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10,640 Sq. Ft. Learning Center Planned for East Lansing

Lisa Raths is capitalizing on the family-friendly nature of East Lansing by opening a 10,640 square foot Christian daycare on Coleman Road.

“East Lansing is where the growth is, and it’s where our demographic is,” Raths says. “We needed to make sure that we were picking the right spot. East Lansing has growth and is still growing. It’s potentially the most stable area.”

The Apple Tree Christian Learning Center will be constructed on a 1.23 acres piece of land at 3341 Coleman Road in East Lansing. Once opened, the center will be able to handle 170 children six days a week. Raths says the Center will cater to a wide range of ages starting with infants and ending with 12-year-olds.

“This is great for the area,” she says. “We’re not a huge employer, but we’ll bring employment to the area.”

The Center is slated to be opened by early spring 2008.

Source: Lisa Raths, Apple Tree Christian Learning Center

Ivy Hughes, development news editor, can be reached here.

$850,000 Eastside Lansing Hunter Park Pool Makeover Finished

It took a little longer than expected, but the $850,000 Eastside Lansing Hunter Park Pool and splash pad renovation is finished.

Lansing city officials had hoped for a mid-summer opening, but had to settle for a September unveiling instead.

“We weren’t really able to start this until the spring, when all of the contracts were signed,” says Murdock Jemerson with the City of Lansing. “We were hoping to get it done, but things didn’t work out that way.”

The renovations included a new pool liner and gutter system, re-caulking, a spray park and a "zero entry point” for handicapped accessibility.

The pool has been closed since mid-2006.

Ivy Hughes, development news editor, can be reached here.  

Photographs © Dave Trumpie

1930s-Era Ranney Park Softball Facility Gets $220,000 Update

Lansing’s Ranney Park ball diamond recently got a much-needed $220,000 update that includes an expanded press box, scorer’s booth, larger dugouts, a new speaker system and a new backstop.

Before the recent upgrade, Ranney Park's facility had not been updated since the 1930s.

The new complex also includes an umpire’s changing room complete with lockers and restroom facilities, located on the first floor.

“It’s really a big huge step up from the old facility,”says Murdock Jemerson with the City of Lansing. “We’re really proud of it.”

The Lansing Community College (LCC) women’s softball team and several fast pitch softball leagues play at Ranney Park.

Source: Randy Hannan, City of Lansing

Ivy Hughes, development news editor, can be reached here

All Photographs © Dave Trumpie

Lansing Habitat for Humanity Launches $5,000 Youth Program

Habitat for Humanity Lansing has a lot on its agenda, including the launch of its new Building Up Youth program.

The program, which was initially funded with a $5,000 grant from the Jackson National Community Foundation, allows Habitat for Humanity Lansing to approach youth groups who may be interested in “building up” Lansing.

“There are a lot of things we work with kids on and it’s really exciting to bring kids on-site because it teaches them the value of community service,” says Julie Burtch, development director for Habitat for Humanity Lansing.

Habitat for Humanity Lansing is also working with the Ingham County Land Bank to purchase, rehab and resell foreclosed homes in Mid-Michigan.

“We’re going to take these homes and turn them into owner occupancy,” Burtch says. Burtch expects the rehabbed homes to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $40,000 to $50,000. TheLand Bank and Habitat for Humanity Lansing want to complete six homes this year. The first should be finished at the end of July.

“We have looked at a number of homes through the Land Bank partnership, and now we have our families and we’re starting to work together,” she says.

Burtch says the partnership allows Habitat for Humanity Lansing to get families into foreclosed houses much faster than the nonprofit would be able to do on its own.

“Owner-occupancy in a home increases the safety of a neighborhood because the residents are more permanent and they’re more invested in their home,” she says. “They’ll be taking care of it and hopefully be better neighbors because of it. This is going to be a huge improvement for some of the neighborhoods.”

