Ground Breaking


I notice them. Sometimes I use them as a gauge of the economic climate of the neighborhood I am visiting. But any time I see a home or business empty and vacant; for sale or lease signs plunged into the ground like a surrender flag, I cringe a little. I tell myself that things are getting better and in fact there aren’t as many neglected homes as some other cities. Sometimes seeing two or three boarded up homes with overgrown yards and broken windows breaks my heart. I wonder if the families lost their home to foreclosures. Or did they just move on with no one willing or waiting to take their place. With hardships hitting so many hard working families it’s moments like today that really fill me with hope for Lansing. Today I was part of a rebirth celebration. A Ground Breaking Ceremony! Board of Water and Light has commenced their highly anticipated construction of its first natural gas power plant. Located in the heart of REO Town, the new 182 million building will be built at The Grand Trunk Lansing Depot on Washington Ave. The old train depot, which is also getting refurbished in the deal, will be used as a conference center for community events. It’s a revitalization that this area needs desperately. If this area could be rebuilt with sheer determination it would be thriving. This is an area where graffiti artists create masterpieces. It is where non profits occupy many of the store fronts and store owners put signs in the windows saying “customers wanted”. It’s a place where a homeowner would buy the foreclosed house next door and through donations and volunteer work provide a micro community center. It’s the type of neighborhood where they put up their own sign, with pride. Despite all that, this area still struggles with its isolation from other thriving areas to the north. There’s a hope in the decision by BWL to grow their business in REO Town. Today we pulled into the once closed off parking area, preceded by a line of cars in an already full lot and followed by a string of cars behind us despite the lateness of our arrival. The very large tent erected for the event was packed full, bulging out at every entry way with attendants hoping to get out of the rain. Introductions were soon made by J. Peter Lark, General Manager of Board and Water & Light. We were graced with the optimistic comments of Governor Rick Snyder and the boisterous, entertaining speech of Mayor Virg Bernero. It’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of something new, something revitalized and something hopeful. For the next 18 months, until its completion, it will actively showcase a sign that Lansing’s still here, still progressing and still full of people who truly would give anything to see this city thriving again.
Check these REO Town Staples out!
Village Summit
Art Alley
Reach Studio
Just B Yoga
Studio Intrigue Architects

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