Old Town Boundaries Cause Conflict

By Katie Harrington
Old Town Times staff writer

Old Town may be a Lansing treasure, full of art and entertainment and growing in popularity each day.  But to some, Old Town has extended its boundaries too far into neighboring residential areas, and recently there has been an increasing problem of where exactly those boundaries are. The issue of Old Town’s borders first began to unfold with the opening of Rizzi Designs, located on North Pine Street in Lansing. “When they opened, [The owner of Rizzi Designs] stated that she was in Old Town when she is not,” said Rina Risper, the publisher of The New Citizens Press and a resident of the Walnut neighborhood in Lansing.  “She did this to market herself better.  In my opinion it’s deceptive marketing.”

Although Rizzi Designs is a member of the Old Town Commercial Association, an organization that anyone can join, Risper claims that the store is not within the boundaries of Old Town, and that this has blurred the lines of what exactly constitutes a part of Old Town. Risper said that the neighborhood she lives in, Walnut neighborhood, located west of the center of Old Town, has also been called part of Old Town.  However, she insists that it is not. “[Old Town] is its own distinct place, and we are distinct,” Risper said.  “I’ve been here for 20 years, and nobody thinks my neighborhood is part of Old Town.”

Eric Schertzing, the Ingham County treasurer, said that although there are boundaries for the OTCA, the boundaries for Old Town are not laid out anywhere.