Neighborhood Needs Canvas Survey

As the DNA board works to continue strengthening ties within the community, we want to make sure as we move forward that we’re doing so with community input. If you’d like to let us know how the DNA can best serve you in 2017, please click the link below and take this short survey.

DNA Needs Canvas

Thanks so much for your time, and look forward to seeing you out in the community.

-The DNA Board

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The DNA 2017 Board

DNA Board meetings are held the 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month, and last night the DNA Board gathered at First Presbyterian Church (the regular location for their 1st of the month meetings) to discuss Annual Meeting recap, map out more detailed plans for our 2017 projects, and to officially elect our new board members and appoint our executive seats. The DNA Board for 2017 now sits as follows

Tracy Pickering-President
Daniel Wimmer-Treasurer
Robert Rock Hudson-Secretary
Justin Alexander-Board Member
Katie Johnson-Board Member
Alicia Barefield*-Board Member

*asterick denotes newly elected member

While board meetings are open to the public, if you are interested in commenting on a specific issue, we encourage you to attend our Community Meeting, the 4th Thursday of the month. This month’s meeting location is TBD, but we will provide an update as soon as a location is confirmed.

For questions, comments or any other important information, please contact Tracy Pickering at or 989-233-9625.

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Where Do We Go From Here?

At our annual meeting on Saturday, the board announced some big changes coming to the DNA in 2017, including the reinstatement of a number of past projects, as well as fresh ideas for how to unite our community and serve its residents and business owners alike. Broadly, our goal moving forward can be described in a single phrase: communitymaking.

What does that mean exactly? It’s borrowed from the term placemaking, a word used to describe a multifaceted approach to the management of public spaces. Placemaking is meant to help a community take the resources available to them and use them to create public spaces that promote community health, happiness and wellbeing. While that is certainly a noble goal, and one we support for the DNA area, the board wants to dig deeper than that. We want the relationships between our neighbors to promote those same ideals.

Over the last several decades, the meaning of community and neighborhood have changed significantly, and we on the DNA board want to help restore those words to their original meaning. We want our neighbors to feel comfortable approaching each other for help and advice, to enjoy spending time together in our local parks and downtown area businesses, to look out for and support one another, and to recognize not only the value in each other, but in themselves. We are firm believers in “being the change you want to see,” and we know there is no place better to begin than right here at home.

So how does the DNA plan to facilitate the building and strengthening of these relationships? First and foremost, through service in the community. Over the coming months, the DNA board plans to work together to implement some concrete, recurring projects to improve the area, as well as collaborating with local groups to address some bigger, long-term goals.

Smaller projects include:

  • Planting flowers at our local parks during the warmer months
  • Providing and coordinating volunteer labor to perform needed home and yard-related tasks for our neighbors who are elderly, disabled, and working parents with small children
  • Forming partnerships with downtown businesses to provide discounts to DNA residents
  • Reviving monthly block parties during the summertime

Larger, long-term goals include:

  • Addressing the lack of grocery stores and access to fresh fruits and vegetables in the area
  • Reviving Lansing’s Art in the Park, and making the downtown area a destination
  • Strengthening relationships amongst neighbors by providing opportunities for them to gather together in a fun, informal, family-friendly setting
  • Making the Lansing area a place that people are eager to live, work, and spend their free time

We will be updating you in the weeks and months ahead as we move forward on these projects, and as always, your input is welcomed and highly encouraged. Most importantly, we will be unable to accomplish these tasks without the help and support of the community, so we encourage any and all interested in contacting us for more information on individual projects. Please feel free to reach out here, on our Facebook page, through email or by telephone at (989) 233-9625.

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Downtown Neighborhood Association Hosts Annual Meeting

After much work and planning, the DNA board was proud to host its Annual Meeting this past Saturday, Jan. 21 at St. Paul’s Episcopal in Lansing, and we’d like to say a big thank you to all those who attended. In addition to welcoming a number of important community members who discussed issues happening in and around the downtown area, the DNA had the privilege of providing free food and coffee to participants in the Women’s March on Lansing. Special guest speakers welcomed included:

  • Mayor Virg Bernero
  • Councilwoman Jessica Yorko, 4th Ward
  • Parks and Recreation Director Brett Kaschinske
  • Lansing Neighborhood Resource Coordinator Andi Crawford

The DNA board is deeply grateful to these presenters, as they each provided unique insight into different aspects of the downtown Lansing community, as well as offering information and resources regarding critical problems and potential solutions for the area. In addition to these speakers, we’d also like to thank the following special community members for their attendance:

  • State Representative Tom Cochran
  • Former state Representative Joan Bauer, on behalf of Lansing Community College
  • Kathy Johnson, Head Librarian for the Capital Area District Library-Downtown Lansing branch
  • Marilyn Plummer, Constituent Relations Legislative Aide to state Representative Andy Schor
  • Scott Dane, co-founder of Beacon Field in Ferris Park
  • Jim McClurken, Lansing Park Board, Ward 4 representative
  • Kristin Flynn, Student Admissions Counselor for Western Michigan University, Cooley Law School

The DNA board also hosted their annual silent auction, allowing us the opportunity to raise funds for important projects in the upcoming year, while also promoting local businesses. Stay tuned in the coming weeks as we thank our auction donors and event sponsors here, and through our Facebook page.


