By Griffin Wasik
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter
A $143 million proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system could be finished as soon as 2018. The BRT would run from the Capitol to Meridian Mall via Michigan and Grand River avenues. It would also add a designated bus lane, remove current bus stops, and add traffic signals, according to Meridian Township documents. “The total cost of the BRT is not $133 million,” John R. Veenstra, a Trustee member on the Meridian Township Board of Commissioners, said. “Many people are getting this confused.
Centrally located in downtown Lansing, our state’s Capitol towers over local businesses, commuter traffic, and locals walking around. With its intricate architecture, statues, and overall grandeur, its clear that this is the most important building in the area. Across the street sits Lansing’s City Hall, looming equally as tall, but with a much less conspicuous sign that quietly reads “City Hall.” While both are obviously important places, the security in each are very different. Walk into the Capitol, home of Michigan’s senate, House of Representatives, historical archives, priceless art and decorations, and not to mention VERY important people, and you are barely even asked what you’re doing there before you’re allowed to roam the building, seemingly unattended.
By Kevyn Collier-Roberts
Listen Up Lansing Staff Reporter
If you take a personal tour of Michigan’s capital building, you’ll notice the loud sounds of heavy machinery amongst the usually quiet hallways inside. These sounds are sounds of renovation and restoration. Michigan State’s Capital building is currently receiving major construction to the many layers of the ceiling that surrounds the monumental cast iron dome. Robert Blackshaw, the Director of Facility Operations, described the issues that were causing the ceiling’s layers to collapse. “In the ground floor corridor, which is probably where you entered by the tour guide’s area, the ceilings are being restored and repaired,” Blackshaw said.
By Isaac Constans
Listen Up, Lansing Staff Reporter
Being the state capital means that Lansing is home to Michigan’s highest-ranking officials and is the source for legislation in Michigan. But governmental action is not contained to under the dome; government employees work throughout the city and their employment has an impact that can be felt throughout Lansing. The presence of the capitol also encourages many different state-wide businesses to settle their headquarters in Lansing, according to Keith Lambert, a tri-county development manager for the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP). “I think it has a huge impact on Lansing in general,” Lambert said. “Because we are the capital city of the state Michigan, we see a lot of businesses that are advocacy-oriented.
By Zachary Swiecicki
Old Town Lansing Times Staff Reporter
Old Town Lansing. Even in its own name, Old Town has to share Lansing. The same can be said at most intersections in Old Town. Buildings in downtown Lansing can be seen down almost any road in Old Town that leads south towards the Capitol Building. For some, seeing downtown Lansing means more possibilities to help grow Old Town.
Kaylee Mead drives her usual 45-minute commute from Brighton to Lansing every morning on her way to work and said there is one thing she always notices — the Michigan State Capitol. Mead has been interning and working at the Capitol for three years now and said that every morning her commute is worth it because she loves driving in and seeing the State Capitol building accompanied by a beautiful sunrise. “Not growing up around here, I never thought of Lansing as much more than the Capitol of Michigan,” Mead said. “Now that I drive here every morning, I love seeing the Capitol building because it is familiar and actually really pretty.”
According to Mead, she and others in her office think of the Capitol building as iconic. “I hope that most people would think of the Capitol as an icon and make a point to visit it if they aren’t from around here,” Mead said.
The Capitol Building in downtown Lansing is one of the oldest and most historic buildings in the city. Inside, events like hearings and meetings with the Senate and House of Representatives are held regularly. And similar to many pieces of older architecture, constant upkeep of the space is a necessity. Earlier this year large-scale renovations began on the Michigan Capitol. The Capitol building is currently undergoing a restoration process unlike any other in its past, and has been for the last several months.
Today, voters across the state will be asked to increase the sales tax that customers pay at the register, this time as a part of funding package for maintenance of the state’s roads known as Proposal 1. Voters in Michigan passed a similar ballot question over 15 years ago, in 1994, in order to pay for a school-funding reform package. The two ballot proposals differ greatly though, because of another contrasting detail, aside from what the money was being used for. In 1994, the ballot didn’t really raise taxes, according to Lansing public relations executive John Truscott. Truscott said the 1994 proposal, known as Proposal A, came after lawmakers reduced property taxes and voted to replace the lost revenue with an income tax increase.
After nearly 20 years of being closed to the public for tours on Saturdays, Lansing’s 136-year-old Capitol building will be opening its doors this month for residents and tourists alike to tour the state’s Capitol. The Michigan State Capitol Commission, formed in 2014 to oversee the Capitol, decided last Tuesday to hire another tour guide, allowing the Capitol to provide more hours for touring, chairman of the commission and clerk of the state House Gary Randall said. The new tour guide will cost about $33,000 a year, according to Randall. Randall said any additional costs would be small by comparison to the return on investment that the commission hopes will be created by the new Saturday tours. “I think this is going to engage the public and be a great service for citizens in the area and in Michigan,” Randall said.