Voters Offer Input on Red Cedar Development

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It's been coined the Red Cedar Renaissance. Forty-eight acres of land up for grabs, and Lansing voters get to decide whether the city council can sell it.

Some of those voters put on their thinking caps with city officials and business leaders to discuss ideas for the development of the Red Cedar property Saturday morning.

"We have a big opportunity to do a 21st century kind of development that combines green space, environmental concerns, with creating jobs," President of Lansing Economic Area Partnership Robert Trezise said.

Before people vote on the proposal, they wanted their voices heard, and in return, they got some assurances.

"Twenty acres will be a beautiful park along the riverfront," Trezise said. "That will never be touched at all, with public access, that is absolute."

As for the rest of the land, the sky's the limit.

"This is not a project where you think small," Ingham County Drain Commissioner Pat Lindemann said. "You make sure that we have every opportunity to make the big stuff happen. We don't just want to create jobs, we want to create a place to live."

Plenty of ideas were expressed at the meeting - including, amphitheaters, condominiums, and even fields to play cricket. People learned that big plans are already in the works to boost tourism.

"They are definitely talking about very high end, two hotels, along with the kind of retail and commercial development that we haven't seen in the region before," Trezise said.

Plus, a new drain is planned to clean up the water. Right now the river area near the park is the most polluted in the county.

"I could clean it up without all this hoopla, but why? It's the kind of project that makes Lansing, the Greater Lansing area, a destination," Lindemann said.

People who already live in the area started out skeptical, but they have high hopes.

"This project really shines a light on our community and our area, hopefully people will be interested in moving to the area or locating here," said Jennie Gies, who lives near the park.

City officials said property values should increase if the development moves forward.

Lindemann said he plans on forming a task force that will hold meetings about the project, specifically about water areas of the property.

The ideas from Saturday's meeting will eventually be presented to City Council.

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