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Capital Region Community Foundation Insight on Rotary Park - Placemaking Economic Development in Lansing

Michigan Business Network
August 24, 2019 9:00 AM


UPDATE: Due to anticipated rain in weather forecast the Tuesday event is being postponed to Wednesday August 28th.

In the days leading up to a highly anticipated ribbon cutting Laurie Baumer, Executive Vice President, Capital Region Community Foundation, dropped by the MBN studio to discuss the new Rotary Park with Jeffrey Mosher.
They discuss the foundation, her role in it, the upcoming ribbon cutting. From there it's a review of how the project came to fruition, and covers all the key players involved in making this come to reality.

Listen to Laurie and Jeffrey discuss community involvement in the new Rotary Park in the PodCast shared immediately below.

A lot of what Laurie shared in her recently published editorial is discussed in the interview.

A jewel on Lansing’s downtown riverfront will sparkle when the new Rotary Park opens at the end of August. The first of several riverfront projects planned by the Community Foundation, Rotary Park will include a sand beach, a magical lighted forest, a huge fireplace on a vibrant plaza, and a new venue for small concerts and events under the Shiawassee Bridge.

This is more than just a park. We all understand the importance of a vibrant, thriving downtown – the heartbeat of a city and of a region. The Grand River is one of our greatest assets, providing a tremendous opportunity for major placemaking initiatives to attract skilled workers and businesses to the region and spur economic growth.

Two years ago, the Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees adopted economic development as its number one priority, strategically focusing our leadership efforts on placemaking and workforce development. Our trustees listened to feedback from the community and to urban planning experts who pinpointed Michigan Avenue and the riverfront as areas in which the Foundation could make the greatest impact. I’m proud that our Board acted boldly with its commitment of $1.5 million to date – outside of our regular grantmaking to nonprofits – to match new funds raised. So far, over $1 million has been raised, for a total of $2.5 million for riverfront projects.

There’s absolutely no way the Community Foundation could take on this project alone. I love that Mayor Schor supported riverfront development from the start and became our partner. I love that Wieland agreed to provide construction management just because it was great for our community. I love that the Rotary Club of Lansing Foundation had the will to make the largest donation in its history to name this park. I love that Auto-Owners Insurance stepped up with the very first major contribution to sponsor the lighted forest and fireplace. I love that Delta Dental not only made a major gift to sponsor the plaza, but is also taking the lead to activate the riverfront. I love that Dewpoint’s spirit of fun in the workplace is reflected in its sponsorship of the beach, and that Red Cedar Investment Management joined the beach party with a patio. I love that Gillespie Group originally came up with several ideas for the park’s design then backed up those ideas with funding. I love that the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau and its Team Lansing Foundation invested in Rotary Park as a destination for visitors. I love that individual donors care about our community enough to invest their personal funds in the riverfront. And I love that CATA is helping with transportation for grand opening events.

We hope you enjoy your new Rotary Park and, if you like what you see, consider partnering with us on our next riverfront project. With your help, we’ll keep moving down the river to create a vibrant, thriving region.

Lansing Rotary informed us of this information as well:

In order to accommodate the mayor's schedule, the dates have been rescheduled for Rotary Park's grand opening events:
The Ribbon Cutting for Rotary Park will be Tuesday, August 27th at noon.  The rain date will be Wednesday, August 28th at the same time.
Rotary Park Grand Opening Gala - Exclusively for Rotarians and other sponsors of Rotary Park will be held on:
Thursday, September 5th at 7:30 - 9:30 p.m. (best to see the Lighted Forest at night).
Rain date:  Thursday, September 12th at the same time.
Gourmet Hors d'oeuvres, cocktails and live music on the plaza.  Rotary is co-sponsoring the celebration with the Community Foundation, and Rotarians are encouraged to bring their spouse/guest for a lovely evening.
Please save these dates now in your calendars!  RSVPs for the evening celebration will be requested closer to the date.
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