The East Lansing City Council’s June 16 meeting covered a proposed board retreat and the use of police body cameras, but a majority of the council’s time was spent listening to current and future development projects, mainly in the downtown East Lansing development project, as well as improvements to local parks and recreation.
Community and Economic Development Administrator Tom Fehrenbach, updated the public on the status of multiple apartment and housing building developments such as: The Landmark, the Newman Lofts, The Park District, The Abbot and Building C.
“In terms of Center City (The Landmark) the project is essentially complete,” said Fehrenbach. “There’s a few minor repair items, replanting the trees and that sort of thing, but the Landmark has been operational since last fall.”
“The Newman Lofts has similarly been operational, including our parking deck and obviously our open deck dining area,” said Fehrenbach.
According to an article by the Lansing State Journal, The Landmark is a 12-story apartment building, which houses both MSU students, as well as young adults, as its location is convenient for students to be able to access campus.
The Newman lofts on the other hand is a different type of living community. According to an article by The State News, this building is a senior community, meant for residents aged 55 and older. Additionally, this is the first living community like this in the downtown East Lansing.
To add to these buildings that have been built, and ready for tenants to move in, Fehrenbach said an additional project that is scheduled to begin the first week of July. A new mural that will be painted by artist Lauren Asta.
“This is the eastern facing wall in the alley between Pinball Pete’s and the project,” said Fehrenbach.
Between Abbot and Grand River, there is another development in the works. The Park District, which is yet to be completed, although conceptual drawings are available and provided in the meeting.
“In terms of Park District, obviously with the COVID situation there was a bit of a shutdown and some delay in the project,” said Fehrenbach. “But it is back on track.”
The Abbot, which is on the east side of Grand River is another development mentioned by Fehrenbach. He says it is coming along well, and the work that is being done is smaller things such as bike lanes and curb and gutter work. Finally, he says how inspections are being planned for it, with final safety inspections in the last week of July, and move in planned for late August if all goes as planned.
The final living related project in the downtown development that was discussed during this meeting was Building C, which has been approved according to Fehrenbach. This is a part of a multiple building development, with others being Building A, B, and D.
“They are retooling the design and building team to submit do the work to prep for building plan submittal,” said Fehrenbach. “They are expecting that the team will fire up here in early July, and they are targeting a late fall submittal date, and I think their hope at this point is to break ground by the end of the year on this project.” ”
When opened for discussion, Mayor Pro Tem Aaron Stephens brought up the question to Fehrenbach about plans for spacing out move in for The Abbot this fall, as they do plan to have students living there.
“We are working to try to coordinate all the move ins for the large projects downtown,” said Fehrenbach. “We have requested from each of the Hub, the Center City, and the Abbot their plans, and we’re hoping to bring those folks together, make sure they’re coordinating with each other and make sure they have a plan to stagger the move in to avoid as much as possible the congestion and sort of take into account the things that we learned from last year as well.”
Once the discussion and questions regarding the Downtown Development Project was complete, Mayor Ruth Beier moved the topic over to the next item on the agenda, Parks and Recreation. This was presented by Tim McCaffrey, the director of the Parks, Recreation, and Art department of East Lansing.
McCaffrey presented multiple sports field developments that are currently in the works, or are almost finished. This includes: baseball fields, pickleball courts, tennis courts and basketball courts that will be either renovated or built as part of ongoing, or proposed projects.
“The first project is the Patriarche Park Baseball Field improvement project, which has been sort of on the horizon for several years, and we are moving into completion on that,” said McCaffrey. “It is the four fields that exist in that sort of square were all renovated as part of this particular project.”
In this project, McCaffrey said that fencing, benches and backstops were replaced, as well as bike loops and trash containers being added. Finally two of the four fields had spectator seating added.
Funding for this project was displayed through the following graphic.
McCaffrey presented another project proposal for the park, called the Patriarche Park Athletic Court Reconstruction Project. He presented the preliminary plan for it, as the grant has not yet been approved, and the public hearing was just recently completed. McCaffrey said that resolution from the City Council about this project will be received at a later date.
“What we are doing is we are proposing a significant renovation to the tennis courts, and the addition of additional pickleball courts,” said McCaffrey when discussing what changes the project plans to complete. “Reconstruction of the entry drive into Patriarche Park, improvements to the existing parking lot, putting a little small plaza with a covered area in it.”
Similar to the baseball field project, funding for this proposal is displayed through the following graphic.