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woodsstephene

Lansing River Front Development

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I have always wondered why Lansing didn't propose something fully utilizing the river, such as in San Antonio or Oklahoma City's BrickTown (if you haven't seen what they've done, check them out--it's very impressive, San Antonio at http://thesanantonioriverwalk.com/index.asp and Oklahoma City at www.bricktownokc.com ). To get the ball rolling all it would really require is building a strip of entertainment, dining and retail along the river itself, with a wide walkway and plaza area. In my mind that only would really have to be low-level (I would of course prefer high/mid-rise, but it's Lansing...), almost strip-mall like. Just something to get people on the river. Parks are great and Lansing really has done well in that respect, as far as the river goes, but what about 'hanging out' by the river, shopping and dining by the river, etc. Any comments or ideas? As many others have pointed out on here, it just seems such a valuable resource is going to waste downtown.

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The mayor is currently drafting a plan for the riverfront through downtown, it will be called "Grand Vision." I picture most of Grand Ave being redeveloped into a mid to high-rise residential district, maybe with a hotel. I picture both sides of Grand being developed, but I think the city will continue the riverwalk down the west bank, whether or not it is utilized for retail is another story, I certainly hope it is. I also think that the current museum district will be completely cleared and redeveloped into mid to high-rise residential, with the riverwalk remaining, but being build more urban. I can't wait to see if the mayors plans includes some these ideas and if they have a plan of how to lure develoipers for them.

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Aw, hood that's great to hear. I agree about retail, but I'm not sure it's completely necessary as long as there is a critical mass of dining and entertainment options. Just something to 'get the butts in the seats" of the river front. And, of course, the retail will follow the residents, so maybe that is a wiser first step. In any case it's great to hear about the Grand Vision. I try to keep up on stuff like that through this site and LSJ.com etc, but I live overseas and I'm finding there are lots of things I just never hear about. Do you know if this is a plan for just building up the area surrounding the river or for actually using the river as the centerpiece of the project? I picture shopfronts and restauraunts opening out onto the river directly, with seating on the banks or a boardwalk, etc., and windows and patios overlooking the water. While any development would be nice, I'd much rather see that type of thing over just placing buildings in close proximity to the river and having a trail go through. If they're using the space, they should fully incorporate the river IMO. Also I forgot to mention in my first post, Cleveland's Flats is another great example--even though it's gone through a bit of a rough patch, it's now being again redeveloped. Something like that with boat launches, and a real 'boardwalk' feel could do wonders for downtown Lansing.

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I think it will be pitched as an overall plan for the Grand River and areas around it, so I would assume that the river will be the center piece. They should be relesing the report anytime now, if they don't have it out by the end of the month I'd be suprised, it was one of the points of his taking the mayors office.

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Why do you suspect it so soon? Have you heard something that I haven't? It's been my perception that this is just a goal of this administration, not something they are rushing into. From everything I've heard, they are first going to put together a few public forums, so I wouldn't expect any plan to be done soon.

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Yeah that's my fear about that 'plan' anyway, from what I understand it, that it will be a forum for discussion, not so much a schematic of the actual process. I suppose it is a bit unfair to expect a Lansing-sized city to put up the amount of capital that cities like Cleveland are (and their $220M+ Flats revitalization), but it still seems like even one strip of boardwalk with shops etc. could really get people on the banks. I'm confident that something will happen in the future, but it may just take a critical mass of people living downtown to make it happen.

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Why do you suspect it so soon? Have you heard something that I haven't? It's been my perception that this is just a goal of this administration, not something they are rushing into. From everything I've heard, they are first going to put together a few public forums, so I wouldn't expect any plan to be done soon.

In his State of the City address he said he would create a "Grand Vision" intiative within 30 days, I haven't heard anything on it yet. -_-

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Don't ever take State of the City addresses too seriously. ;) I learned the hard way from believing in ever word Hollister said in his for the longest. lol According to him, Lansing should now have a performing arts center, an expanded Michigan National Tower, something more than just Oldsmobile Park....

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When I hear a specific timeline I assume that something real is going on, not just fluff. If he didn't have a real plan, he should of simply said that he would be starting the initiative and leave out the "within 30 days."

Also, the Boji's backed out on expanding Michigan National, thankfully, and that was out of Hollister's hands. And he really tried to get that performing arts center, and if had stayed in office I'm certain he would of got it built.

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But, politicians make promises all of the time, and sometimes even set timelines. Don't be naive, my friend. It will save you a lot of disappointment. It's pretty obvious, by now, that he is behind on this. The budget, at the moment, is taking up most of city governments time. You also have to take into account that anything done on the riverfront will require searching for developers, getting city council approval, and most importantly, getting citizens approval, as under the city charter, citizens have to approve any sell of city land (which will have to be aquired for any land the city buys up to make any riverfront plan work).

This is going to require more than just a few days or months of land aquistion and planning. Bernero can release whatever kind of plan that he wants. It will be a rough draft, at best, seeing as how the development of a city riverfront is a huge undertaking that will require many parties approvals.

