New large dog park opens in Meridian Township

The entrance to the Meridian Large Dog Park, located at 1990 Central Park Dr. in Okemos, is open to residents of the township and non-residents. Online registration is now available for Meridian Township’s dog parks, including a new off-leash large dog park. The new park, which opened in September, is located behind the mall at Central Park South. The large dog park is for dogs over 30 pounds, while the small dog park, which opened June 2019, is located at Nancy Moore Park at 1960 Gaylord C Smith Ct., East Lansing, is for dogs under 30 pounds. About 100 dogs registered for the large dog park and 250 registered for the small dog park, said Parks and Recreation Director LuAnn Meisner. 

Annual park fee

According to a press release, owners registering their dog will pay an annual fee to maintain the parks’ high standards.

Wayfair cancels its plan to open a call center in Meridian Township

Photo of 4700 South Hagadorn Rd. in Meridian Township where Wayfair planned to set up its call center. Credit: Asya Lawrence

Although Wayfair, an online store for furniture, decor, housewares and more, was not clear about why exactly they changed their minds about opening a call center in Meridian Township on South Hagadorn Road, city officials speculate it was due to COVID-19. 

“They did not say exactly what the reason was, but they let us know as soon as they knew that they were not looking for long-term locations,” said Amber Clark, Meridian Township’s Neighborhood and Economic Development Director. 

“Like other organizations due to the Covid-19 crisis they aren’t looking for in person locations, that’s our speculation,” said Frank Walsh, Township Manager, who explained that though this decision came as a surprise, it was expected. “We were surprised, but we also had our doubts once Covid-19 hit five or six months ago. We could see that it was going to be easier and safer for people to work out of their homes rather than putting 500 people in the building.”

“Although the news is devastating, we certainly understand it’s a safety and health issue here,” Walsh said.

Meridian Township Board works to revitalize downtown Okemos

Revamped position works to revamp downtown Okemos

The Meridian Township Board announced Amber Clark as the new Director of Neighborhoods and Economic Development during its last meeting on Oct. 5. 

Clark proposed the position be restructured to serve neighborhoods, as most of Okemos and Haslett residents live in suburban areas. Keeping neighborhoods in the loop

As Clark moved into the director position, she told the city manager and team about her plans to reinvigorate the role. “Upon taking the position, I told the team I was interested in drawing in the neighborhoods of such a residential-heavy township,” Clark said. “The core areas looking to develop immediately touch the residents in these neighborhoods, and economic development isn’t just about bringing in new businesses.”

If redevelopment funding is secured, the development team plans to complete demolition and asbestos abatement of buildings on the west side of the community by Dec.

The 24th Annual Michigan Solar Home Tour goes virtual amidst pandemic

The 2020 Michigan Solar Home tour hosted by the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association took place Saturday, October 3, over Zoom instead of the traditional walkthrough home tour. The annual event is in its 24th year.  

In previous years, people would showcase their home or businesses’ solar systems throughout Michigan. Due to the virtual nature of the event, guests were able to see every solar system. The tour, which went from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., allowed guests to understand how solar energy can reduce your monthly energy bill while promoting a clean environment. A typical “tour” used Zoom’s screen-sharing tool in which speakers showed pictures and statistics of their solar systems.

Twelve people showcased their solar system, including MSU Professor David Arnosti.

Meridian Mall stores sustain sales amidst COVID-19

The Meridian Mall Food Court entrance has the mall’s COVID-19 protective measures and protocols posted on it. (Photo/Isaiah Hall)

While there were challenges of operating a business during the pandemic, retailers in the Meridian Mall have been able to sustain their business because of its transition to new customer service approaches. 

“The closures also provided an opportunity for innovation,” said Stacey Keating, senior director of public relations & corporate communications at CBL Properties, the Tennessee-based company that owns the Meridian Mall. “Many retailers quickly launched curbside delivery programs and restaurants ramped up their delivery and curbside takeout options. “New delivery and curbside programs are continuing to evolve and we expect this to be a trend into the holiday season and beyond. As restrictions were lifted and malls reopened, we’ve seen traffic slowly build, and retailers have reported that sales are healthy and conversion rates are high.”

Shoppers have more cash

Businesses in the mall credit part of the reason why the conversion rates — the percentage of users who visit the mall who purchase goods or services — are high is that people have more money in their pockets, said Kris Vezino, Meridian Mall Sunglass Hut Store manager.

Lyssa Kay Adams’ latest book inspires fans to read more romance

Once a journalist and now a full-time romance novel writer, meet Lyssa Kay Adams. Photo by Julian Stainback. Lyssa Kay Adams wasn’t always into romance novels until she read her first one in the eighth grade. She was inspired to create more romance novels on her own ever since.  

Adams was an award-winning journalist of nearly 20 years who gave up the world of telling true stories to write her own romance novels. 

Some of her novels have gotten nominations by the RWA, or Romance Writers of America, like “Wild in Rio” and “Seventh Inning Heat.” Since then, she has been a full-time writer for romance. 

Her latest book, “The Bromance Book Club,” made its debut at Schuler Books in Okemos on Nov. 6.   

With romance and a little comedy, Adams expects her latest book to give everyone an important lesson to learn.

Meridian Twp. prepares adventures for trick-or-treaters

Still looking for a way to celebrate Halloween with the little ones? Look no further. Show off your cool costumes during Meridian Township’s weekend full of three free Halloween Adventures. All of these events take place on Saturday, Oct. 26 at the Meridian Police Department located at  5151 Marsh Road. 

The first event of the weekend will be at the Meridian Police Department where visitors will be able to tour the Public Safety Building.

Meridian Township adds an -s to Family Winter Sport Weekend

Meridian Township’s Parks and Recreation department expanded this winter its schedule of Family Winter Sports Weekends. What once was a program held in one weekend spans multiple weekends.

“When we first started out 18 years ago, we try to do just one big weekend,” said Mike Devlin, one of Meridian Township Parks and Recreation team specialists, “Now, every weekend we have something going on.”