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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Council Night

Red Cedar Golf Course ballot proposal, executive health benefits changes up for City Council vote Monday

by Andy Balaskovitz

Friday, Aug. 24 — After Mayor Virg Bernero announced his interest in a plan to redevelop more than just 12.5 acres of the former Red Cedar Golf Course, the City Council is scheduled to vote Monday on whether to place a ballot question before voters Nov. 6 that would support the plan.


Voters authorized the sale of about 12.5 acres of the former golf course for redevelopment in November, with the rest of the property to be used as a large storm water management system for curbing pollution into the Red Cedar River. The development team of Chris Jerome and Joel Ferguson has proposed acquiring more than 12.5 acres of the 61-acre golf course, which Bernero closed in 2007 for budgetary reasons.


The resolution before Council asks voters to authorize the sale of the remaining 45 acres for redevelopment. Jerome and Ferguson plan to include an amphitheater, professional and student housing and a park for public use. They have expressed an interest in privately maintaining the park in perpetuity, but it is uncertain whether the park would be publicly or privately owned — those details would be worked out in a development agreement should voters approve the ballot proposal, the developers have said. Mayoral Chief of Staff Randy Hannan has said it’s “unlikely” that all 45 acres would be sold to the developers if it’s approved.


As was the case with the 12.5-acre proposal approved last year, proceeds from the sale “will be used to improve recreational facilities within Red Cedar Park, defray costs related to the proposed stormwater management project, and/or improve and maintain facilities in the Lansing park system,” the resolution says.


The Council’s Committee of the Whole unanimously approved the resolution on Monday. See here for more on Jerome and here for more on his and Ferguson’s proposal.


In other scheduled business, the Council will vote on changes to health care coverage for the city’s “executive management group,” and non-bargaining employees. The administration-led effort is meant to cut heath care costs for the city and is the first step in eventually getting all city employees on similar health care plans. See here for more on the proposal.


The Council also is scheduled to vote on two resolutions that extend its support for a statewide ballot proposal mandating 25 percent of Michigan’s energy come from renewable sources by 2025, and for a movement that seeks to place limits on the amount corporations can spend on “political speech.”


Finally, the Council is ending the latest chapter of Occupy Lansing in which members of the group sought the final costs of last year’s protest. In a report from the Ways and Means Committee, the administration tallied the final costs of the group’s occupation of Reutter Park last year at $15,107.51. Costs were attributed to trash and other cleanup, Lansing Police Department overtime and portable bathrooms. Also, the report says the administration did not bill members of Occupy Lansing to help pay the costs, nor does it plan to. The committee “considers this matter concluded as it pertains to its regular committee work,” the report says.

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