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Monday, March 18,2013

Kids in the Hall

A pair of parkland proposals to appear on August ballots

by Andy Balaskovitz
Monday, Jan. 23 — If at first you don’t succeed, try again. And again. And again. The fourth time was the charm for the Bernero administration's effort in getting a ballot proposal through the City Council that asks voter permission to sell off an old golf course and adjacent park in Lansing Township.

By a 6-1 margin Monday night, the Council approved asking voter permission to consider selling Waverly Golf Course and Michigan Avenue Park — 120.48 acres — in the Aug. 7 presidential primary election.

Fourth Ward Councilwoman Jessica Yorko was absent. At-Large Councilwoman Carol Wood voted against. Wood reiterated her “concerns about selling off large chunks of park property,” adding that she wanted to see the Request for Proposals for developing the old Red Cedar Golf Course before considering other park sales.

“I would like to see how that’s developed before looking at selling off any other parks at this point,” Wood said. Seventy percent of Lansing voters approved giving the city permission to sell almost 13 acres of Red Cedar for redevelopment in November.

Council members A’Lynne Robinson, Derrick Quinney and Tina Houghton each expressed concerns about all of Michigan Avenue Park being included in the proposal because it’s still used regularly. The administration said including the entire park is easier when issuing a request for proposals and that exact boundaries could be negotiated if a development plan comes forward — if voters allow the city to pursue selling it.

In other news, the Council unanimously approved a second parkland-voter-permission ballot proposal for a 1.4-acre parcel on the city’s east side that’s part of Oak Park. As part of the “Vector Building” sale, the city will ask voter permission to sell an old parks maintenance building and parking lot to Neogen Corp., which is looking to expand. Council regular John Pollard — who opposed the proposal — noted Monday that the city had rezoned the parcel in 2010 for industrial use, accusing the city of making a deal with Neogen before voters had a chance to weigh in.

In other business, the Council approved four other resolutions Monday night. The first was setting the schedule for next week’s meeting, which will convene at 5 p.m. before the mayor’s annual State of the City address. The Council will meet to conduct business on the agenda before moving to the Accident Fund building for the speech at 7 p.m.

A second resolution was for a $150 advertisement on behalf of the Council in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority’s program book.

The last two resolutions paid tribute to the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council for various activities it has sponsored — including last year’s Dragon Boat Race volunteer stream monitoring program — and also the Lansing’s Pastors fourth annual Pastor Salute Luncheon to be held Feb. 25 at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing.
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