Planned project remembers Lansing’s past; builds its future

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Eric Helzer and Christopher Stalkowski holding the photo of new development
Eric Helzer and Christopher Stralkowski holding the photo of new development

In a city where there are construction projects are frequently announced, one in southern Lansing wants to have a different kind of impact.

The project involves a building to help the community with health services and financial empowerment, according to presenters Eric Helzer and Christopher Stralkowski. They made their proposal Feb. 28 The other part of the property will include housing for veterans.

Helzer and Stralkowski said they are humbled to be part of a project that will benefit the city and provide some needed services.

The property at Pleasant Grove and Holmes has an important history. It is being developed on the former site of a school that civil rights leader Malcolm X attended.

Community member Joy Gleason said she hopes there will be a space there to learn about Malcolm X and his history in Lansing. During the public comment period, she spoke passionately about the need to preserve the history of the city and this property.

Malcolm X attended Pleasant Grove Elementary there from 1930-36, before attending junior high in Lansing and then high school in Mason. This property presents a tiny part of the history of Lansing and of a civil rights icon.

Helzer and Stralkowski said they are sure that this will not be like other projects. It is not clear how the development will recognize Malcolm X.

The presenters and public said southern Lansing has been forgotten when it comes to bringing money and development to the area. The project will be focused on serving needs in the community, with the commercial building focused on improving the health, finances and education of the area and the residential building for veterans.

Helzer and Stralkowski said the project should take about two years. Then, they hope to replicate the model in other cities.

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