Meridian Exploring Cityhood

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It was hardly prominent there on a long township board meeting agenda last week, but it was there, an agenda item in discussion of cityhood.

"I think from that discussion we'll get some idea if the board, if the township is interested in continuing exploration," says township manager Gerald Richards.

The preliminary talk is rooted in two issues Meridian has had as a township in recent years. Because of annexation from the city of East Lansing, they've gone from 36 to 32 square miles and fear being chipped away.

On roads, Richards is not pleased with the county's planning, and says there may be more money available under funding formulas if they maintained them themselves.

At the last census, Meridian Township's population was near 40,000, almost the same size at the city of East Lansing. It is the most populous township in Ingham County. The county's controller says if it were to become incorporated, it shouldn't change much at the county seat.

"From an operational standpoint, I don't see that being reduced," Matt Myers explains.

Perhaps the biggest question is what would it be called? Richards says that would be up to an elected commission, but for now should be secondary to the question: Is this what's best for the 32 square miles we know at least for now as Meridian Township?

If the township board were to pursue this issue, they first have to have petitions signed with 5 percent of the homeowners in the township in support. Public hearings and an election would follow. It would likely take 1 to 2 years.

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