At the door to a seemingly abandoned church two boys rush in and say, “the doors always open.” According to Dustin Grimes, the door is always open. He is the ambassador for The Fledge, a community meeting space.
One year ago this week, the Fledge opened the doors to its new location on the east side of Lansing, directly behind Sparrow Hospital. Previously in Grand Ledge, the Fledge was created to cultivate happiness, embrace differences, and to bring ideas to fruition. “This is a platform for artists and entrepreneurs to come together and collaborate,” says Grimes, “This is to encourage people to think different, to engage in new ways and to allow people to pursue true happiness.”
The Fledge was founded by Lansing native Jerry Norris, who embraces the chaotic nature of the facility. The 9,700-square-feet former church houses two music recording studios, a fully equipped kitchen, screen printing studio, bitcoin machines, gardens, and even an indoor koi fish pond. By providing a variety of resources and programs, Grimes says the Fledge embodies the idea that by teaching people to fish, they will ultimately be fed for a lifetime.
Where pews once filled the room, locally created art has now taken their place. The Fledge has hosted comedy shows, exhibits, technology demonstrations and more. For information technologist Tim Schmidt, the Fledge has been an asset to Lansing and he hopes to see more people stop by in years to come. “I’ve lived here for five years,” says Schmidt, “The way that these folks integrated themselves in the neighborhood is amazing. They showed up and opened their doors to whoever walked in. They were like “Hi, welcome. What are you interested in?”