With little public discussion of proposed major changes to Valley Court Park since November, East Lansing’s Parks and Rec Advisory Commission will review and discuss revised plans for the park at its meeting this Wednesday evening, Jan. 18. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the Hannah Community Center.
In conjunction with this meeting, these revised plans are being made public for the first time. The project is set to be funded with $1 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) with $1 million in matching funds to be provided by the City of East Lansing.
The staff memo for Wednesday’s meeting shows the plan is now “to install a permanent pavilion with public restrooms, storage, and other infrastructure to enhance Valley Court Park in our downtown for farmers markets, events, performances, and other programming.”
This the first time the pavilion has been described as providing performance space. This expanded conception of the pavilion seems to address residents’, Planning Commissioners’ and Historic District Commissioners’ expressed desires for new performance space at the park.
But details are not available with regard to how the pavilion would function as a performance space for acoustic or amplified events.
Additionally, the staff memo says, “An existing playground will be re-located in closer proximity to the space’s active, public areas and will be designed as a completely accessible playground to better serve a broader range of children and families.” Again, few details are available.
The arial version of the plan shows it is still the intention of designers to pave over a large center section of the park for the pavilion and its surrounding pavement, a point to which many citizens have objected in public comments and written communications.
Six of the renderings provided with Wednesday’s agenda show Valley Court Park as an island without reference to surrounding homes, parking lots and streets. In addition, the renderings show mature trees taller than the pavilion all around the park. The tall canopy does not currently exist and would take decades to grow.
The agenda item attachment as posted online distorts several of the renderings. ELi has requested that city staff provide the undistorted version of those renderings and will share them when they become available.
The Parks & Rec Advisory Commission meeting will include a period for public comment near the start of the meeting. Find the agenda here.