The City of East Lansing’s economic development team is looking to draw Michigan State University students – especially those new to campus – to downtown to boost a local business economy hit hard by the prolonged pandemic shutdown of MSU’s main campus.
As part of that effort, the City will be hosting a “Moonlight ExtravaGRANDza” on Monday night, Aug. 30, starting at 8 p.m. and running to about midnight. The event is being billed as “a night to eat, shop and explore YOUR new downtown.”
DJ Cheeku will be spinning tunes in the Ann Street Plaza from 8-10 p.m., and businesses will be offering sidewalk sales, special discounts for students, and giveaways. Visitors to downtown during this time can also expect to see Sparty.
In Valley Court Park, from 8:30-11:30 p.m, students are invited to play Knockerball, a form of soccer in which participants are encased in giant plastic bubbles. Downtown, folks can participate in a scavenger hunt with prizes.
The Marriott Hotel plaza will feature “a plants and painting activity,” and Zeke the Wonderdog – the Spartan frisbee-catching pooch – is expected to make an appearance in Sharp Park, the small park next to Black Cat Bistro.
The Ingham County Health Department will be taking advantage of the event to offer Covid-19 vaccines from 4-9 p.m. at the Bailey Street parking lot, behind Peanut Barrel. According to the City’s announcement, “Walk-ins are welcome and students won’t need to bring anything with them unless they are under the age of 18. Individuals under the age of 18 should fill out ICHD’s COVID-19 registration form with their parent’s signature, and will need to bring a picture of their parent’s driver’s license with a signature that matches the one on the form.”
ELi reported on Thursday that Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in Ingham County. MSU’s vaccine mandate only requires that students start their vaccination cycle by Aug. 31, and exemptions are being allowed.
Many East Lansing businesses rely on MSU’s campus being open and active to survive, and a number of downtown businesses have closed permanently due to the pandemic shut-downs. At the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) meeting on Thursday, DDA members expressed hope that the economy downtown will be turning around with the reopening of campus.