Old Town eye sore causes upset

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By Erica Zazo
Old Town Lansing Times staff writer 

LANSING, MI- Old Town residents seek out a solution to the construction of a local eye sore in the midst of the Walnut Neighborhood community.

Niowave, a particle accelerating company that currently occupies Walnut Elementary School, built a “pole barn” structure, on what used to be a playground, without warning residents.

Niowave is located in the Walnut Neighborhood of Old Town, Lansing. Residents are outraged by the company’s recent decision to build a particle testing facility on what used to be a neighborhood playground.
(map generated from Google Maps)

Walnut Neighborhood Association member, and local resident, Penny Gardner, met with Niowave officials and other association members Friday, Oct. 5, to discuss potential opportunities for improvement of facilities’ exterior.

“We want Niowave to fix the façade of the building to make it more appealing,” said Garnder. “I don’t think there is anyone who has drove by it and not gasped at the sight.”

Big Building, Big Concerns

Neighbors have bigger concerns regarding the building, aside from its unappealing appearance.

“My bedroom is in the front of the house and the light shines directly off the tin roof straight into my windows,” said Adrienne Doty, another Walnut Neighborhood resident. “You can also hear the rain on the roof of the building, which is really loud.”

Walnut homeowner, Rebekah Cathey, also fears the financial damage that Niowave’s building has imposed on homes in the neighborhood, and voiced her concern via email.

“The biggest downfall of the construction of this building is people not wanting to move into the neighborhood,” said Cathey. “This is going to result in lower selling prices and total values of our homes.”

Walnut Neighborhood residents place 100 protest signs against the Niowave “pole barn” in front yards. Residents don’t plan on removing the signs until their concerns are answered.
(photo by Erica Zazo)

100 protest signs line the streets of the Walnut neighborhood and Old Town.  Garnder says that residents are not ready to take them down.

“We have also collected more money to buy more, should that be necessary,” said Gardner.

Still Showing Support

While Niowave has disappointed the residents of the Walnut neighborhood, residents and community members still recognize the positive impact the business is having, both locally and globally.

“Niowave is a member of the OTCA and are big supporters of Old Town,” said Louise Gradwohl, Executive Director of Old Town Commercial Association.

But residents won’t rest until their questions and concerns are answered.

“We appreciate the business aspects of Niowave,” said Gardner. “What we don’t appreciate is that this building has been put in the midst of our homes.”



 Questions? Comments? Contact Erica Zazo – zazoeric@msu.edu





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