Neighborhood Website Alert!

This past week, the City of Lansing launched it’s new neighborhood website. This new site pulled all of the neighborhood information from the city website and transferred it to a new site that will be more neighborhood focused. Before you read more, go and check it out at lansingneighborhoods.info. I’ll wait for you to come back.

Neighborhood Website
The City of Lansing’s new neighborhood website.

The neighborhood website will host a few old features from the city website. Neighborhood groups that want a page on this site will get one. These pages will feature contact information for the group (along the left side), neighborhood boundaries (in a map below), and the meeting times and locations of the group. Each group can also submit pictures that they might want included in their page.

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An example of a neighborhood webpage.
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An example of a neighborhood map.

The neighborhood website also includes a new version of the Lansing Citizen’s Handbook and the Neighborhood Organization Resource Handbook. These two documents (pictured below) are resources for either the everyday citizen (the Citizen’s Handbook) or the serious neighborhood minded citizen (the Neighborhood Organization Handbook).

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Both of these large documents have been broken down to smaller, one-page documents. For example, if you were looking to get trash picked up at your house, you can look under I want to… and find a document titled Trash Pickup Assistance.

If you want your neighborhood organization included in this website, please contact Andi Crawford (andi.crawford@lansingmi.gov) or myself (ben.thompson@lansingmi.gov) for more information.

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What a Weekend!

The Neighborhood Resource Team had a full weekend. We like to be wherever neighbors are gathering to celebrate the hard work that they are doing.

Last Friday, the team was hard at work showing our friends from the Urban Institute around Lansing. We started early in the morning at the Lansing City Market where we rented bikes from Rivertown Adventures. We biked all over the city on the River Trail seeing the sites of the river, the occasional duck and fish, and the wonderful parks along the way. Our group stopped at the Holmes Street School Neighborhood’s community garden and ran into MaryBeth Van Horn, a resident from the Holmes Street School community. That community garden is one of Lansing’s hidden gems. It’s definitely worth a look.

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On Saturday, the team split up. I contributed to the neighborhood cleanup led by Southwest Action Group (SWAG). Our band of neighbors traveled up and down the streets near the intersection Pleasant Grove and Holmes to pick up trash and other large items that the neighbors had left by the curb. It was a very tiring but worthwhile experience.

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Neighbors cleaning up trash in Southwest Lansing.

Clara and Andi went to the Baker Neighborhood Family Fun Day. They had a blast at all of the events there. The turnout was great. Over 500 people showed up for food, fun, and an assortment of games. Here’s some pictures from the event.

The team all rested throughout Sunday and is excited to get back to work with Lansing’s fantastic neighborhoods this week!

Stay tuned for more exciting things this week!

Walking Around Walnut and Cherry Hill

For this edition of Walking Wednesday, we walked over to Walnut Neighborhood and Cherry Hill Neighborhood. Our first tour began in Walnut Neighborhood on Lansing’s west side. It is bounded by the Grand River to the East, Willow St. to the North, Saginaw St. to the South, and Pine St. to the West.

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Walking Wednesday @ Walnut Neighborhood

We were joined by Andy Kilpatrick, the City’s Engineer, and Kasha Osborn, the LPD’s community resource officer. Both Andy and Kasha were able to talk about their specialties throughout the walk.

During the walk, I was struck at how much activity there was in the neighborhood. Neighbors were out walking around, sitting on their porches and conversing with us as we passed. The Walnut Neighborhood was one of the highlights of my week.

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Walking Wednesday @ Cherry Hill Neighborhood

 

 

Our next stop took us to the Cherry Hill Neighborhood. This historic neighborhood can be found in the southern portion of downtown Lansing. It is found in the area South of Kalamazoo St., East of Washington Ave., West of the Grand River, and North of Saint Joseph Ave. Cherry Hill is home to the greatest number of clap board and 19th century brick homes in the city. Some of the homes there are almost 100 years old.

 

 

The tour began at Cherry Hill park and wound through the neighborhood. The tour was loosely led by the president of the Cherry Hill Neighborhood Association, Mary Toschach. I loved walking through this neighborhood and seeing different architectural styles next to each other. These homes are definitely worth a visit. You can find the Cherry Hill Walking Tour map at https://www.lansingmi.gov/DocumentCenter/Home/View/440. This tour is perfect for an early Saturday morning or a lazy Sunday.

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Walking Tuesday: Westside Neighborhood

Today, the Westside neighborhood hosted a tour of the beautiful homes in their neighborhood. The Westside is aptly named as it is on the western boundary of the City of Lansing proper. The neighborhood boundaries are Oakland Ave. to the north, Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd to the east, the Grand River Ave. to the south, and the city boundary to the west.

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Lansing Sexton: the beginning of the tour.

The tour began at J. W. Sexton High School and wound around the adjacent streets. This tour included many historic homes that were built just after World War II or before. There were 15 homes highlighted during the tour of various style and structure. These homes were in pristine condition. It is evident that neighbors on the west side value their beautiful homes.

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As the tour wound to a close, I was struck by the tour group. The group was made of people from all over, both inside Lansing and out. Many members of the tour spoke of how they much they wanted to live in this area and how beautiful the homes are. If you have time during your busy summer, this neighborhood is one of the gems of Lansing and is well worth a visit.

Be sure to check out our next group of Walking Wednesday’s this week!

  • Walnut Neighborhood Walking Wednesday: Wednesday 6-28 @ 12:00 pm
  • Cherry Hill Walking Wednesday: Wednesday 6-28 @ 6:00 pm

Walking Wednesday: Sycamore Park

Last Wednesday, the Sycamore Park Neighborhood hosted a Walking Wednesday. Sycamore Park is a beautiful neighborhood on Lansing’s Southside. It is bounded by Pennsylvania Ave. to the east, the Red Cedar River to the north and east and Mt. Hope Rd. to the south.

