Saving Lansing: Selling Lansing

By: Jason Colthorp
By: Jason Colthorp

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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  • by Mr. Vadek Location: Lansing on Mar 15, 2013 at 03:47 PM
    It is heart-wrentching to see this Mayor sell off the city one property at a time. What does he have against parks? Parks are one of the strongest assets to a city, yet in his time here, our Parks System is crumbling. As it does real estate prices will continue to crumble and soon to follow will be the quality of life. Parks & Recreation should be about Stewardship of our resources. Both natural and enviromental for now and future generations. If the mayor and the city administrators continue to sell off our property one by one, What's Left? Where are my grandkids going to play, explore and learn about nature in the city? The only thing that will be left will be a vacant shell of a city with no resources, no future and no foresite by it's leaders. Groesbeck Golf Course was created in 1927. Governor Alex J Groesbeck and Walter Hagen hit the first shots off the tee. It was the pride of Lansing. For the next 70 years it was continually ranked one of the Best in the State. The City administrators say "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 is this way because the city administrators refused to let it grow. There have been many great plans over the years for keeping Groesbeck "up with the times", create better customer amenities and a safer, improved golf course. They haven't wanted to put anything into the course to enable it to make money. I'm disappointed in our mayor and the decisions he makes and the vision he lacks, especially when it comes to the City's Parks.
  • by T. Beavers Location: Lansing on Mar 14, 2013 at 03:52 PM
    Funny how Groebeck is just fine for the annual Mayors outing. Also funny is how he gets to use Groesbeck for free. This article does not mention the collaboration between LEPFA and Groesbeck started last year to increase the food and beverage revenue to the city. Groesbeck actually has many leagues that play at there.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 14, 2013 at 03:47 PM
    Too bad it will take an EFM to make all of this happen.
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