Saving Lansing: Selling Lansing

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Groesbeck Golf Course, Evergreen and North cemeteries, and Lansing City Hall, all Lansing landmarks that could be sold.

Selling the golf course and cemeteries would save the city $850,000 a year. Selling City Hall could create a desperately needed stream of annual income.

Selling municipal golf courses has always been controversial, but according to the Financial Health Committee's recommendations, the time has come.

For one reason, Groesbeck is a dinosaur in the golf club world. Golfers consider it a nice course, but with no real amenities to attract golfers, leagues or outings. It can't compete with privately owned clubs.

"You reach a point where you have to decide which services are needed for the citizens and have to be provided, versus the things that might be nice to do" says Bob Swanson, Lansing's former director of city finance.

"There are other providers of golf," Swanson points out.

The cemetery business can also be done by someone else.

The backlash here might come from citizens who don't think a private company will be as good a caretaker as the city is to grave sites. Still, the Financial Health Committee is recommending the outright sale, or at least outsource the care, of all three city cemeteries.

And then there's the possibility of selling City Hall.

Swanson defends the recommendation saying "rather than have City Hall sit on probably the most valuable piece of property in the city and remain off the tax rolls, why not look at selling City Hall with using that as a key economic development site right across from the Capitol."

Private development would also bring the property onto tax rolls.

And the committee envisions a new, more efficient City Hall that could also be shared with the Lansing School District. That would allow for the sale of the school district administration building. That means more land that could also be privately developed.

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