We started the walk at Sycamore Park (a city park to the northeast of the Sycamore Park Neighborhood). Before we began, the group talked about the latest in the Mayor’s Block by Block (B3) Initiative. B3 is a collaboration between community leaders, residents and City officials to revitalize neighborhoods. We were all able to see the work of our hardworking neighbors that came out to plant flowers along the Pennslyvania Ave. medians during the Neighborhood’s in Bloom event this past May.

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Sycamore Park

The walk commenced with a tour of the highlights of the neighborhood. I was fascinated by the amount of green space in Sycamore Park. There were trees lining every street. It felt like we were walking exploring through tunnels. We even found a community library. This converted mailbox had hundreds of books that anyone from the neighborhood could “check-out”. What a great idea!

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A view from Sycamore Park
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Mailbox Library!

Next, the tour took us to Shubel Park. This park is a natural forest with many walking trails inside. The group took one of the trails that opens up onto the Red Cedar. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip. I loved seeing the plants and animals in Shubel Park.

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A look at the Red Cedar River from Shubel Park.

It was great to see so many people in the neighborhood take an interest in the Sycamore Park Neighborhood. There is definitely an energy building in the community, and it will be exciting to see what’s next for the neighborhood.

Be sure to check out our next group of Walking Wednesday’s this week!

  • Westside Walking tour: Tuesday 6-27 @ 6:00 pm
  • Walnut Neighborhood Walking Wednesday: Wednesday 6-28 @ 12:00 pm
  • Cherry Hill Walking Wednesday: Wednesday 6-28 @ 6:00 pm

Hello Lansing!

headshot.jpegHello neighbors!

My name is Ben Thompson and I’m so excited to be the newest AmeriCorps VISTA member of the Neighborhood Resource Team. I am a recent graduate at Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in social work. At my time at MSU, I was given the opportunity to intern at the Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement. This position helped to shine a light on how important volunteering and community engagement is for people of all ages. I am so excited to begin my work with the Lansing Love Your Block and the Mayor’s Block by Block initiative to foster civic engagement in Lansing!

This week, I shadowed the outgoing VISTA, Scott Thompson through his grantee cohort (South Side Community Coalition, Southwest Action Group, and the Lansing Soccer Club). I loved talking to these groups about what they envision for their communities. I tried to take as many pictures as possible at these sites. I’m so excited to continue the work already that Scott has completed and help these three community groups move forward.

 

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Love Lansing Celebration

Hello everyone! So the Love Lansing Celebration occurred just yesterday evening. As a newcomer to the communities of Lansing, it was overwhelming to see all the individuals I’m just starting to get to know. While I didn’t mingle as much, it was interesting what I observed of the communities. With the Lansing officials and neighborhood associations present, there was a general feeling of camaraderie.

It showed itself especially with the understanding of the accomplishments of the individuals recognized during the awards. There were specific stories shared connected to paint an overall picture of the city of Lansing. Diversity in the awards, particularly in terms of generations, was nice to see since age can be a great divide with social impact. This sense of camaraderie across different lived experiences makes me wonder about my parents’ own experience in cities as immigrants.

I grew up in the much smaller city of Midland, MI, which was maybe the fifth or so city my parents lived in. Despite being a smaller city, most of the connection my parents made were through sporadic social activities like sports or connections to parents of my fellow classmates. I wonder if there had been these kind of communities in Midland, if they might have had an easier time connecting with people.

It would have been especially helpful considering the cultural barriers they experienced as immigrants. It makes me wonder about the experience of immigrants in connection to local neighborhood associations. That will be something for me to explore as I get to know the communities better.

For so many people coming from different parts of Lansing, I could still feel a sense of community because regardless of any difference in goals, the goal of making a better city through collaboration tied everyone together as noted during the awards ceremony. It only makes me eager further to get to know the communities better especially in regards to the neighborhoods who could not physically be there last night. I hope to better understand some of the stories celebrated yesterday evening.

A Little Greeting from Your New Urban Fellow

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Hello everyone! My name is Gaby Abalo. I am the new Urban Fellow with the Neighborhood Resource Team. I am a Michigan State University fifth year student studying Social Relations and Policy with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. Through my studies, I have come to understand how much local citizens work with their leaders to affect neighborhood and thus city dynamics. My studies especially examined the disparity that occurs when there’s a discrepancy in voicing the different needs of locals to their leaders.

This understanding motivated my interest to join the Neighborhood Resource Team. Over the next few months you’ll probably see me around the neighborhoods and city learning how to help engage Lansing’s communities.  I will be at the Love Lansing Celebration next Tuesday, May 30 to start this process. I am excited to further familiarize myself with the communities of Lansing to help develop and strengthen the community resources needed, see some of you around!

Thank You!

Hello and Happy Monday, neighbors!

Today is my last blog post as a member of the Neighborhood Resource Team. On Thursday I will finish up my time as an Urban Fellow, and can’t express enough my gratitude for the past seven months.

During my time as an Urban Fellow, I have learned so much about our beautiful city, and about all of you- dedicated people who work to improve your neighborhoods. It has been inspiring to attend LiNCS meetings and hear about your struggles and victories in community organizing, fun to partake in events such as community clean-ups and Walking Wednesdays

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A picture from one of my first community events- a Walking Wednesday in Baker Neighborhood 

,and enlightening to learn about all the initiatives our city has to offer (who knew you could get your taxes done by the Financial Empowerment Center?!).

I’m excited to move on in my professional career, and to take all that I have learned to cities throughout my life.

Thank you for being such an awesome group to serve, and (as always) HAPPY NEIGHBORING!

– Erika Campbell