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Monday, March 18,2013

Kids in the Hall

Historic restoration and tributes

by Andy Balaskovitz
Tuesday, Sept. 13 — The only excitement out of Monday’s Lansing City Council meeting came during the first 10 minutes as Council meagerly waded through its agenda, waiting for a quorum before it could take any action.

Once 4th Ward Councilwoman Jessica Yorko arrived at about 7:10 p.m. (five Council members are needed for a quorum; Council members Derrick Quinney, Carol Wood, A’Lynne Robinson and Brian Jeffries were the others present), the Council proceeded through business as usual, which included a public hearing on a historic district for the Knapp’s building downtown and two tributes.

Robinson noted that the historic district ordinance for the Knapp’s building is the last piece of the tax incentive puzzle to be used for redeveloping the building that has sat vacant since 2002. Other tax incentives include state brownfield credits and a Renaissance Zone.

The ordinance would establish a historic district on the property at 300 S. Washington Square and make the developers eligible for state and federal tax incentives for improving what a Lansing Historic District Commission has deemed a historic building.

Jeffries pointed out that, if passed, the historic tax credits “are not something that comes from the city,” but rather the state and federal governments. “All we do is review it for historic purposes.”

Three Council regulars spoke in opposition of the proposed ordinance. John Pollard claimed the district is part of a “corporate welfare” package for the Eyde Development Co., which is redeveloping the historic building.

In other business, Mayor Virg Bernero congratulated Bob Trezise, president and CEO of the Lansing Economic Development Corp., for being named the Michigan Economic Developers Association’s Medalist of the Year.

“There’s great risk in dreaming big dreams for your city. Bob has been willing to do that,” Bernero said. “We are blessed to have his leadership.”

Bernero’s remarks came with a unanimously adopted tribute resolution by Council. “I thought the proclamation vote would be 5-3,” Trezise joked.

In other tribute business, the Council recognized the 2011 Celebrate Recovery Walk and Rally, which is scheduled to take place today at the Capitol to raise alcoholism awareness.


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