Ground breaking of Red Cedar Redevelopment also kicks off Ingham County Drain Project

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LANSING, MI (WILX) -- The long awaited ground breaking of the Red Cedar Redevelopment Project is also the start of another project, the Ingham County Drain Project.

The project, which is expected to cost $30 million, is set to prevent contamination from storm water runoff reaching the Red Cedar River.

News 10's Nicole Buchman was at Michigan Avenue, which is part of the Montgomery Drain that stretches for miles in all directions, but the Ingham County Drain Commissioner said it needs to be replaced more than ever and what better time to do it then when construction for the Red Cedar Redevelopment begins.

"We have probably about two thirds of all the piping that is in the system is either collapsed, cracked, or completely useless," Patrick Lindemann, Ingham County Drain commissioner, said.

Lindemann is killing two birds with one stone by working with the Red Cedar Project. The $222 million mixed- used development between Michigan State University and the State Capitol.

"Why should we have to move one pile of dirt twice," Lindemann said.

An estimated 20 to 25% of Lansing's share of the cost of rebuilding the Montgomery Drain will be paid for by the development.

"Back down there, he's pulling out the first five feet of that pond, the drain doesn't have to pay for that so there's a savings there. So we are working out how we can build somethings for them and we can save money and pay them back for the drain utility that we are trying to build," Lindemann said.

The rest of the cost will be split between Lansing, Lansing Township, the state, East Lansing and Ingham County.

"How they pay it back is up to them," Lindemann said.

Mayor Andy Schor said they're still working that part out. In the meantime, he said the Red Cedar and drainage projects are revolutionary.

"You get all the mixed use, the excitement and vitality but you also get the environmental clean up and the green space and the parks and things like that that Lansing residents can use," Schor said.

Lindemann hopes the new drain will eliminate 96% of the pollution that runs into the Red Cedar River and create a new habitat for firs and frogs.

"If we create that here, all the first that hatch will go down to Lake Michigan and bring in a ton of fisherman to our area," Lindemann said.

The ground breaking happened Thursday, but Lindemann said the real work with the drainage project is set to begin in January.

The development will include housing, hotels and retail space and is scheduled to be finished in the fall of 2022.

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