Neighbors Oppose Niowave Tax Exemptions Until 'Pole Barn' Facade Change

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For the Walnut Neighborhood, it's not Niowave that's the problem, but the research facility on its property.

"We've been saying all along, 'fix the facade'," said Dale Schrader, who lives nearby.

It's a battle that's raged since the 15,000 square foot facility, called the 'pole barn' by neighbors, was built last year. They say it doesn't fit in with the neighborhood.

The argument came to a head, Monday evening, as Niowave requested a six-year personal property tax exemption on $5 million worth of new equipment from the Lansing City Council.

"I ask you to deny support for the tax abatement requested by Niowave," said Penny Gardner, who lives in the neighborhood.

During the meeting, members of the surrounding community and residents from across the city asked the council to vote down the abatement, until Niowave changes the facade of the 'pole barn'.

Niowave Chief Operating Officer Jerry Hollister says the company can't afford the equipment without exemptions.

"Having these exemptions is vital," he said.

The city council wants the company to meet with the neighborhood and resolve their issues.

"Right now, the way it looks is not attractive, nor is it adding to that community," said Carol Wood, Council President.

Hollister says, the company has met with the neighborhood.

"We even had meetings, today, so we've seen real progress lately," he said.

After multiple attempts to meet with Niowave, Mary Elaine Kiener says, they she did have one meeting with CEO Terry Grimm, Monday morning. Topics discussed were sent to Mayor Virg Bernero.

"A minimum commitment of $100,000 towards landscaping and that we would have mutual discussions and explorations about an alternative facade," said Kiener, who wants to see more discussions before the neighborhood backs off.

Hollister told News 10, the company is willing to work with the neighborhood and that Niowave's expansion would bring 25 new jobs to the community.

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