Just to put this in perspective, it tooks years of partnerships, aquisitions, and planning just to get the original part of the river trail done.

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All I want to see for the riverfront is a visionary master plan for right now, just to set things in the right direction. They can set it up like East Village, give a visionary plan with basic guidline for what can be built. From there out the developers, with minimal help from the city, can buy the land and build. The city shoul also pre-approve the appropriate tax breaks to speed up development.

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Speak of the devil...anyway, here is a recent interview with Bernero in the City Pulse. As I suspected, he's been busy with lots of other things he didn't expect, and the "Grand Vision" is still many months off:

Morgan: The next milestone is the one-year mark. What do you hope to accomplish by Jan. 1, 2007?

Bernero: A lot of things are sort of in their infancy. Hopefully, we

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January of '07 is a ways off, I hope he doesen't plan on taking that long. The budget is basically worked out, it's now only a question of working out the administrations differences with the council, that shouldn't take anywhere near as long as preparing the intitial budget. He should really prioritize his projects rather than attempt to work on everything at once like it's sounding he wants to do. This quote is also interesting, even if vague " I think you

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January of '07 is a ways off, I hope he doesen't plan on taking that long. The budget is basically worked out, it's now only a question of working out the administrations differences with the council, that shouldn't take anywhere near as long as preparing the intitial budget. He should really prioritize his projects rather than attempt to work on everything at once like it's sounding he wants to do. This quote is also interesting, even if vague " I think you

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As far as I know the Grand Vision is only supposed to cover the river through downtown. So it could be as little as Shiawassee to Kalamazoo or as much as Saginaw to MLK.

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Yeah, Grand Vision is only supposed to cover the river through downtown; nothing outside of it.

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Yeah, Grand Vision is only supposed to cover the river through downtown; nothing outside of it.

really, is that all? Weird, seems to me there was a lot more talk of other areas

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Nope, not at all. Most of the riverfront through the rest of the city is either public parkland, or already established.

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Nope, not at all. Most of the riverfront through the rest of the city is either public parkland, or already established.

So? Things can change... crap if lansing is left in a static state we're in trouble

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I'm happy with the state of the rest of the riverfront, the river in most parts isn't worth developing. It's too small, too dirty and too secluded from most current development. There may be some decent opprotunities to improve the river through EL and maybe Old Town, but for everywhere else it would be a waste of time to come up with a plan.

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What Hood said was what I was getting at. With the exception of a few key spots, I'm pretty pleased with the rest of the riverfront in Lansing. The city has done a great job with the river trail and keeping the parts natural that should be. Every square inch does not need to be developed with shops, entertainment...and so on, IMO. Outside of downtown I'm very happy with the natural state of thigns.

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What Hood said was what I was getting at. With the exception of a few key spots, I'm pretty pleased with the rest of the riverfront in Lansing. The city has done a great job with the river trail and keeping the parts natural that should be. Every square inch does not need to be developed with shops, entertainment...and so on, IMO. Outside of downtown I'm very happy with the natural state of thigns.

There are nice spots here and there but you can't honestly tell me there isn't HUGE potential along the riverfront in Old Town and REO Town along the Red Cedar. The problem with the river is that if you're on it you don't see the city and if you're in the city you don't see the river. The old way of thinking that put a giant parking garage on the riverfront is dead. There is a place for some of the more natural spaces but there is a whole hell of a lot more potential than just what is there right now. I've got full faith in the city to produce a great vision for the river front's future with both visibility and usability. I think you'll be surprised.

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In Old town, there is little room for improvement, Old Town only has a small portion of it that borders the river, and most of that is fixed up about as much as I expect to ever be. As for REO Town, it is too distant from the river in most spots, also I don't support REO Town in general, I think that it is a lost cause when it comes to any grand redevelopments. It should simply be made an acceptable business district, it would be lucky to be that.

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There are nice spots here and there but you can't honestly tell me there isn't HUGE potential along the riverfront in Old Town and REO Town along the Red Cedar. The problem with the river is that if you're on it you don't see the city and if you're in the city you don't see the river. The old way of thinking that put a giant parking garage on the riverfront is dead. There is a place for some of the more natural spaces but there is a whole hell of a lot more potential than just what is there right now. I've got full faith in the city to produce a great vision for the river front's future with both visibility and usability. I think you'll be surprised.

Yeah, sure, there are a few key places outside of downtown where the river could better integrated with the urban landscape, but I don't think you get that I LIKE how most of it is natural and secluded. Not every last inch of the riverfront through the city needs to be messed with with landscapping, construction, business...I like the secluded feel of it all. So yes, I can honestly tell you that I'm quite pleased with the riverfront, for the most part outside of downtown. You and I obviously have very different visions of the riverfront, so let it be.

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i know that bernero was hoping to have made headway on this by january 2007...was anything about the Grand Vision proposed?

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