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Monday, April 15,2013

Creating a community vision

The future of the Michigan/Grand River Avenue corridor

by Sam Inglot
The Michigan Avenue and Grand River Avenue corridor extends from the Capitol Building in downtown Lansing (pictured) all the way to Webberville. Sam Inglot/City Pulse

Monday, April 15 — The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission is looking for citizen input to develop a community vision of the area’s busiest thoroughfare: the Michigan Avenue and Grand River Avenue corridor.

From May 1 to May 7, the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission will host a “vision charrette” for that stretch of the city. The goal is for members of the community to work with professionals to come up with a grand vision of the corridor.

“In order to plan for a more sustainable future, we need to include everyone that we can in the planning process,” said Susan Pigg, executive director of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission. “This initiative is one way to do that. We’re going to create a vision for the Greater Lansing region, but we’re going to try it out on one corridor, the busiest in our region, which stretches from the Capitol building (in downtown Lansing) all the way to Webberville.”

This “vision” will include, but is not limited to: storefront appearance, transportation, green space, walkability, sustainability, services and aesthetics.

At the opening event at the Lansing Center, 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. May 1, Pigg said event participants will be asked to develop ideas for the area, which will then be incorporated by architects, designers and engineers into a summary vision.

Pigg said the design and engineering crews will settle in at 333 E. Grand River in East Lansing (the former Barnes & Noble), where people can follow the process.

“There will be people illustrating and designing the ideas that come out of opening session,” Pigg said. “(Community members) will be able to literally look over the engineers’ shoulder to see what they’re working on. We’ll also be holding some small group and focus group sessions at that space so that different people can talk amongst themselves and generate reactions to the designs.”

The week of community input will wrap up with a “grand unveiling” on May 7 at the Hannah Community Center, Pigg said.

“We’ll have the grand unveiling, a summary of all the different information and ideas that were thrown together that week and will talk about next steps,” she said.

“This is a very grand vision, not a regulatory activity. It’s not a direction to municipalities. It’s just an opportunity to give everyone a chance to get his or her ideas out about the corridor.”

Pigg said the Michigan Avenue and Grand River Avenue corridor is the “main street” of the tri-county area, which includes Ingham, Eaton and Clinton counties. Pigg said within the three counties, the corridor is the most populated area, has the most vehicle trips, has the most walking people and has the densest business area. The corridor is 19 miles long and consists of 10 municipalities, she said.

To RSVP to the opening session and to check out more information about the vision charrette, click here.


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