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.

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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!

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

 

Southwest Cleanup

This Saturday, as part of MSU’s Global Day of service, 35 volunteers came from Michigan State to the Southwest Lansing neighborhood. The students came eager to work, and along with community partners, started on two cleanup project.

The first project was a Southwest Action Group (SWAG)-partnered cleanup of the Pleasant Grove/Holmes intersection. Volunteers swept the dirt off of the sidewalk, collected trash, and raked leaves away from the storm drains.

 

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Cleanup around the Southwest Businesses.
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Volunteers remove bagfuls of trash dumped behind the SWAG businesses.
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A volunteer uses a leaf blower to remove gravel and leaves from the sidewalk.

The second project was led by the South Side Community Coalition (SSCC), and involved clearing brush from the vacant lot behind the SSCC building, in preparation for future lot activation.

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Brush clearing behind the SSCC building.
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Removal of a hanging limb.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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450 cubic feet of brush was cleared from the lot

Here are some metrics from the event:

  • Time: 10:00AM – 3:00PM
  • Number of Volunteers: 38
  • Total Volunteer Hours: 190
  • Bags of Trash: 24
  • Bags of Yard Waste: 3
  • Cubic  Feet of Brush Removed: 450

Thank you to MSU, the Ingham County Treasurer’s Office, 1910 Meat Market, BW Hair Fashions, Center of the Plate, the SSCC, and the Greater Lansing Housing Coalition for everything they did to make this event a success!