This past Saturday, Feb. 20, East Lansing hosted its first Weekend Warrior event to activate parts of the Downtown as part of the Daytime. Nighttime. Anytime. Place Project. The City of East Lansing partnered with East Lansing’s Rotary Club to encourage outdoor, heated dining in the area.
This weekend was the first of six Weekend Warrior events, which will be held every Saturday between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. for the next five weeks. The first Weekend Warrior event was held on Grand River Ave. at the 500-block pedestrian alley next to Campbell’s Market. The next one, to be held tomorrow (Saturday, Feb. 27) will be held at the same location.
Peter Dewan, a Board member of East Lansing’s Rotary Foundation, reported a great turnout of residents last weekend who enjoyed gathering at the outside event.
Dewan described the event, stating, “It went very well. It was great to see young families and East Lansing neighbors and residents come down and support downtown businesses. We had a group of volunteers from the East Lansing Rotary that were passing out hand sanitizers and masks and hand warmers and it was a great community event.”
The Rotary Club is undertaking this organizing to bring the people of East Lansing back together in a socially-distanced way. There will be plenty of outdoor seating for people to gather outside to eat and hang out under the heaters.
People are encouraged to get takeout from local restaurants and dine outdoors at these tables. In the following weeks, the Rotary Club plans to have prizes and other fun incentives to get people back downtown.
The first Weekend Warrior event comes on the heels of the City announcing that it met its fundraising goal of $50,000 for the Place Project through a crowdfunding campaign that included donations from residents, several City entities, and community organizations. Now, the funds raised will be matched by a $50,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).
The Place Project aims to enhance the downtown area to create a more accessible and desirable public space for residents to engage with their community and interact with local businesses.
The Place Project has also provided support for the East Lansing Downtown Underground Market, which will be open again this Sunday (read more about it here), and future projects to bring seating, lights, and art to the City.
Here are the details for the upcoming Weekend Warrior events:
- Saturday, Feb. 27 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Grand River Ave. at the 500-block pedestrian alley next to Campbell’s Market
- Saturday, March 6 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; the north side of the Division Street Garage
- Saturday March 13 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Ann Street Plaza (corner of Albert and M.A.C. avenues)
- Saturday, March 20 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; location TBD
- Saturday, March 27 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; elevated plaza on the east side of the East Lansing Marriott
Information is also available on ELi’s Community Calendar.