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Lansing approves plan to fund MLK Blvd corridor development

Kevin Lavery

The City of Lansing is moving forward with plans to fund development projects along South Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

The Lansing City Council approved a proposal at a meeting this week that establishes multiple goals to reinvest in the region. The South MLK Jr. Blvd Corridor Improvement Authority, created by Mayor Andy Schor in 2019, hopes to create a positive environment for businesses and improve the region’s aesthetic design and accessibility.

The approved planframes the development projects as an attempt to combat a period of historical decline in South Lansing.

The authority's proposals include short and long-term efforts to beautify South MLK Boulevard, strengthen the businesses environment, and expand green spaces.

The plan charts out projects to generate economic growth over the next 15 years. But Lansing Economic Development Corporation specialist Aurelius Christian says community members are already eager to begin revitalizing the region.

“They're, you know, very adamant and passionate, and they're, they're ready to roll up their sleeves right away,” Christian said.

One of the priorities in the plan is a goal of making the region more accessible and opening it up to alternative modes of transportation. Christian says addressing speeding vehicles would be key to improving walkability in the community.

"When people are going, you know, 65 (miles per hour) down the corridor, it doesn't necessarily facilitate a safe walking environment," Christian said.

The projects will be funded with about $1.6 million dollars in tax increment financing from properties in the area over 15 years. The strategy involves establishing a base tax value for properties and capturing additional revenue from any growth as a result of development or inflation.

Christian says this would not impose additional taxes on residents. He says community members are excited to see the city investing in the corridor.

"The residents that I've spoken with personally have been, you know, very supportive of this effort," Christian said. "I personally believe this is a major milestone for economic development in South Lansing.”

Christian says corridor improvements will also be funded through grants as well as support from the state and federal government. He said Schor has already allocated $100,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act to the Corridor Improvement Authority.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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