Green space next to Abbott and Albert roads may be up for development

The ballot language created by the city of East Lansing would allow citizens to choose if the city could sell the plot of green space next to The Black Cat Bistro.

The East Lansing City Charter requires a citizen vote for permission to sell land.

Originally, the small plot on the corner of Albert Road and Abbot Road was acquired by the city in 1983 for the purpose of redevelopment, Community and Economic Development Administrator Lori Mullins said.

Over time, the space began to resemble a small park.

The one-quarter acre plot includes a brick pathway, water fountain and a public art installation from former East Lansing resident and internationally recognized artist Louise McCagg.

Mullins said the land could be used in the Park District project, which would redevelop the land opposite of Abbot Road.

“Open space including green space and plazas are important elements (of) our downtown and although this is not a park, I would anticipate that the reasons for development of the land must be compelling and must also result in other green space being made available if it is to garner support,” Mullins said in an email.

While both council members and city staff maintain the area is not a park, the public art tour on the City of East Lansing website refers to the land as “No Name Park.”

Lansing area resident Jane Reiter said the loss of a park would further tarnish the city.

“I think it should stay a park. There (are) too many redevelopment areas already that haven’t been developed,” Reiter said.

The loss of “No Name Park” could also affect local businesses.

Currently, The Black Cat Bistro is renting part of the plot for its outdoor patio.

“The city provided (The) Black Cat Bistro with a license agreement to use the city-owned land for their patio. That agreement is renewed annually and may not be renewed if the land is no longer available for that use,” Mullins said in an email.

The Black Cat Bistro did not respond to requests for comment about the agreement with the city.

The city council will not consider the language at its next regular session. Planning, Building and Development Director Tim Dempsey said council is holding consideration until Park District redevelopment plans from DTN are finalized.

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