The opening month of 2024 has been filled with important developments in East Lansing and this past week proved to be no different.
Reporter Dustin DuFort Petty outlined the strategic planning session held by City Council last Saturday (Jan. 20). The process included Council members reflecting on recent successes and failures in the city, and listing what the city’s priorities should be.
Reporter Mya Gregory covered the East Lansing Public Library’s first meeting after the decision to make Kevin King the new library director. At the Jan. 17 meeting, it was announced King’s contract is being finalized and he should be settled into his role by March 1. Among other business, library trustees received a report on the events that led former Library Director Kristin Shelley to call the police on a Black teenager wrongfully accused of starting a fire in the library more than one year ago. The trustees will be discussing the report at an upcoming meeting.
Was a big week for City Council.
It was a big week for City Council as the body gave decisions on two major road projects and three other proposed developments.
To get readers ready for Tuesday’s (Jan. 23) meeting, ELi published a story from Mya covering the transportation commission’s Jan. 8 meeting where one of the road projects was discussed. Additionally, Dustin recapped public hearings at the Jan. 9 meeting where the three other developments were discussed.
From the meeting itself, ELi came away with a pair of stories. City Desk Editor Luke Day chronicled why Council decided to approve a new car wash on Merritt Road, as well as why a pair of proposals failed to pass. Council rejected a rezoning request that would allow a property on Grove Street to be transitioned into a bed-and-breakfast. A plan to tear down a gas station on the corner of Saginaw Street and Abbot Road and replace it with a new one was turned down, after Council members took issue with design aspects.
The second story out of Council will come to readers early this week from Mya and cover Council’s decision to approve a pair of road projects. The proposals drew much attention from the community and include the “road diet” on Hagadorn Road.
Overlay informational session was well attended.
Reporter Alex Maas attended the city’s information session on Rental Restrictive Overlays (RROs) held Jan. 17. City staff members attended the meeting to explain when rental licenses are required and what restrictions RROs put in place when they are approved.
January's a five-week month so only one meeting is on the schedule this week.
Business in city government slows down significantly next week, as there is only one meeting on the docket. The Housing Commission will meet on Thursday (Feb. 1). When an agenda for the meeting is posted, it can be found here.
Read some other news from around town.
It’s official!! Trader Joe’s has announced on its website that a store is coming soon to Meridian Township. The Lansing State Journal’s Rachel Greco was on top of the story Friday morning (Jan. 26). Greco reported that, "The website listing is the first time the California-based Trader Joe's has acknowledged the 13,500-square-foot store, under construction on 2.2 acres on Grand River Avenue across the street from the Whole Foods Market in East Lansing [Meridian township] for over a year."
The Tuesday (Jan. 23) City Council meeting included the introduction of the new East Lansing Police Department (ELPD) Deputy Chief Jennifer Brown and Officers Jordyn Willis, Logan Wainman and Colin Lemere by Chief of Police Kim Johnson.
The city is putting out a call for artists to apply to be part of the East Lansing Art Festival set for May 18-19. The deadline to apply is Jan. 31. The festival featuring jury-selected artists from across Michigan and the country will fill the streets of downtown. Learn more about the festival and how to apply here.
As usual, the East Lansing Public Library (ELPL) has a wide variety of activities on its calendar next week. Monday (Jan. 29) from 4:30-5:30 p.m., young makers (recommended ages 6-12) and their families are invited to take everyday objects and make them into something new. Materials are provided (while supplies last) and no registration is required. This is a weekly event.
Also on Monday, ages 8 to 108 can come to the library from 6-7 p.m. and learn the basics of how to play a ukulele: how to hold the instrument, tuning, basic finger chords and more. “Beginning Ukulele for the Family” will be taught by Ukulele Ambassador Ben Hassenger. Loaner instruments will be available. Find more information here and a full listing of ELPL activities here.
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Correction: Trader Joe's is located in Meridan Township across from Whole Foods. This column has been corrected.