By Jordan Jennings
Lansing Township News
LANSING TOWNSHIP — Nestled between the Groesbeck neighborhood and Fairview Park in Lansing Township, the Tollgate Wetlands poses a striking contrast to its populated surroundings, and one that not many locals understand.
Sean Douglass of Fairview Avenue has only lived across the road from the wetlands for two months and said he knows very little about its purpose.
“All I know is it appears to be wetlands and my little guy loves going and seeing the ducks,” Douglass said.
Created in the 1990s by Ingham Country Drain Commissioner Pat Lindemann and staff, the Tollgate Wetlands are a man-made ecosystem designed to capture non-point source pollution from the neighborhood, according to a City Pulse article by environmental reporter Brian McKenna.
Likewise, neighbor Shelli White calls her knowledge of the wetlands “limited.” Having lived a few doors down on Fairview Avenue for eleven months now, White says she likes to “just walk around it and look at the water” as well as walk her dog.
A paved path borders the perimeter of the circular wetlands, allowing anyone to enjoy the water, marsh-like foliage and birds and animal variety.
Plant species—such as broad-leafed arrowhead and Cat-tail hedge—were specifically chosen to best sustain the ecosystem and provide habitat for wildlife.
White said her only background knowledge of the wetlands is due to a Lansing Board of Water and Light plaque along the path. She knew that it was made in the ‘90s and also noted that runoff water drains into the area.
Laura de la Rambelje and her toddler Myles, residents of Groesbeck neighborhood beside the wetlands, also enjoy using the perimeter path.
“We come out here every night that we possibly can and do a walk around… the path before I put my son to bed at night,” Rambelje said.
Having been in the area for four years, Rambelje has a smattering of knowledge about the wetlands thanks to a friend from Lansing proper.
“It’s supposed to be a way of… reclaiming the area and mak[ing] it… look like the way it would have before people lived here,” said Rambelje, “And to also help with runoff, to help clean the water.”