Architect Dan Bollman says: There is an old Merrie Melodies cartoon that offers a whimsical illustration of the land on either side of the Mason-Dixon Line. One side — the industrial north — is parched, cracked and lifeless, while the Dixie side is bountiful and verdant. This week’s Eyesore spotlights a similarly abrupt divider: the railroad line running along the east side of Clare Street, north of Intestate 496. St. Joseph Park and the Westside Neighborhood, located east of the rail line, offer a comfortable mix of man-made and natural urban elements, with large trees and homes dating from early last century. The atmosphere abruptly changes to the west. The site there once served as temporary storage for automobiles awaiting far-off transport. With no more autos to deliver, the area is now abandoned, though the township says it is close to a deal on a redevelopment project for a business park. Vacant acres of cracking pavement demonstrate neglect. Sadly, this condition is too common in our region. When a large commercial enterprise collapses, the businesses that had supplied or serviced the defunct company often fail as well. The area surrounding the shuttered businesses is forgotten and left to the elements. Nature reclaims the once-inhabited lots, as at this site, where grasses and saplings grow through gaps in the expansive concrete. At times, weeds along the railroad line perilously obstruct the view of traffic along surrounding streets.
Matt Brinkley, a senior planner for Lansing Township, said the township acquired the taxreverted property between Clare and Hungerford streets last year. While he said the township does what it can with its resources to keep the weeds from growing long, right of ways around the intersection owned by a railroad company and the state are at times more neglected.
“Eyesore of the Week” is our look at some of the seedier properties in Lansing. It rotates each week with Eye Candy of the Week. If you have a suggestion, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Andy Balaskovitz at 999-5064.