Slow start for businesses makes for a strong finish

It is a Monday evening around 5 p.m. and Turner Street is very quiet. A few cars are passing by on the road. The Lamb’s Gate Antique shop owner is locking his door. There are scattered street wanderers, but the heart of little Old Town seems empty. Unlike most towns in the area, this is the norm for Old Town.

Housing plan stalled; future uncertain

By Nakea Paige
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter

The city of Lansing is at odds with a proposed new housing development project that will create affordable housing for some families. Over the past two years, there has been a building, located at 1113 N. Washington Ave, that has been waiting to be turned in to a new low-income housing development. There has been a standstill because of the fact that council members feel that there might be some discrimination within the regulations for this housing project. The head of the project, Dr. Sam Saboury, has been trying to find ways to get the project underway. In March, the Lansing City Council rejected Saboury’s request for a 4 percent Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT, which would have enhanced the prospect of securing the tax credit and being able to start the development.

Old Town could see the effects of the shift back into the urban core

By Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Old Town is subject to the population shift of millennials moving back into the urban core, after so many years of sprawl, because of its walkability and number of things to do. “What we seem to be observing is that young millennials seem to have different interests and life style choices,” said Rex LaMore, a member of Michigan State University’s Urban and Regional Planning faculty. “They want to be in interesting places where there are a lot of opportunity and things to do. So they are moving back into central cities.” Old Town offers an array of unique festivals, an assortment of different styles of restaurants, and many niche shops as well as shops for basic necessities.

Creative energy in Old Town is fueling growth for community

By Emily Elconin
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

From the beginning, the neighborhood of Old Town has been a creative, kooky, and eccentric place that vibrates with a colorful and inviting energy. From the moment you walk down Turner Street, it is evident there is a new chapter being written here in Old Town. There is a story to be shared on every corner. As Old Town continues to grow, so do the people who are helping Old Town come back stronger than ever before. Old Town is in the process of planning exciting summer festivals and a new event called Arts Night Out, where four neighborhoods in Lansing including Old Town, East Lansing,REO Town, and Downtown Lansing will feature all different kinds of art to draw in the younger community and help the arts community thrive all over Lansing, beginning in Old Town.

LGBT is A-OK: Acceptance is important for Old Town

Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community has been a big part of Old Town’s rich history and the acceptance of it is a big reason why those within the neighborhood and visitors feel a close-knit, family-like bond. Acceptance is in Old Town’s fabric. The tolerance for those that identify as LGBT can be seen as a symbol of the openness Old Town has for people of all colors, backgrounds, gender, sexual orientation, and beliefs. Maintaining the ability to express yourself and feeling welcome at all times is a huge part of the Old Town fabric. General Manager of Spiral Dance Bar, Sam Courtney, says it’s important for Old Town businesses to promote a welcoming and a tolerant message.

Elderly Instruments helps develop sense of community and arts culture in Old Town

By Emily Elconin
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

The arts play an important role in small neighborhood of Old Town. Elderly Instruments located at 1100 N. Washington Ave., plays a significant role in the development of the arts culture in Old Town. The power of art and music has helped create a sense of community for people in Old Town and people who are just visiting or passing through. “Elderly has been a staple and anchor here in Old Town which has been really important because they’ve been here for a really long time,” Program Director for Michigan Institute of Contemporary Art Katrina Daniels said. “They are a really important cornerstone here in Old Town.

Festivals bring in fundraising and new people to Old Town

By Sakiya Duncan
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Old Town host an assortment of events and festival. These festivals are part of the reason Old Town is staying on the map. The biggest festivals Old Town host are Scrapfest, Oktoberfest and Festival of the Moon and Sun. Austin Ashley, executive director at the Old Town Commercial Association gave insight on exactly what goes into these festivals. “We actually work really closely with  a lot of  the design shops down here to get the initial art work and designs for our festival posters and our interns take that and produce the collateral work from that,” said Ashley.

Art isn't an Old Town problem. Getting the word out is

By Sakiya Duncan
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

Art is driving the community of Old Town and other areas. The problem is, do people know about the activities? Katrina Daniels is the program director for MICA (Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art) Gallery in Old Town, located at 1210 Turner St. Daniels shared her frustrations in running the gallery. “I found when I started working here that it is a challenge to communicate to the community what we are doing.”

Vacant buildings turning into an anomaly for Old Town

Zachary Barnes
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter

The vacant commercial buildings in Old Town aren’t set to be empty for much longer. One may notice when walking down the few streets that make up the Old Town neighborhood that there are a noticeable number of vacant buildings for such a small area. For the part of Lansing that prides itself so much on growth, it can be seen as a sad sight. But by no means are vacancies or trying to fill these buildings a problem for Old Town. “We are pretty much at capacity in terms of our commercial spaces at this point,” said Austin Ashley, Executive Director of the Old Town Commercial Association.