State budget could revitalize Downtown Lansing

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) – Downtown Lansing has struggled to get foot traffic in recent years and coronavirus only made it harder, but the latest state budget could breathe some life into downtown businesses.

If you head to Downtown Lansing during the daytime, it’s lively. Businesses are open, restaurants are busy and people are shopping. If you come downtown in the evening, it’s a different story, but the state budget could change that.

  • City of Lansing works to bring new life to downtown
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“Businesses who survived the pandemic and are expanding, like Summit Comics and Games to name a few,” said Cathleen Edgerly, with Downtown Lansing Inc. “But then also businesses that are finally rejoining us, reopening like Grand Traverse Pie.”

The Grand Traverse Pie Company closed its doors in Downtown Lansing for two years. It reopened Tuesday and manager Nick Parkinson said it was a good first day back.

“Everything’s been great, customers have been great,” Parkinson said. “Everybody seems to be happy to be back.”

Parkinson has been with the company for 15 years. He said the last two years were difficult, but he’s hopeful things are looking up for the state capital.

“I came down here just for an opportunity to come try something new and help out,” Parkinson said. “We’re totally happy to be down here and we want to help downtown, bring more people to downtown.”

Grand Traverse Pie Company will stay open until 3 pm on weekdays, but Parkinson said the goal is to extend those hours. That’s something Downtown Lansing Inc. hopes other businesses will consider too.

“As downtown goes through this couple year transition of a downtown that really serve the needs of a daytime workforce into a town that is going to continue to evolve to fit the needs of all people,” Edgerly said. “Like more of a 24/7 experience.”

The new state budget includes $5 million in recovery funding for Downtown Lansing Inc. Edgerly said that money will go right into extended downtown night life hours.

“We not only made a request for funding support, much needed funding support but we also laid out the plan for how that money would be spent,” Edgerly said.

That plan includes rent and mortgage support grants, small business grants and funds for community space enhancement.

“But we are starting to see everyday, every week small steps, new businesses opening,” Edgerly said. “There is a lot of light on the horizon.”

The organization said businesses cater to the daytime worker and they’re hoping more people will come out if there are things to do at night.

Related: Potter Park Zoo receives $2 million in state funding

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