown Lansing CATA bus station where one must connect to the specific bus that will take him or her to Old Town. One must connect again when leaving Old Town to get on the right bus that will take them home.

Old Town: Now a thriving community despite a rough past

By Sergio Martínez-Beltrán
Old Town Lansing Times reporter

When Aura Ozbourne decided she was going to open a shop in Old Town, she knew it was a risk. Everyone knew. “When I first opened up, (Old Town) was extremely dilapidated and unloved for the most part,” Ozburn said. “Many people were afraid of the neighborhood.”

When Ozbourne opened her store October Moon in 119 E Grand River Ave. 14 years ago, the situation was not the best one, however, it was not the worst.

Washington Avenue redevelopment project on its way. Someday.

By Sergio Martínez-Beltrán
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

A project that would make Old Town Lansing greener and more accessible has been on hold for years. Just the fact there’s a project — albeit a paused one — is news to some. According to the website of the Old Town Commercial Association, “the City of Lansing is planning to redevelop Old Town’s section of Washington Avenue… (the) redevelopment will allow for bike-friendly and pedestrian-friendly enhancements.”

The project will create bike lanes to Washington Avenue, add rain gardens and implement historic lighting that would match the ones on Grand River Avenue. The project also seeks to add back-in angled parking. However, Old Town Commercial Association Executive Director Austin Ashley said he is not aware of any updates to the project that was put on hold by the City of Lansing.

Businesses in Old Town find success despite economic hardships

By Sergio Martínez-Beltrán
Old Town Lansing Times staff reporter

In a world where the economic markets are failing, it is hard for owners of small businesses to maintain their businesses while competing with megastores. However, there are places that are sustain just by small, local businesses — Old Town Lansing is one of these places. According to the Old Town Lansing business directory antique stores, restaurants, clothing stores, pet stores and creative companies have stayed in Old Town Lansing. But, why Old Town Lansing and not Downtown Lansing or any other community? “The rent is cheaper than downtown for the most part and that could be a starting point,” Old Town Commercial Association Executive Director Austin Ashley said.

Ribbon cutting held in Old Town

By Kasey Worst

Old Town Lansing staff writer

OLD TOWN LANSING—In two stops, ribbon cutting ceremonies welcomed in three Old Town businesses on February 28, 2014. The ceremonies
The businesses, Four Blank & Ten Design Group, Leopold Bloom & Co., and Chierie International Market, had all been open for business before the ceremony. Louise Gradwohl, director of the Old Town Commercial Association, said there were multiple factors that postponed the ribbon cuttings, including finding someone to actually cut the ribbons. “It is sometimes hard to get a ribbon cutting with the mayor,” Gradwohl said. Originally Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero was scheduled to attend; however he could not.

5 Unique Products You’ll Find in Old Town’s General Store

Old Town General Store is known for its local products. Owner, Rhea Van Atta, does all the shopping for her store personally. Van Atta says around 70 percent of the total products in the store are from Michigan.  

Ceramic Plates

 

A local artist created these ceramic plates.  

Beer and Wine

 

About 99% of the beer and wine are Michigan-made.

LGBT or straight, in Old Town’s heart, you have a place

OLD TOWN- Business owners and officials of Old Town express their acceptance and support of the LGBT community. Old Town hosts the Michigan Pride March, Rally & Festival once a year where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and straight allies are celebrated with a white party kick off. There is a march to the Capitol, a rally on East Lawn then a return to Old Town for entertainment for all ages. Business owners of Old Town acknowledge this pride event but insist that Old Town’s acceptance and love for the LGBT community is a permanent thing, not just a publicity stunt. “I would hope that everyone always feels comfortable in their own skin, walking around in this neighborhood,” said Ashley Lamb, owner of Old Town’s Lambs’ Gate Antiques.

Labor group raises money for César Chavez Plaza

By Jacqlyn Burnett
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

“The César E. Chavez Plaza,” formerly known as Lot 56 in Old Town, Lansing, will soon be decorated with an arch in memorial of César E. Chavez. Maria Starr, 56, president of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement in the Greater Lansing Area, hopes to raise more than $10,000 to build the arch. “The arch will be styled in the same way of the London Bridge and will have engraved ‘César E. Chavez Plaza’ on an iron rod over the structure,” said Starr. The fundraiser will be March 30. This is the council’s third annual fundraiser.

Residents think grocery store would improve Old Town neighborhood

By Jennifer Brown Staff Writer
Old Town Lansing is the home to several restaurants, art galleries and antique shops, but some residents wish that it also housed a grocery store. Residents must travel north to Lake Lansing Road or the Kroger at Frandor Mall to shop at a large supermarket. “You can’t just go out and pick up that one thing you forgot,” said Alicia Trantum, an employee at October Moon Art Gallery and Boutique  in Old Town. Old Town’s many specialty stores close around 7 p.m., so late-night customers also have to drive out of the neighborhood. Some citizens want to see a health food store move into the area.