LANSING STAR STAFF WRITER
Lansing–The city wants to buy vacant property to reroute the Lansing River Trail where it has begun to deteriorate.
The property at 830 River Street contains a vacant building and a storage yard. The land is less than a quarter of an acre and would cost the city $90,000.
Lansing’s Ways and Means Committee is applying for a state grant to fund about 75 percent of the purchase.
The Lansing City Council must first approve the grant application before the city can submit it to the Department of Natural Resources. The deadline for the application is April 1.
The city could use the land initially for open space, said Brett Kaschinske, Lansing’s parks and recreations director. When the boardwalk needs to be fully replaced, the city could re-route the trail across the property.
Portions of the boardwalk have been repaired throughout the past few months. A section of the elevated boardwalk was repaired in early January, but visual damage suggests many more repairs are in the trail’s future.
“I don’t particularly like that boardwalk,” said Isis Saari, a frequent runner on the trail. Saari said that in some parts of the boardwalk she is forced to look down to avoid stumbling on cracks and damaged boards.
Although many users of the trail expressed support for the recent renovations, some questioned if buying the property to re-route the trail would be money well spent.
“The city is talking of selling cemeteries and golf courses, but buying a building that has no use,” said local bicyclist James Mowry. “If someone came up with an income generating idea which also incorporates the property into the river trail system, then it would make sense to me.”
Kaschinske said that there aren’t any specific plans for the use of the property, or for renovating the boardwalk. The board is, at this time, mulling over their options.