Thursday, June 30, 2022

Albert EL Fresco: Making downtown East Lansing a place for people

April 18, 2022

Community members can look forward to the return of the pedestrian-friendly area in downtown East Lansing known as Albert EL Fresco. The grand opening of Albert EL Fresco will take place on Thursday, May 12, and will feature performers, games and giveaways to help kick off the summer of activities.

Both lanes of Albert Avenue will be closed between Abbot Road and M.A.C. Avenue to make room for the space. Picnic tables, rocking chairs and hammocks will be available, in addition to games like cornhole and giant Connect 4. Take-out food and non-alcoholic beverages can also be enjoyed in the space.

Matt Apostle, community and economic development specialist for the City of East Lansing, said community members can expect weekly events at Albert EL Fresco like game nights, live performances and collaborations with local businesses.

The Albert EL Fresco project first began last year with the hopes of aiding the economic recovery of the city during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you look at parking numbers and other things like that, into the summer of 2020, we brought ourselves back up to nearly pre-COVID numbers, in terms of bringing people downtown, getting foot traffic downtown,” Apostle said.

Apostle said the project represents a larger effort to bring more people to downtown East Lansing.

“Getting people in the streets and making downtown a place for people versus a place for cars has been a big effort,” Apostle said. “When you bring people downtown, a presumption would be that they’re more likely to patron our downtown local business.”

The Albert EL Fresco space will be open until Sept. 11, meaning that even students who don’t live in East Lansing during the summer will still be able to enjoy the space for a few weeks once they get back on campus.

“It should be up when students are here and into that first game day or so, which I think is a really exciting thing for students,” Apostle said.

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