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EL council: Triplett out, Meadows returns with two newcomers

East Lansing city hall photo
WKAR File Photo
WKAR Photo

On this day after city council elections in Lansing and East Lansing we have the results and talk with newly-elected members of the East Lansing city council: Mark Meadows, Shanna Draheim and Erik Altmann.

Yesterday was election day in Lansing and East Lansing, and in both cities, there will be some new faces on their respective city councils.

In Lansing’s at-large city council race, incumbent Carol Wood won re-election. She’ll be joined by newcomer Patricia Spitzley as an at-large member. Adam Hussain ousted incumbent A-Lynne Boles in the 1st ward. He joins his mother, Jody Washington, on the council. She was re-elected in the 3rd ward. Lansing voters also approved an amendment to the city charter placing new restrictions on contracts awarded to at-will city employees.

In East Lansing, mayor Nathan Triplett lost his bid to stay on the city council, finishing fourth in a race for three seats. The top vote-getters were Mark Meadows, Shanna Draheim and Erik Altmann.

Current State talks with the newly-elected East Lansing city council members about their plans.



Were the attitudes about economic development and incentives for developers one of the main issues in this election?

Meadows:  From the point of the (Greater Lansing Regional) chamber anyway, I would say that clearly it’s the incentives that was the issue. None of the three of us (Meadows, Altmann and Draheim) are anti-development. Obviously we want East Lansing to move forward, development to take place and redevelopment to take place in the downtown, where appropriate. I think the question was how do you award, if you are going to award incentives for developers to develop properties in a way that maybe we have set a vision for. I think all of us would like to see…a plan set forth that talks about when and how we determine those things so the public is more aware of what it means.

What needs to happen with regards to development on the corner of Abbot Road and Grand River Avenue?

Meadows:  We really can’t do anything with regard to that corner in terms of the development process until February when the current owner of the property will have the opportunity to redeem from the foreclosure that took place there. I don’t think that redemption will take place, primarily because the bank--the lending organization--had bid on its own foreclosure at such a high rate that it’s unlikely that a developer would come up with that kind of money. So we’re probably going to be dealing with a new developer of some kind at that location. I think the city needs to step in and become part of that process in attracting someone to build something architecturally significant, a building on our main corner that meets all of the criteria that had been set out for diversity and age and economy and business in the downtown area.

Altmann:  I would also add that I think right now nobody really understands the posture or history of that project very well. I think that putting together some sort of resource that’s available to the public explaining the history of that project and the underlying properties would be valuable to help people understand what’s happened.  It would be valuable for other potential investors and developers to figure out what they’d be getting into if they built something there.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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