Source: Julie Burtch, development director for Habitat for Humanity Lansing

Ivy Hughes, development news editor, can be reached here.

New Master Plan in the Works for Potter Park Zoo

A master plan to update Potter Park Zoo on Lansing's Southside is in the works and will be rolled out by the end of the year. The zoo’s master plan hasn’t been updated in more than 10 years.

“The whole zoo will be improved and will include many different dimensions,” says Lansing Zoo's director, Gerry Brady.

This includes an overall business plan; a marketing and development plan; conservation efforts; landscaping; exhibits; community development; and site development. The updated plan will result in more exhibits and a better zoo, Brady says.

The Lansing Potter Park Zoo is one of roughly 200 accredited zoos in the country. The U.S. has roughly 2,000 zoos, but only 10 percent of them are accredited. Last fall, the Potter Park Zoo was accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) and was recognized as one of the best zoos and aquariums in the country.

Potter Park Zoo earned accreditation after passing AZA’s strenuous investigation into the zoo’s efforts with animal care, veterinary programs, conservation, education and safety.

Source: Gerry Brady, Lansing Potter Park Zoo

Ivy Hughes, development news editor, can be reached here.

Four Stories of Laser Tag Headed to Old 30,000 Sq. Ft. MoviePlex

The first phase of a 30,000-square foot recreation complex, including a four-story laser tag competition room, is set to open in Delta Township in early April.

The new laser tag venue is more than double the size of the nearby Zap Zone laser tag room. The old, 6,000 square foot room is being shut down so that owner, Michael Hafez, can expand into the theater facility on East Mall Drive.

“Laser tag is really popular in Lansing,” Hafez says. “We believe that if we market it right, we’ll be able to draw from the outside area.

The new fun center will also include party rooms, a pizzeria, two "bounce houses" for little kids, a stuffed bear-making center, an 18-hole, glow-in-the-dark, mini-golf course and bumper cars.

The laser tag, bumper car, party rooms and bounce houses will be open in April; the other features will open throughout the summer. The whole project will be finished by mid-summer.

Source: Michael Hafez, Zap Zone

Ivy Hughes, development news editor, can be reached here.

City of Lansing Using $850,000 to Rehab Community Pool

The City of Lansing is using $850,000 to rehab the popular Hunter Park Community Pool, which has been shut down since mid-2006.

This pool serves a large neighborhood on the Eastside of Lansing, and theyve been without their pool for a year and a half, says Murdock Jemerson, with the City of Lansing.

The city is putting in a new liner, re-caulking the pool, putting in a new gutter system, adding a spray park and creating a "zero entry point," to make the pool handicap accessible.

Once this pool is renovated, it will become more of a regional than a community swimming pool because of the improvements that will be made,Jemerson says.

The city hopes to complete renovations by mid-July.

Source: Murdock Jemerson, City of Lansing

Ivy Hughes, development news editor, can be reached here

All Photographs © Dave Trumpie

Lansing-area Libraries Seeking $94 Million to Meet Growing Demand

The 13 libraries that make up the Capital Area District Library (CADL) system will ask voters to approve a $94 million proposal in August to build five new libraries and renovate or expand the remaining eight libraries.

If passed, the largest improvement would be made to the Downtown Lansing branch. The $31.6 million expansion of the Downtown Library would expand the current 75,000 square foot space to 101,227 square feet.

“During the past 10 years we’ve seen use just skyrocket, beyond what anybody expected,” says CADL Director Sue Hill. Computer use has increased by 364 percent and circulation is up 242 percent, she says.

The library expansions will help keep up with growth and will give the CADL ownership over its buildings, she adds. The CADL doesn’t own any of the buildings that house the 13 libraries.

The $94 million proposal also includes $7.9 million for the expansion of the Impression 5 Science Center.

Source: Sue Hill, Capital Area District Libraries

Ivy Hughes, development news editor, can be reached here

All Photographs © Dave Trumpie

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