LANSING, Mich. (WILX) Pat Gillespie's company rents properties all along Michigan Avenue, and he says the state of the road is bad for business. "If people have to drive through potholes, and they ruin a tire, or they just feel like they're heading to a part of town that maybe isn't well kept, they're probably not going to come back," Gillespie said.
That's why he and more than 50 other business owners signed a letter to the city asking it to make repaving Michigan Ave. a top priority. Tim Daman of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce sent the letter on behalf of the organization's members. "At the end of the day it's about investing in the infrastructure to make sure that we continue the strength that we see in economic growth and job creation along the corridor," Daman said.
The Lansing Mayor's office released a statement saying, "If the Chamber had taken the time to ask the city about our plans, they would already know that fixing Michigan Avenue from Sparrow Hospital to US-127 is scheduled for next month. Although a complete redesign and rebuild of Michigan Avenue to accommodate CATA’s Bus Rapid Transit project is likely to happen in the near future, fixing the worst section of Michigan Avenue cannot wait any longer. That’s why Mayor Bernero made the decision to move forward with repairs to Michigan Avenue several months ago."
"People will say hey they listened and things are happening, you'll have some positive comments," Gillespie said of the scheduled repairs. "That small section is a start, but it definitely needs to go all the way to the Capitol in order to have the full impact."
Gillespie and Daman both say Downtown Lansing is redeveloping, and the infrastructure needs to keep up. "If you try so hard having new buildings, new developments, new business, and the streets they travel on to get there are shoddy, it really kind of defeats the purpose," Gillespie said.