EAST LANSING– Proposed state legislation could put East Lansing’s historic districts in jeopardy. House Bill 5232 and Senate Bill 0270, which are currently on the floor of the Michigan legislature, propose to dissolve historic districts after ten years unless opposed by a 2/3 majority of property owners in the historic districts. The bill defined a historic district as any place with one or more resources related to history, architecture, archaeology or culture within its boundaries. East Lansing has six historic districts, Hillcrest Village, Chesterfield Hills, College Grove, Collegeville, Oakwood and Bailey. Members of the East Lansing Historic District Commission and city council have publicly opposed this legislation for a multitude of reasons.
Williamston’s Downtown Historic District joined the exclusive company of national landmarks such as the Michigan State Capitol and Martin Luther King Jr.’s tomb by being named to the National Register of Historic Places this year. The district starts after the D&W store, 151 W Grand River Ave., on the east side and City Hall on the west and cuts off at Middle Street on the south. It was one of seven properties or districts in the state added to the national register in the first round of listings in 2013. Michigan has more than 1,600 listings in the National Register of Historic Places, according to a press release from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Mayor Jim DeForest said the effort was a multi-year project handled by the city’s Downtown Development Authority, or DDA.