Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Clock tower dedicated; more upgrades on the way

September 26, 2000
East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows opens the dedication ceremony of the Central Clock Tower in the Albert Street Plaza on Monday. —

About 30 people gathered Monday to watch the dedication of the Central Clock Tower to the city of East Lansing.

The clock tower, located at the intersection of M.A.C. and Albert Avenues, is a new structure that is part of the Envision East Lansing project. The three year project is dedicated to making the city aesthetically pleasing by adding park benches, fountains, trash receptacles and children’s sculptures. The clock tower, which cost $100,000, is the largest structure to be presented for the project.

Envision East Lansing is headed by the Downtown Development Authority and has a goal of $775,000 to complete its projects. More than $500,000 has been spent.

“This is the first piece of the project, and it is only the beginning,” Mayor Mark Meadows said. “Everything that we have done in the last five years has been a joint effort, just a large amount of teamwork.”

The clock tower dedication was introduced by Meadows and dedicated by the Hicks and Ballein families. The two families had donated a large amount of money to cover the cost of the clock tower. Downtown Development Authority President Vic Loomis also made a brief statement.

Howard Ballein, one of the clock tower contributors, said a popular way to contribute to the city is placing family names on bricks that are placed in the city. The bricks range from $50 to $100,000 and can be placed anywhere in the city.

“Downtown is a front door for the university, an outlet that lets students and residents shop, eat and just be together,” Ballein said. “By selling names on the bricks, it’s a way to make people feel more a part of the city.”

Some East Lansing residents feel the city has a homey feeling that other cities don’t offer. Cheryl Little, a 20-year resident, said she feels safe in the city.

“East Lansing just seems to have that downtown feeling,” Little said. “It has always had a close feeling, like walking down the street and seeing someone you know.”

During the NCAA basketball tournament in March, a bulk of students gathered at the intersection where the clock tower is now. Councilmember Beverly Baten said she thinks the location is an essential part of the project.

“This is such a beautiful structure to represent the residents and students of the city,” Baten said. “This is like the Beaumont Tower of the city.”

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