A major initiative driven by city, community and business leaders to revitalize Lansing's downtown riverfront took another step forward today as Mayor Andy Schor signed an executive order naming park space along the Grand River “Rotary Park."
Rotary Park includes the area from the Lansing Center to the Shiawassee Street Bridge, along the Grand River and Lansing River Trail. The City of Lansing and Capital Region Community Foundation (Community Foundation) have partnered to welcome several impressive Lansing-area sponsors to begin Rotary Park’s transformation into a place for the community to visit and gather for a variety of recreation and fun activities. A mutual maintenance agreement has been established between the City of Lansing and the Community Foundation for upkeep of the park.
“Revitalization and activation of the Lansing riverfront is a priority of my administration,” said Mayor Schor in signing the Rotary Park executive order at a news conference with project partners. “The various projects planned for the riverfront will be transformative for residents and visitors alike. We appreciate all of our partners that are providing funding and ideas toward this effort, and will continue to seek inspiration from other communities as well.”
The Rotary Club of Lansing Foundation has committed $400,000 for naming rights to the park. Delta Dental of Michigan has pledged $250,000 toward the plaza. Dewpoint has pledged $100,000 toward the beach. Auto-Owners Insurance has pledged $75,000 toward the outdoor fireplace and lighted forest. Red Cedar Investment Management has pledged $40,000 toward the sculpture patio, adjacent to the beach. Gillespie Group and Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau/Team Lansing Foundation have both pledged $30,000 toward co-sponsoring the HUB (Happening Under the Bridge). Four individual donors have pledged a total of $60,000 toward Rotary Park and other riverfront areas. Wieland Construction and Board of Water and Light (BWL) have both made in-kind donations.
“Rotary's motto is service above self and this grant is emblematic of our motto," said Kevin Schumacher, Board Member of the Rotary Club of Lansing Foundation. "The members of Lansing Rotary are proud to partner with the Community Foundation on this impact grant for the betterment of the great City of Lansing. We look forward to many fun activities here and to a more active riverfront.”
The Community Foundation is working closely with the City of Lansing to manage the park’s construction over the spring and summer. The Foundation has raised almost $1 million in private contributions and is matching those gifts for a total investment of over $2 million.
“In 2016, the Community Foundation took a leadership role in developing the downtown riverfront,” said Laurie Baumer, the Foundation’s executive vice president and riverfront project manager. “Rotary Park is the first of many projects we are planning in partnership with the City of Lansing, helping to create a vibrant community that will attract and retain the talent our businesses desperately need.”
Delta Dental will be significant supporters of revitalizing Lansing’s downtown riverfront into a vibrant hub of activity.
“Delta Dental and our companies and team members intend to be engaged partners in the Rotary Park project with Mayor Schor and civic and business leaders to create more energy, excitement and economic revitalization along Lansing’s riverfront,” said Margaret Trimer, director of communications and corporate citizenship for Delta Dental of Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. “In the very near future, Delta Dental will proudly announce more details about our companies’ future support for this truly transformative vision for downtown Lansing. Stay tuned because Delta Dental will be doing more than just writing a check. We will be an active part of making Lansing healthy, smart and vibrant.”
Inspiration for Rotary Park has been drawn from other communities with successful placemaking initiatives involving their riverfronts including Port Huron, Muskegon and Detroit. These communities offer impressive examples for Lansing’s riverfront development process.
The City of Lansing is also providing existing brownfield development reimbursement funds for part of the project to help generate more private investments along the riverfront. Construction of amenities in Rotary Park will begin this spring with completion estimated by fall 2019.