Residents: City ignores concerns of East Village
By KRISTI JOURDAN
The State News
East Lansing residents said Wednesday they feel officials have shut them out of discussions involving the future of properties in the East Village area.
The residents spoke at an East Lansing Planning Commission public hearing on the proposed East Village Master Plan, which calls to redevelop the area that includes the Cedar Village apartments and six fraternities, among other buildings.
"It's the cart before the horse," said Randy Baker, owner of Prime Housing Group Inc., which owns several apartments in the East Village area. "These fraternity houses are at risk. The city is really turning its back on these buildings. They don't grow on trees."
Four of the fraternities own the property their houses sit on and are refusing to sell to the city, said Cody Dawson, vice president of external affairs on the Interfraternity Council.
"Our primary concern is that we haven't had our opinions heard," Dawson said. "We're trying to make sure our properties stay there."
The proposed area is bounded by Hagadorn Road on the east, Bogue Street on the west, Grand River Avenue on the north and the Red Cedar River on the south.
City and university began planning a new look for the area, which has a history of riots, in spring 2004.
"It's to provide or create a vision for how the area could redevelop over time," said Lori Mullins, senior project manager for East Lansing.
The redevelopment is slated for the next 10 to 15 years and could bring new apartments, condominiums and retail space into the area - which was deemed blighted by the City Council in December 2004. Blighted is a term for an area or a neighborhood considered undesirable for living or business.
"The redevelopment potential is strong because of its location," Mullins said. "It's a desirable location. It's the type of place people want to live or start a business or shop or go to restaurants.
"It's a cool city type of neighborhood with a lot of activity and diversity and energy. "
Nancy Kurdziel, president of the Prime Housing Group Inc., said the city is asking owners to gamble on their property.
"How would you feel if your house was deemed blighted and the city OK'd a plan without your input?" Kurdziel said. "This plan is designed for property owners to sell their land to a developer so the city can get their pretty picture."
Translation of this article - The City Council wants to eliminate Cedar Village. Too bad, since I had a lot of good memories there.
The group of jokers on the East Lansing City Council is a major reason why I can never become a democrat. While I couldn't vote there since I was registered in Brighton, I lived up there while I was a student.
I've never seen a more anti-student group of people in my entire life. Students make the city what it is. Without MSU, East Lansing would be just another bedroom community to Lansing like Okemos. That's the vision of the city council which is trying to push the students away from downtown(which borders campus), and up into the northern part of the city, Okemos, Lansing, and even Bath Township. If Michigan State University wants to be recognized as the elite university it is, it will only do so when the City Council treats the students as residents and adults, instead of the enemy. If I went back to school for a second degree, I wouldn't live there. I don't live where I'm not wanted. That's why it was back to Livingston County for me even before I finished my degree.
The good news is that the Poletown decision was overruled by the State Supreme Court, so we might not have a Kelo decision here. East Lansing will only be a "cool city" when the council members are tossed out on their collective butts and replaced by people who know what makes a college town great.
One thing I should mention, East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows is running for state representative in the 69th district. I'm going to be very eloquent. He sucks. Bigtime. I hope he gets trounced, either in the primary or general.