Main Street Lansing discusses plans for moving forward with market study strategies

by Lissa Blake

Results of a recent market study have been analyzed and one thing is clear: those who are most concerned with the future of Lansing are full of ideas about how to make it a better place.

Main Street Lansing recently hosted its second public meeting to roll out market strategies that were identified from the results of that Lansing Market Study made available earlier this year.

After holding a meeting in September to reveal the results of those surveys, the volunteers coordinating the market study started formulating and prioritizing strategies to strengthen and improve downtown Lansing, based directly on what consumers and businesses stated in their surveys.

According to Main Street Lansing Executive Director Andy Kelleher, the first portion of the most recent meeting was a summary of the entire market study process. The group discussed the groundwork volunteers did starting in June, including looking at demographics and market data compiled from a variety of sources.

The survey results were based on 488 consumer responses and 51 business responses.

At the most recent meeting, the group talked about the work that has been completed since the surveys to compile all the information and to improve Lansing. The document which outlines the results of the survey summarizes market information and community insights to provide direction for potential projects, actions and initiatives that support and align with the community’s vision for downtown Lansing.

TWO PARTS
The results of the surveys and the work that has been completed since can be separated into two “transformation strategies,” according to Kelleher. These include Outdoor Recreation and Tourism and Improving Downtown Infrastructure.

“We’re talking about continuing to promote Lansing as a hub for outdoor recreation, but better connecting those with downtown,” he said.

“There are many people who come here for hunting, boating and birding, but they never step foot downtown … there are others who come to town because they hear about Horsfalls, but they don’t notice the other things we have to do here... the sign to Mt. Hosmer says nothing about the scenic view. We need to find a way to better bridge that gap,” Kelleher further explained.

With regard to downtown infrastructure, survey respondents noted improving sidewalks, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) access, streetlights, updating buildings, energy efficiencies, facade improvements and more.

“It is a pretty broad strategy, and there are many things we hope to do,” said Kelleher.

MANY STRENGTHS
Although participants in the surveys and meeting noted many strengths about the little town of Lansing, they also came up with some opportunities for improvement. The consumer group responding to the survey showed strong interest in developing additional downtown housing.

“The results could lend support for the rehabilitation and development of a variety of housing styles in the downtown Lansing area,” said the report.

The consumer survey group placed the highest priority on possible efforts to “improve Lansing’s streets, sidewalks, lighting, furnishings, green space, and more.”

Other ideas included improving wayfinding signage, such as to Mt. Hosmer, and promoting additional riverfront development.

MOVING FORWARD
Kelleher noted while the extensive survey results document lists a plethora of ways to improve a number of things in the document, he said the key is going to be finding and retaining a number of volunteers to implement these improvement ideas into reality within the community.

“There are a lot of different things we can do within each category, but we need people to step up and be able to do them,” he said. “Our next step will be to identify specifically what the needs are and then pursue funding sources for them.”

WHAT’S NEXT?
Kelleher encouraged anyone who would like to view a copy of the report or be involved in the upcoming planning to contact him at 563-538-9229 or by email at director@lansingmatters.com.

“All of these plans are going to take volunteers; Main Street Lansing’s capacity to serve the community is directly related to the amount of volunteer involvement we have. Almost every activity we sponsor is volunteer led, from planning events, to watering flowers, to writing grants, to publishing a newsletter.

The community helped us identify activities to improve downtown, but we need their help to make it happen,” he said.
 

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