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.