A park in the center of the city: Sycamore Park #WalkingWednesday

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Despite being only 2 miles from the center of downtown Lansing, this WalkingWednesday through Sycamore Park felt like a trip up north.  The neighborhood is filled with old growth trees, piney woods, and open green space.  It’s within easy walking and biking distance from many other beautiful parks, like Fenner Nature Center, Sycamore Golf Course, and Potter Park Zoo.  Hop on the River Trail and you can quickly access Ingham County Parks, downtown, and MSU.

It’s bordered on the north and the east by water (lots of it right now as the Red Cedar River and Sycamore Creek are very high due to heavy rain).

Looking north towards Potter Park Zoo

Looking north towards Potter Park Zoo

River High Water

Looking east along the Red Cedar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The green space assets of the neighborhood are stunning and on this beautiful June evening, the beauty of the area was on full display.  This area is known for its bird wildlife and is home to a heron rookery and a bald eagle’s nest.  Learn more in this Nature Discovery article.

Sycamore Park Neighborhood Association president Paul Wozniak provided a walking map (my first neighborhood to hand out maps for #WalkingWednesday!) Find our more about the Sycamore Park Neighborhood Association on Facebook.

Sycamore Park walking tour covering a part of every street in the neighborhood.

Sycamore Park walking tour covering a part of every street in the neighborhood.

The neighborhood has many long term residents.  Our tour was a mix of newer and longer term neighbors. Top reasons I heard for choosing Sycamore Park (in no order) were:

  • Proximity to downtown and MSU & convenience to everything
  • Access to the River Trail without crossing any major streets
  • Neighborhood friendliness

Houses are a mix of 1920s – 1940s single family homes with interesting architecture and tons of charm.

Mt. Hope Elementary

Mt. Hope Elementary School

Mt. Hope 4-6 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Math) School sits on the neighborhood’s southern border.  The school playground, basketball courts, and green space add to the recreational opportunities & beauty of the neighborhood.  School leaders and the PTA partner with the neighborhood organization on many events.

Neighbors at one of the welcome signs.  Neighbors care for the planting/weeding of these entryways.

Neighbors at one of the welcome signs. Neighbors care for the planting/weeding of these entryways.

Bordered by both Pennsylvania Ave and Mt. Hope, commercial corridors have an impact on the neighborhood.  Neighbors are happy with the increased commercial activity at the Mt. Hope/Penn intersection with the addition of Central Pharmacy Vacancies still exist on the south side of Mt. Hope and neighbors are hoping for new tenants in those spaces.

Heading south along Pennsylvania Ave.

Heading south along Pennsylvania Ave.

 

Long time local businesses such as Smith Floral continue to provide commercial activity in the area

Looking south across Mt. Hope to Smith Floral

Looking south across Mt. Hope to Smith Floral

 

 

 

 

 

 

We waved to many neighbors enjoying the beautiful weather on their front porch and took a peek into the Little Free Library:

A little house of books

A little house of books

ShubelParkTreesAlongRiver

 

 

 

 

 

 

We headed back to the park for a summer time treat and were all really impressed with the watermelon slicer!

Paul introduces us to the wonders of the watermelon slicer

Paul introduces us to the wonders of the watermelon slicer

Amazing!

Amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for your hospitality and the chance to meet many neighbors and see your beautiful homes. Enjoy the summer in your park in the city!

This #WalkingWednesday was the first attended by our AmeriCorps VISTA members in our Cities of Service Love Your Block program.  Learn more about their work and see their blog post about the Sycamore Park tour at Lansing Love Your Block

 

 

Cities of Service Lansing/Flint Peer Learning trip

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I have the great fortune of working with Cities of Service a dynamic organization working to revitalize cities across the world through citizen engagement, impact volunteerism, and innovative approaches to municipal leadership.  Read about our recent trip to Flint for some peer learning with our Mayors & neighborhood leaders and see some of the innovative ways Flint residents are rebuilding their city:

 

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero with Cities of Service staff

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero with Cities of Service staff

#WalkingWednesday features Wexford Montessori School & Davis Park

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Walking Wednesday headed to SW Lansing this week to tour the Wexford Montessori K-8 school and the new paved trail that connects Waverly Rd east to Davis Park.

A huge thank you to Mr. Eric Royston of Wexford for his informative tour of the Montessori program.  Wexford Montessori is one of only approx 150 public Montessori schools in the United States.  The school is partnering with several organizations to enhance its offerings including a relationship with Lansing Parks and Recreation to build an incredible outdoor learning environment for student exploration.  We heard a song from some young students and saw their learning environments which included cool tables like the one pictured that allow for students to spread out and work in teams.  What a treasure in our Lansing School District serving primarily students from the surrounding SW Lansing neighborhoods.

 

WexfordMont.WW.Table

 

WexfordSchool.WW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We toured the neighborhood south of Wexford Elementary and headed to the newly opened paved trail, which is accessible at the south end of Wexford Ave.  Kris Klein of the South Lansing Community Development Association talked about the development of the trail and how it now connects throughout Lansing’s South Side allowing residents to commute downtown.  We headed East past the Harry Hill campus which houses Lansing School District offices, Lansing Police Department personnel and the Schmidt Community Center.  We continued onto Davis Park which has a beautifully paved trail around the perimeter of the park, newly renovated ball parks & restroom facilities, excellent basketball courts & playgrounds.

#WalkingWednesday takes a 2 week break and will resume on 1/7.  Best wishes for a healthy & joyful holiday season.

The park sign says "Fun for All Ages"  This is my mom!!

The park sign says “Fun for All Ages” This is my mom!!

Beautiful playground facilities!

Beautiful playground facilities!

Beautifully paved trails make for easy walking &biking.

Beautifully paved trails make for easy walking &biking.