By Zachary Swiecicki
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter
While walking along the streets in the heart of Old Town, you could see small children or senior citizens.
“I’d say anything from the middle 20-somethings all the way up to boomers and even a little older,” Chad Cottom, the owner of SPIN Bicycle Shop, said of the age range of people he sees walk into his business on a daily basis.
With such a wide range of ages, it is a valid question to ask: what brings these people to Old Town?
“The key for any place, whether a city, neighborhood or district, is to identify and actively promote its unique assets,” Sarah Nicholls, an expert in Michigan tourism and associate professor at Michigan State University, said.
“Old Town’s assets are its boutiques, art galleries, and the independent/local owned eating places and bars,” Nicholls said. “Also the various festivals, Blues, Jazz, etc. The location on the river is also a critical asset and the river trail facilitates a variety of modes of access besides car. This is a big plus.”
With a median age of 32 in Lansing, it makes sense that these assets are able to attract people. With such a balanced community, 51.6 percent female and 48.4 percent male, the variety of things for anyone to do is a good feature for Old Town to have.
“Being the state capital, Lansing brings many people from across the state to our unique shopping destination,” Old Town Commercial Association director Austin Ashley said. “Our small business owners are the ones with the dreams turned reality that really give Old Town its ability to ‘stand out’ in the crowd.”
Roughly one in four Lansing residents are under 18 years old as of 2010, according to the United States Census Bureau. More specifically, 7.7 percent are under 5 years old, almost a full two percent higher than the entire state of Michigan.
On the other end of the spectrum, Lansing is home to only 9.7 percent of residents 65 years old or older. That number is close to four percent under the state’s 13.8 percent.
Lansing has 66.1 percent of its residents qualify for the middle range of ages (18-64) while the state of Michigan sits at 62.5 percent.