Lansing’s Potential: An Outsider’s Perspective

Mike Kirk Blogging

It was a late February evening and while I’m no stranger to the winter weather, having grown up in Central Pennsylvania, I sure wasn’t ready for Michigan. It was snowing sideways… literally sideways and I thought to myself, “This is a joke, right?” Well, here we are the snow subsided, I’ve had a chance to explore a bit, and my first impression of Lansing, MI has finally formed. 

 

The Bones of the City Are Great 

What was my first stop in Lansing? I went straight downtown because my experience in other cities tell me that’s where the magic is. Well, the magic wasn’t there but, great music played throughout the speakers as I walked on Washington Ave towards Reotown. I found myself continually saying “There’s so much potential here!” and that’s it, potential. The bones of the city are there but the ambiance hasn’t quite developed yet.  My next stop? The riverfront.

 

The Riverfront is Beautiful

I’ve been down to the riverfront multiple times, throughout the everlasting winter and spring. The trail is so long that there’s always a new place to park and take a stroll until you find your sweet spot. If you park at Lansing City Market, it’s only a short walk to Old Town, which is a gem of its own! The best part about the trail is the potential it has with large grassy space for events, scenic areas to kick back, and multiple promising music venues. With a bit of imagination and local support, the riverfront can play a major part in the awakening of Lansing!

 

My Vision of Future Lansing: One of America’s Top Emerging Cities

When I see Lansing in 10-15 years I see a young professional’s paradise. Picture a Friday afternoon and work ended early. Park at Lansing City Market in the Stadium District and walk toward downtown to find clear bike lanes that will lead to rooftop restaurant/bars and overlook the street. There’ll be another coffee shop that has that local flare that people can’t help but post on Instagram. Toward the Capitol, there could be a town square to spend an afternoon outside and get some work done. Walking further south, you will cross into Reotown where a local brewery or winery could open hosting live music every Friday and Saturday. Along the water the next evening could occupy weekly movies in the park, perfect for the family or a date! On weekdays, the riverfront has plenty of places to enjoy during the day.

 

The main take away from my first impression of Lansing, MI is that there is so much potential here. So. Much. Potential. This isn’t a big city, and I view that as a major strength. By developing the themes of each neighborhood like Stadium District, Old Town, Reotown, and Downtown, as well as creating a walk/bike friendly city plan, Lansing will begin to catch everyone’s eye. We only need a bit of imagination, clear vision, and the backing of the community to start this next chapter. Lansing 501 has the ball rolling but are YOU willing to keep it moving forward?