Southwest Lansing residents have been gathering and sharing ideas about recreating a pivotal point in their district as the City of Lansing's 2017 Arts Impact Project ramps up.
Administered by the Lansing Economic Area Partnership and the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, the project activates city spaces through artistic and permanent placemaking. This year's $75,000 grant was awarded to fund the planning and implementation of a new town square, green space and public art installation at the corner of Pleasant Grove and Holmes Road in Southwest Lansing.
The project was proposed by At-Large City Councilmember Kathie Dunbar and was selected from a field of 15 proposals in early 2017. The public art will be designed and constructed by local artists David Such and Fred Hammond, while Elements Studio is the project's landscape architect.
"This project is all about letting the community express themselves and show how they live and do business in the area," says Kris Klein, LEAP economic development specialist. "It's giving people a chance to show what Southwest Lansing is and can be."
Expressways, Martin Luther King Boulevard, Mount Hope, and the zigzag of the city limits define the borders of Southwest Lansing. That vast area is often regarded as a part of the city without specific points or landmarks. Klein says the outcome of the project will be to provide a focal point for the community and redefine the district's image.
Community charrettes and planning meetings began in mid-June, with ideas and visions underway for the 100- by 80-foot town square. Benches, shade trees, sidewalk accessibility, and other landscape features are among the ideas, as well as a 20-foot steel sculpture with different panels that represent neighborhood diversity. Community members and planners hope to involve adjacent businesses in using the surrounding parking lot for food truck rallies, musical events and a farmer's market.
"This effort will involve a layering of projects, resources and partners," says Klein. "It's incredibly important to have the sustained engagement of the community to make this happen."
Klein anticipates the town square and art installation will be completed by summer of 2018. A crowd funding campaign kicks off this fall to supplement the $75,000 slated to fund planning and implementation.
Source: Kris Klein, Economic Development Specialist, Lansing Economic Area Partnership
Writer: Ann Kammerer, News Editor
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