Ask ELi Grab Bag: Deer, Playgrounds, and Parking

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At which parks did the deer cull occur, and what happened to the meat? Did it go to food banks as promised?

ELi filed a Freedom of Information Act request regarding the deer cull after the City announced that it had culled 65 deer total. The initial permit allowed for culling 50 deer, but the City had applied for a higher limit of culling 70 deer after removing 32 deer the first night of the cull on Jan. 12.

Gary Caldwell for ELi

The City of East Lansing is posting signs about park and trail closures to keep people out of the areas where sharpshooters are killing deer.

According to email correspondence among City officials, the breakdown by park was:

  • Abbot Road Park – 29
  • Burcham Park – 3
  • Fine Park – 2
  • Harrison Meadows Park – 21
  • White Park – 5
  • Aquatic Center/Softball Complex – 5

Patriarche Park was also designated as a removal site, but no deer were spotted there.

Each night of the cull yielded approximately 900 pounds of meat that was donated to the Greater Lansing Food Bank. Michigan Sportsman Against Hunger processed the meat.

Why isn’t there public parking at Bailey Park? Where should visitors from further away park when using the playground there?

ELi sent this reader question to the City’s Communications Coordinator Mikell Frey who gathered a response from Planning and Parking staff.

ELi received the following response: “The parking spaces located immediately adjacent to the Liberty Hyde Bailey Center are controlled by the entity with a long-term lease on the Bailey Center site. They have the authority to determine how the parking spaces are used.”

A slide in Bailey Park with the Bailey Center visible in the background.

As ELi previously reported, the renovated Bailey Center holds 25 affordable senior-living apartments and five market-rate apartments, childcare space, and room for other community events.

“Bailey Park is classified as a neighborhood park and, while anyone is welcome to use the park, it was designed to primarily serve those community members within a half mile of the park,” explained City staff. 

Those driving to use the park are advised to park at the Bailey Parking lot or metered sports on Albert Ave.

What’s going on with the old Biggby site?

DTN had been on track to turn 270 W. Grand River Ave. into a gated, private-pay parking lot, adding spots where the old Biggby structure used to be. Last week’s Council meeting had it on the agenda for likely approval. But Council was told that the applicant wanted the matter pushed off to the May 25 meeting of Council, and that’s what Council voted to do.

We asked DTN Vice President Colin Cronin what’s up. He responded, “We’re still unsure on what to do with the parking lot at 270. Overall parking demand on that side of town is historically low, other than a couple days and times of the month. So until we get some more clarity on parking demand, COVID restrictions being lifted (possibly increasing demand), and MSU’s plans for this Fall, we just want to pause a bit and evaluate what’s the best short term use.”

Gary Caldwell for ELi

The remains of the building at 270 W. Grand River Ave. which used to house the original Biggby Coffee, stripped out on Oct. 16, 2020. The structure is now gone.

The City’s design requirements don’t make it cheap to convert this 0.42-acre lot to a gated parking lot. DTN would be required to put in attractive fencing and landscaping and to adhere to specific rules about lighting and design of the parking spaces.  The Council packet on the application runs to 64 pages.

In January, Council voted 2-2 on an application from DTN to convert retail space to rental apartments in the building across the street, 300 W. Grand River Ave. The 2-2 vote meant the application was rejected. Read more.

Note: We added the last paragraph on Mar. 3, 2021, on the suggestion of a reader.

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