On March 12, the Director of Lansing’s Parks and Recreation, Brett Kaschinske, spoke to the Lansing City Council regarding applying for grants to improve some natural spaces across the Lansing area. These requests have an April 1 deadline.
These areas include Hunters Ridge Drive, Willard Avenue, Wise Road, Cambridge to Frances Park Trail, and Rudolph and Dorothy Wilson Park.
The department is applying for two different types of grants: acquisition and development. Acquisition grants allows the property owner to receive 100 percent of the appraisal price. The City of Lansing’s cost comes out of a land acquisition fund the Department of Natural Resources has set aside.
“We have a land acquisition fund for all of these,” Kaschinske said. “This is will not coming out of Parks and Recreation millage.”
The Hunters Ridge Drive, Willard Avenue and Wise Road projects are all up for an acquisition grant.
The development grants are for updating or improving certain parts of the Lansing area. The properties up for the development grant are Cambridge to Frances Park Trail and the Rudolph and Dorothy Wilson Park.
The Cambridge to Frances Park Trail project will extend the river trail to Cambridge Road and create a boardwalk overlooking the Grand River. This will cost over $600,000 to develop.
“This is something in terms of the cost,” said Kaschinske. “That goes up because there are portions of this that will be out over the river . . . obviously pavement on land is cheaper.”
Kaschinske said the main focus of the Parks and Recreation Department is the development of the Lansing River Trail.
“When we’re looking at things, obviously we’re putting a lot of time and effort and energy into the Lansing River Trail,” Kaschinske said . “We want to try and connect folks to that trail.”
However, some residents, like Loretta Stanaway, said the city should focus on the properties they already own.
“We have heard currently and consistently that we can’t maintain the current properties that we have,” Stanaway said . “So I don’t see any sense in adding to that burden by acquiring additional properties.”
Stanaway said she felt especially strong about the Cambridge to Frances Park Trail Connection project.
“That project takes over a quarter of a million dollars,” Stanaway said . “It serves largely a rich and well-to-do community that is looking for something that is a want versus something that is an actual need.”
The City Council will vote on the approval of these grants March 26, and the public hearing will be broadcasted on City TV.