Ask ELi: A Fence on Campus, Basketball Hoops Unlocked, and Construction On Burcham Drive [UPDATED]

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Upgrades to Burcham Drive are coming this spring, but access to the three schools on Burcham Drive will remain open.

This story includes an update below about additional infrastructure work occurring in the East Glencairn neighborhood.

In our Ask ELi to Investigate grab bags, we often answer quick questions readers have about things they see around town. But sometimes these grab bags also function as a place for the East Lansing Info (ELi) team to put out public service announcements based on information we’ve recently learned.

Today we have info on the basketball hoops near the Hannah Community Center, an upcoming water valve replacement project, and a fence recently erected on the campus of Michigan State University along the Red Cedar River.

Do you have a question you want answered? Submit it here.

One reader noticed in early March that fences had been erected along parts of the Red Cedar on campus and asked if they had been built because of the petition circulated by the friends of Brendan Santo calling for it. What was the University’s response? Was the erection of the fence done in conjunction with any other measures to keep students safe?

According to MSU’s Deputy Spokesperson Dan Olsen, the temporary fences went up on Wednesday, Jan. 26, starting at the intersection of Beal Street and West Circle Drive, continuing toward Michigan Avenue. Olsen told ELi over the phone that some barriers, such as one along a nearby bridge near The Spartan (the Sparty Statue) and a cable barrier on Beal Street already existed.

Olsen said that conversations about putting up the fences did arise after the death of Brendan Santo. Santo was a student of Grand Valley State University, who had been missing since Oct. 29, 2021. He was last seen visiting friends at Yakeley Hall at MSU before his disappearance, and his body was recovered from the Red Cedar River along the Lansing River Trail in mid-January.

Olsen told ELi that the fences are temporary and MSU’s Infrastructure, Planning, and Facilities Department is taking a look at more permanent solutions. They are evaluating multiple factors, including safety, aesthetics, and cost.

MSU, according to Olsen, is also taking additional steps regarding student safety, including the installation of additional street lights and the launch of the SafeMSU App, which allows users to share their locations with friends and access MSU Safe Ride for transportation.

The basketball hoops at the Hannah Community Center have been locked since one of the last MSU football home games (when the lot was used for parking). Since there have been a number of nice days in recent weeks, one reader asked why they were still locked off and when they would be opened.

ELi reached out to the City of East Lansing’s Communications Coordinator Mikell Frey, who got in touch with Parks and Rec Director Cathy DeShambo. According to DeShambo, custodians would begin opening the courts daily beginning on Friday, Mar. 18, 2022.

As of now, the hoops are open!

One reader asked that we make a PSA and we think it’s worth your while: There is an upcoming road closure and water shutoffs related to the Burcham Drive Water Valve Replacement project.

According to a press release from the City, “Work began [Monday], March 21 in the Grove Street alley and will commence north to Burcham Drive, with work on Burcham Drive expected to begin by the middle of this week. The project is tentatively expected to be completed by April 22, weather permitting.”

Mid-week this week, work will begin on Burcham Drive. Motorists are asked to use alternate routes but access to the East Lansing Public Schools on Burcham — East Lansing High School, Marble Elementary School, and MacDonald Middle School — will remain open and accessible.

During the week of March 28, the intersection of Hagadorn Road and Burcham Drive will be completely closed. Construction and lane closures along Burcham Drive will continue through mid-April.

Interim Director of Public Works Nicole McPherson wrote to some residents along the affected area, stating that garbage and recycling pickup and mail delivery will not be affected by the project.

McPherson also notified some residents who may experience disruption to their water service the week of Apr. 4.

“During the week of April 4th, the City will need to turn off the water supply to the existing water main on Virginia Avenue to facilitate the installation of the new water valves on Burcham Drive,” wrote McPherson. “There will be two days during this week where water will not be available during the daytime hours, approximately 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The exact days will be communicated by Monday, April 4, 2022.”

McPherson also advised that water may appear “cloudy or discolored” once water service is restored. Residents who experience this should “run cold water through a non-aerated fixture such as a bathtub or exterior spigot until the water becomes clear.”

UPDATE [Mar. 23, 2022, at 10:45 a.m.]: On Mar. 23, the City released a press release to alert residents that the East Glencairn Neighborhood Improvements Project will resume the week of March 28, 2022.

“The project is continuing from 2021 and includes utility upgrades (water main replacement and combined sewer replacement) as well as road improvement work in the neighborhood,” read the press release. “Crews are in the area this week marking utilities, with plans to begin water main replacement next week along Northlawn Avenue, beginning at Harrison Road and progressing east towards Rosewood Avenue.”

Residents are advised that the intersection of Harrison Road and Northlawn Avenue will be closed from Mar. 28 to Apr. 2. The project will continue through July. More information is available here.

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