West Side neighborhoods unite with community groups to create vibrant gateway to Lansing

Sometimes the lines between townships and cities blur when traveling west to east, east to west, and from all points north and south.
 
A collective of community groups and associations in Lansing wants to change that—at least for travelers coming from way out west.
 
At the end of June, the Saginaw Oakland Commercial Association, Westside Neighborhood Association, and the Old Oakland Neighborhood Association broke ground for the Point West Art and Trail Project. The ceremony, held at "The Point" where Saginaw meets Oakland, coincided with the selection of a 14-foot stainless steel sculpture that will be placed at 2010 W. Saginaw Street.
 
The sculpture "Prosperity" by Fritz Olson of Sawyer, Mich., will represent a vision of optimism for the Saginaw-Oakland corridor, and will mark the gateway into Lansing from the city's western edge. Sitting in a triangle of land, the public art piece will be a focal point in a central oasis along the mile-long Point West Art and Trail, now under development.
 
"The project in its current form was envisioned last summer when we were thinking of a way to revitalize the corridor and make it a gateway—something that lets people know they are coming into the city," says Joe Duris, vice president of the Saginaw Oakland Commercial Association. "Having a central piece of art within a perennial garden also represents the connection between the two neighborhoods."
 
Making that connection, Duris says, is central to the concept of the one-mile bike trail that commenced work in April. The bike loop will start at Oakland and Stanley in the Old Oakland Neighborhood. Plans are to eventually connect up to Willow Street with the addition of future bike lanes. The asphalt paved trail will be four feet wide with a dashed line to separate directions, and will include stations for rest and relaxation, fitness activities, and basic bike repairs.
 
The Prosperity sculpture and Point West Art and Trail project resulted from a community-wide collaboration with funding from multiple grants and sources. Individual and organizational donors and supporters include Cities of Service, Lansing Love Your Block, Mayor’s Neighborhood Advisory Board, the Lansing Area Economic Partnership (LEAP) Public Art for Placemaking grant, the Power of We Urban Redevelopment grant, a Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs mini-grant, and a Michigan Economic Development Corporation-backed Patronicity crowdfunding effort.
 
"The sculpture as well as the bike trail sends an engaging message and shows people there are vibrant neighborhoods and communities on the West Side," says Duris. "It's a way we can help people recognize that Lansing is a great place to live and there are lots of things happening from the moment you enter the city."
 
Source: Joe Duris, Vice President, Saginaw Oakland Commercial Association
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
    
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