Downtown Lansing working on being "a place where people want to be"

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By Griffin Wasik
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

Pavillon on Grand River. In the summer, this area is used for summer concerts. Photo by Griffin Wasik

Pavilion on Grand River. In the summer, this area is used for summer concerts. Photo by Griffin Wasik

LANSING — Downtown Lansing is busy. The city attracts tens of thousands of people from all over the state to work and attend festivities every day, Layna Anderson, communications and marketing manager of Downtown Lansing Inc., said.

According to the U.S. Census, Ingham County contains 22,700 firms. Lansing is responsible for roughly 37 percent of the total number of firms in Ingham County with 8,363.

The capital city contains many businesses, Anderson said.

“Downtown Lansing Inc. wants to make Lansing a place where people want to be,” Anderson said. “I help organize annual events in the city. One event I’m in charge of is Silver Bells in the City which attracts about 80,000 people.”

Around 34,000 people work in downtown Lansing, Anderson said.

“Downtown Lansing is really the hub of the region and its daytime population due to state workers and other venues make it very busy,” Wayne Beyea, an urban and regional planning professor at Michigan State University, said.

“Understanding the daytime population to the nighttime population makes it unique to the region,” Beyea said.

“Lansing is home to many bars and clubs. During the winter, most bars lose business because of the cold weather,” Matthew Smith, an employee at Nuthouse Sports Grill, said.

“When the weather gets cold, the night crowd becomes less and less,” Smith said. “Our busiest time of the year is during baseball season. We are right across the street from the Lansing Lugnuts stadium. So, we get really busy on game days.”

“I think downtown Lansing faces many challenges,” Beyea said. “First, being able to have a constant presence. And by that, I mean having young professionals and families that want to both live and work downtown. So it drives demand for restaurants and businesses and really puts eyes on the streets which helps with the overall quality of life and safety.”

Lansing residents want some change downtown, Dave Collins, a Lansing Resident, said.

“I think downtown Lansing is a nice area, but it needs more grocery stores,” Collins said.

Lansing has done a good job to develop plans to increase opportunities, Beyea said.

While walking downtown, you can hear music being played throughout the city. On every lamp pole, there are speakers playing music.

“I like how there’s music being played in the city, it gives you a good vibe,” Collins said.

“There are a few new developments happening downtown,” Anderson said. “One is the South Edge Lofts which is a mixed-use development. There will be about 50 apartments and along the bottom floor there will be new retail stores.”

“I think Lansing is moving towards better cooperation that will be to better create economic developments and a desirable and business climate for Lansing and the surrounding region,” Beyea said.

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