Walking Wednesday: Exploring the Westside

We mixed it up a little this week and decided to travel around our Walking Wednesday site on bicycle. With our bikes, the perfect weather, and the many sites on the West Side, we were able to get a real feel for the neighborhood’s character, assets, and challenges.

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Before we went exploring, we attended the Point West Art and Trail Project Groundbreaking Ceremony. This massive project is a collaboration of organizations, including the Saginaw Oakland Commercial Association, the Old Oakland Neighborhood Association, and the Westside Neighborhood Association. The grassy triangle between Saginaw Street and Oakland Avenue sits at the gateway to Lansing, but there is no real welcome to drivers coming from the west. Part of this project will include an art sculpture at this triangle, designed by local artist Fritz Olsen. This will act as a greeting to travelers, but instill a sense of pride for residents who live on the Westside.

Another facet of this project is the construction of a mile-long recreational trail that will allow for pedestrian travel across Saginaw Street and Oakland Avenue. As a result, the Westside and Old Oakland neighborhoods will no longer be cut off, and community ties will become stronger.

It was a great turnout at the ceremony, with project collaborators and supporters talking about the benefits of the project, before officially breaking ground. Below are some of the pictures.

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Mayor Bernero talks about the benefits the project brings to the Westside

 

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The community partners break ground.
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Some of the many collaborators who worked on this project.

After the ceremony, we biked around the west side. We talked about the rich history the neighborhood has, as the former home to the GM Plant. The neighborhood has a mix of big, historical homes, and smaller, newer ones, that gave it a very different feel as we traveled street to street.

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Visiting the historic Old Oakland Neighborhood

 

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The start of the trail project at Dunneback Park
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Flowers from Lansing’s Neighborhoods in Bloom program
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The stylish BWL Forbes Substation
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The expansive garden at the Letts Community Center
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The West Side is filled with historic homes like this one
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The former GM site, as seen from J. W. Sexton High School

We finished our journey at Harry’s Place, a family-owned restaurant and bar established in 1921. I ordered the Greek Burger, which turned out to be enormous, yet delicious. It was a great end to another great Walking Wednesday.

 

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