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East Lansing City Council to discuss Valley Court Park renovation plans

A rendering of the front of a proposed design for the Valley Court Park pavilion.
A rendering of the front of a proposed design for the Valley Court Park pavilion.

Updated February 4 at 10:50 a.m. ET

The East Lansing City Council continues discussing plans to renovate Valley Court Park after residents and officials have expressed concerns with the design.

City officials have been working on a development plan since last fall, when East Lansing received a $1 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC). The grant requires the city to match the grant dollars, providing officials with a substantial amount of funding to invest in the area.

The city has been working with the companies VIRIDIS Design Group and Mayotte Group Architects to develop plans for Valley Court Park. Proposals for the renovation would install a covered pavilion at the park and additional parking spots. The construction would provide a space for the city Farmer’s Market along with small performances and food trucks.

Reactions have been mixed to the plans. While some residents say they’re excited for the project, others are concerned about the potential for flooding. Members of the city Planning Commission also said the proposals include excessive pavement.

An overhead view of the plan for Valley Court Park showcasing the pavilion.
An overhead view of the plan for Valley Court Park showcasing the proposed pavilion.

Mayor Ron Bacon emphasized that the city is working to strike a compromise that ensures effective land use. He said that the area includes "a very precious piece of our green space that's in our downtown" but added the project is an exciting opportunity to create a welcoming place for people.

“We’re taking a lot of input and trying to get an understanding of what works best for that space," Bacon said. "We just think it could really be a nice addition to kind of connect the downtown to the park.”

Bacon says plans are still in development. He adds the city wants to strike a balance between bringing activity to the park and addressing environmental concerns.

“We're trying to be really cognizant of, say, its permeability or the environment, while we're doing projects that are also delivering usable goods and services to the downtown and to the park,” Bacon said.

City Council will consider the renovation proposals and hear public comment at a meeting later this month.

Corrected: February 4, 2023 at 10:50 AM EST
A previous version of this story stated the City Council will discuss plans for the park next week based on comments from East Lansing Mayor Ron Bacon.

This story has been updated to reflect that the plans did not make it onto next week's agenda.
Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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