(LANSING) — Mayor Andy Schor today joined neighbors and community partners to celebrate progress in Lansing's Baker Neighborhood. The City of Lansing’s Department of Neighborhoods + Citizen Engagement works with neighborhoods across Lansing to convene people and partners, build community capacity, and connect neighborhoods to resources. Baker Neighborhood was selected as a neighborhood of focus to improve safety, housing quality, and neighborhood connectivity in the area. Baker Neighborhood is bordered by the Red Cedar River to the north, Pennsylvania Avenue to the east, Cedar Street to the west, and Mt. Hope Avenue to the south.
“Our neighborhoods are the heartbeat of Lansing,” said Mayor Andy Schor. “Through the hard work and investment from neighbors and partner organizations we're seeing people come together to make progress in the Baker Neighborhood.”
Baker Partners, neighbors and organizations who meet monthly at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, have been working together to coordinate resources and work collaboratively to improve the neighborhood. Projects have included trash cleanups, vacant lot activations, home rehabilitation, park improvements and community programming.
A notable example of their great work is the activation of the vacant lot at 538 Isbell Street. The lot was once home to J&K Party Store, site of the largest drug bust in City of Lansing history. Following demolition, the vacant lot is now owned by the Ingham County Landbank. Neighbors have a lease with the Landbank to use and improve the lot. With funding from the City of Lansing Neighborhood Grants program, support from the Greater Lansing Association of Realtors, and Habitat for Humanity Capital Region, neighbors have built fences, signs, picnic shelters, art work, Little Libraries and obtained sports equipment for the lot. It has now become a neighborhood gem.
This is just one of the many efforts that are yielding results. With funding from the Capital Area Community Foundation and Jackson National Life, Habitat for Humanity Capital Region has invested over $100,000 in rehabilitation projects in the Baker Neighborhood and has committed to focusing its Rock the Block program on home rehabilitation projects in the neighborhood for three years.
“Individuals and families thrive when they have a safe and stable home in a safe and stable community. Participating in community development efforts allows us to fully embrace our mission - it’s not just homes we are building, we’re building lasting communities,” said Vicki Hamilton-Allen, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity Capital Region.
In 2018, the City of Lansing completed emergency repairs in two homes including furnace and water heater replacement, interior repairs and roof repairs. Through the Lead Based Paint Removal Program, the city remediated lead-based paint in two homes and has designated the area as “high-risk” for childhood lead poisoning. The city has offered $25,000 per rental unit for lead-based paint reduction to all landlords. Contact the City of Lansing Department of Economic Development and Planning to learn more at 517-483-4060.
The Lansing Police Department reported a 33% reduction in both victim and property crimes from 2017- 2018 in the Baker Neighborhood. "While crime rates are the result of many factors, we are encouraged that the focused efforts of the Lansing Police Department and our many partners are contributing to this reduction. We look forward to continued efforts to engage an even broader range of neighbors and partners in this work, here in Baker and across Lansing," said Mayor Andy Schor.
Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church also announced that on every fifth Sunday, they will accept a special offering that will go toward Lansing SAVE student savings accounts for children in the Baker Neighborhood. Lansing SAVE is a children’s savings account program for post-secondary education made possible through a partnership between the City of Lansing, the Lansing School District and MSU Federal Credit Union. There are approximately 65 Lansing SAVE students in the neighborhood.
Another neighborhood of focus is the Pleasant View Neighborhood in the Holmes and Jolly Road area. In partnership with Michigan State University’s School of Planning Design and Construction, the City of Lansing invites residents and others to the Design Safe Neighborhoods project coming to Pleasant View Neighborhood from February 21st through 23rd . Contact Holly Madill & email@example.com or Linda Nubani at Nubanili@msu.edu for more information.