Rotary Park seen as catalyst for downtown development

LANSING, MI. (WILX) -- It took just about two years and millions of dollars, but Lansing finally brought a beach to the Grand River.

Lansing's newest beach front property is now officially open. News 10 was at the grand opening of Lansing's new Rotary Park.

But Rotary Park’s grand opening is more than just a beach party; it's a night to help showcase Downtown Lansing’s potential.

"I really like the light at forest, I like the beach, I love the plaza. The whole thing just looks so well together,” said Laurie Baumer, Executive Vice President of the Capital Region Community Foundation. “It's really for the public. It's a way that the public can see what it's all about."

Lansing's newest attraction has a bit of it all.

The best part: according to Lansing mayor Andy Schor, Rotary Park was funded by donations; tax payers haven’t paid a dime.

The mayor says it's a gesture toward Lansing’s bright future and the people willing to support it.

"We know we're the most affordable and most livable community in the country,” Schor said. “Now we want to make sure we have the amenities and other things that these folks are looking for."

Baumer says that growth is plentiful, with buildings going up all around, but Rotary Park satisfies a new need in Lansing’s development.

"What we haven't seen until now is really attention to the riverfront, which is our gem in l the city, so I think Rotary Park is really going to be the catalyst for more development along the river," Baumer said.

Baumer and Schor are confident Rotary Park can spark a change along Lansing’s riverfront.

"It’s always fun to propose, but it's even more exciting to see it actually happen,” Schor said. “But there's going to be more...we're looking to reactivate the river all the way down to Cherry Hill, so there's a lot more coming, and we're excited about that."

Rotary Park runs from the Lansing Center to the Shiawassee Street bridge.

Besides the beach there's a kayak rental area and a boat launch.

It’s open from dawn until dusk and is free to the public.

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