New Lansing market raises concerns for homeless population

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – The Kringle Holiday Market opened up last week in a Lansing park, but
some community members are concerned about the message it’s sending to the area’s homeless population.

The market has been set up at Reutter Park, and several nonprofits use the area as a point to give out food and clothing to those in need. The market has heating stations but it’s open for limited hours.

One activist said that’s insensitive to those who spend the cold nights outside. Julia Miller is one of several activists who have concerns about the placement. The holiday-themed event features 10 sheds showcasing vendors as well as heating stations.

Miller echoes other organizers who said they are disappointed to see temporary sheds get set up after asking the city for long-term warming stations. She said the addition of security guards in the park can also deter people who regularly spend the night there,” said Miller.

Cathleen Edgerly is the Executive Director of Downtown Lansing Inc, one of the groups behind the holiday market. She said the added security is there on behalf of the vendors.

“The only reason there’s security on site is and actually will be is during the evening hours throughout the season of the Kringle Holiday market that we will continue to address is honestly because there are still some vendor goods that are left overnight in those sheds. And we want to make sure those vendor goods are kept safe and protected,” said Edgerly.

Edgerly said her team aims to make the market inclusive for everyone during the season, including the use of heating stations.

“It’s a community park and everyone is free to use those. We’ll continue to work with parks and rec to who have manned those stations and see what the future looks like for those,” said Edgerly.

For Miller, she just wants to make it easier for everyone to have some relief from the cold nights ahead.

“We’re all citizens of Lansing and we all deserve to feel safe and warm and included,” she said.

Miller and city officials confirm that community organizers will be meeting with park and recreation staff during a private meeting tomorrow to address those very concerns.

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