Community Meeting on Developing Downtown Okemos

Community Meeting on Developing Downtown Okemos

MERIDIAN TOWNSHIP - The 4 Corners Alliance community group members, interested neighbors and Township residents were invited to learn more about the proposed development at the corners of Okemos and Hamilton Roads.

A presentation put together for the residents by developers was shown first as residents wrote their questions on note cards.  

The development team members were able to answer questions that pertained the most to their individual fields.  

When many people hear Okemos they think of the school district or Meridian Mall not an actual community area.

Long time resident Holly Petroff thought Okemos could use a new downtown area to bring people out and together.   

"I've always felt a little envious of communities like Williamston, and Grand Ledge, and downtown East Lansing, where they have that community feel with the downtown areas.  And I know I'm not alone in my thought process that that's been a lacking in the district here, in the area here."  

As much as residents want to learn about the project the contractors want to learn about the area, people, and concerns that they have about the project.  

Genti Heqimi, a traffic consultant with Hubble, Roth, and Clark, said it has been a balancing act between resident needs and traffic flow through the popular intersection highlighting why community meetings help during large projects. 

"So this has been a pretty involving process.  So I think there have been several meetings with the public to try to get their input, see what the issues are from their perspective and also conversation with the county.  From the beginning we've been in conversation with the county to identify what their needs were.  So it's been a pretty involving process throughout." 

Will Randle of Brandoff Randle Real Estate Partners is the contractor who will be doing all the actual construction work.  

They will be doing construction through all phases of the project and need to hear what residents would like to see the finished project look like.

Setting aside funding to ensure a genuine looking downtown has been in the plan but again is apart of the balancing act of the project.  

"Any of the monies that we can free up that don't have to be put in the ground in the form of utility upgrades and sidewalks and streets, we're trying to form a plan to offer some facade grants to do some special things on the retail facade. That's what's going to give them their character." 

Eagerness to break ground is being tapered to ensure that all voices have been heard.   

With a project this size the planning stages must be thoroughly checked over before the demolition begins.   

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