Old Town Lansing Main Street

2011 Great American Main Street Award

Old Town Lansing, Michigan

Award Type: GAMSA

The Numbers

  • Main Street began: 1996
  • Population: 119,128
  • Net new jobs: 193
  • Net new businesses: 23
  • Building rehabs: 12
  • New buildings: 1
  • Vacancy rate when Main Street started: 90%
  • Vacancy rate today: 11%
  • Public investment: $55,800
  • Private Investment: $6,231,531

Old Town Lansing, Michigan is a fabulous example of what a community can do when it puts it's collective efforts together. With a truly impressive 1300 volunteers, numerous and wide-ranging partnerships and a strong preservation ethic, Old Town Lansing is truly an example fo the incredible success that the Main Street Approach can have in a single community. After 15 years both the crime rate and the vacancy rate have seen dramatic drops creating a vibrant and enticing place to live work and shop.

In Their Own Words 

There are many tangible projects whose effects will continue in Old Town for many years. The Old Town Community Playground, the Robert Busby Memorial Bridge which has connected the two halves of the community and represented the hard work Mr. Busby did for our neighborhood for so many years. The IKEA Makeover drew international press to our small neighborhood and the public art throughout Old Town will be a constant symbol of our arts roots. Though these are all wonderful accomplishments the one thing I am most proud of as a Main Street Manager is the complete change the neighborhood has scene. There is absolutely no semblance of the crime ridden forgotten neighborhood of the 70's and 80's. Streets are lines with shops and restaurants, people come from all over the Mid West for cultural festivals. There is a vibrancy that will not be soon lost in this neighborhood.

They're Not Done Yet

Q: What are Old Town Lansing's plans for the next five years?

A: Old Town district is limited in the storefronts available to put businesses eager to locate in the Old Town district and we are considering surrounding corridors for potential expansion. One such corridor is the site of Lansing's former School for the Blind, where Stevie Wonder actually studied as a child. Working with the Ingham County Landbank and former alumni of the school has allowed us great insight into the future of the site and how it can be best used to usher in a new era of Old Town businesses while celebrating its rich past. Also, being an urban Main Street Program we are constantly faced with residential concerns including loitering, crime, access to fresh foods, and blight. Our Main Street Program has undertaken residential initiatives for the next five years to help usher in the positive investment that a strong commercial district can and should have on the surrounding residential properties. Being a sub district of Lansing, we are looking at more efficient and creative answers to our transportation issues. Many people live and work now in what is the central corridor of Lansing and a critical look at transportation can help ease future growth in the district. Work has already begun in conjunction with Capital Area Transportation Authority, Water Taxi's and more.

Find out mroe about Old Town Lansing

Visit them online: www.iloveoldtown.org

Find them on Facebook or follow them @OldTownLansing