Redeveloping "The Dollar"

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The Dollar has been closed for seven months now. But Diane Wing doesn't have a hard time remembering the problems the bar brought with it.

"Issues with public urination, with fighting issues, with traffic," Wing recalls.

Those problems disappeared after a federal bankruptcy trustee closed The Dollar. Now Wing and her neighbors in the Chesterfield Hills area of East Lansing face a new concern.

"Nobody wants a vacant, dilapidated property anywhere in their neighborhood," she said.

That property has been owned by Ingham County since April 2006. The county's land bank authority has to pick one of two plans to redevelop it.

"One would use the existing building to do a bar-restaurant, maybe a banquet hall," said Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing, who chairs the authority.

The other would tear down the old Dollar to build apartments and perhaps a couple of small shops. That's the one Wing and her neighborhood association support.

"We prefer housing because it's more in keeping with the character of the neighborhood," she said.

The property is entirely within the city of Lansing. A spokesman for Mayor Virg Bernero says the city isn't taking sides as to which development would be better.

But take a few steps east of the property, and you're in the city of East Lansing.

"The city is not taking a formal position on the property," East Lansing Community and Economic Development Administrator Tim Dempsey said. "The city does respect the input of the Chesterfield Hills Neighborhood Association, which will be impacted by the development."

Schertzing says he prefers the housing plan as well, because it would bring in more tax revenue. That money would get funneled back into the land bank.

"These dollars will allow us to renovate hundreds of homes in the city," he said.

Now the question is: will the four other members of the land bank authority see the same future for the Dollar?

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