- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - A group of city officials and residents has come up with proposals to beautify two alleys in downtown East Lansing.

The projects are expected to cost $88,000 total, the Lansing State Journal (https://on.lsj.com/1fmUm6m ) reported. If the community can raise half of the money by early November, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. has promised to match it.

Under the proposals, the alley behind Grove Street parking ramp would get additional lighting, landscaping and a mural. Buildings in the alley in the 500 block of East Grand River would get several tables of outdoor seating, as well as fresh paint and more exterior lighting.

In the Grove Street alley, a collaborative intergenerational project would pair students from East Lansing Public Schools with participants of the Prime Time Seniors program to create a mosaic.

While brainstorming about ways to transform the downtown area in a way similar to Ann Street Plaza, a former parking lot that was converted into a stage and open seating area with a gas fireplace, the idea for the alley projects came about, according to East Lansing community development analyst Heather Pope.

Many visitors to downtown East Lansing walk from the Grove Street ramp to Ann Street Plaza, Pope said.

“We always look at (different) areas of downtown to make them more community friendly,” she said.

East Lansing resident Summer Minnick, who sits on the East Lansing Planning Commission and is also the director of external relations and federal affairs for the Michigan Municipal League, has been working on the proposals.

“Cities (that) invest in their public space see big returns,” she said. “It sets you apart, it brings people into the community, it gives a sense of place and it brings people of all ages together.”

Fundraising will begin Oct. 7 through the crowdfunding website Patronicity, which allows for local control and involvement. Work would start in the spring if the fundraising effort is successful in garnering at least $44,000 in about a month.

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Information from: Lansing State Journal, https://www.lansingstatejournal.com


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