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Our Annual Meeting, 2017

Hello again! We apologize for the brief and unfortunate hiatus in our updates–but the DNA has been going through a period of growth and change! We’re excited to share with you our new direction, as well as updating you on our plans for the neighborhood in 2017, so please be sure to join us at our annual meeting on Saturday, Jan. 21 from noon to 3 p.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 218 W. Ottawa St., Lansing. Though St. Paul’s has graciously agreed to allow us to host the meeting out of their facilities, the meeting is not religiously affiliated and those of all backgrounds and persuasions are welcome.

We will be featuring guest speakers, our annual auction, and food catered by Hot Chicken Kitchen. Admission is free, but donations are welcome, and be sure to bring cash for the auction! We look forward to seeing and bringing our neighbors together, and hearing how we can best serve YOU in the coming year.

The DNA Board

WHERE: St. Paul’s Episcopal
218 W. Ottawa St.

Saturday, Jan. 21 from noon to 3 p.m.

RSVPs are not required, but we’d love to know if you plan to attend! Please feel free to reach out here, or RSVP on our Facebook event!


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Lansing DNA Meeting Dates & Times


We are working on updating this website.

The Lansing DNA has a community meeting on the 4th Thursday of every month at the downtown Capital Area District Library (401 South Capital Avenue). We meet at 6:00 pm on the 3rd floor in one of the two conference rooms. Some of our past speakers have been from the AmeriCorps Vista Program, Code Compliance, Community Police Officers, Ingham County Animal Control, Ingham County Land Bank, NorthWest Initiative, and others.

Our 2017 Annual Meeting is going to be Saturday, Jan. 21 at St Paul’s Episcopal Church (218 West Ottawa Street) from noon – 3:00 pm. All are welcome!

We want to hear from you! Let us know if you have any special concerns, topical events, or interests that you’d like us to help you convey to the rest of our downtown community. We’ll give you time to discuss it at our community meeting, post on our website, Facebook, and Twitter and get the conversations started!


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Action Required- Michigan School for the Blind

The DNA has learned of a potentially troubling delay in the city council’s scheduling of a public hearing for the rezoning requirement in the MI School for the Blind redevelopment. If this hearing does not take place before February 22, the entire project could be scrapped solely because there may not be enough time to weigh its merits AND fulfill the MSHDA application obligations by the deadline.

The DNA supports referring this project to the Committee of Development and Planning quickly so that the project can get a full public vetting within a useful timeframe. As close neighbors to this project, the DNA is concerned that the scheduling whims of city council members could sabotage the redevelopment before it ever sees the light of public scrutiny.

We urge you to attend tomorrow’s city council meeting at 7pm if you can-there are public comments early and it’s critical that council hear from people who’d like to see the process move forward. If you’d rather not speak, your presence will still be recognized and noted by our council members. Additionally, you can email all members of the council (at one time!) using this address: Urge them to schedule this public hearing prior to February 22. Thanks!

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Lansing: Safe & Affordable Housing- Do We Have It or Don’t We?

I will discuss ad nauseum with anyone who brings up the subject It is no secret that I’m thrilled to own a home in the Oakland/Saginaw blocks of Pine Street. It’s almost embarrassing how little we paid for our wonderful, well-maintained, much-loved-over-its-many-years, slightly historic (did you know it has its own bar-with a bathroom and separate entrance- and was owned by the Corr family for practically FOREVER??) home that I will not leave til my body’s dragged out. I have wonderful neighbors, both home-owning and renting, walk to work, (and every bar within a mile and a half) have a Lansing School District schoolbus pick my kid up to go to Post Oak, (waaaaay over in Groesbeck) have a CATA bus stop in my front yard, and gardens in the vacant lots- including that awesome one in the Marathon Gas Station parking lot. (You seriously need to go check that marvelous space out.)

Two complaints only: Pine Street’s one-way going south situation that gives me hives every time I take the car out and my own QD’s crappy wine selection.

But I’m not blind to the housing realities of downtown Lansing living. We are exceedingly fortunate to have found this house, but all around us are aging and unsafe rentals, red-tagged vacancies, and homes still privately owned by long time homeowners, but in dire need of major, costly repairs.

Which begs the question- does downtown Lansing really have enough safe and affordable housing to maintain a vibrant, diverse community of long term residents?

The proposed affordable housing development at the Michigan School for the Blind requires us to seriously consider this question and weigh it alongside other city planning goals and urban planning priorities.

The DNA has not taken a position on this effort, but let’s start the conversation with my own personal bias and this GLHC study/proposal:

Greater Lansing Housing Coalition 5 Year Housing Plan

Please let us know how you feel!


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