MSU EDA University Center for

Regional Economic Innovation

E-Update | May 2023

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SLFG Projects Presented at the 2023 Planning Practicum Team Presentations

Final MSU Urban and Regional Planning practicum presentations for Dr. Zenia Kotval’s students took place this past Friday, April 28th. These Student-Led Faculty Guided projects are funded, in part, by MSU’s EDA University Center (REI) and provide an opportunity for student experiential learning; in addition to leveraging higher education assets to perform technical assistance for communities in Michigan.

The Michigamme Room was filled with energy and overflowing with students, community stakeholders / clients, and REI/CCED staff and research assistants. Teams presented their various projects, and time was allotted for questions and answers. Projects included: Lansing North Grand River Avenue Corridor Study; Shiawassee County Development Process Analysis; revitalization study for Conant Gardens Neighborhood in Detroit; feasibility study for a park director and inventory of parks in Benzie County; walkability plan for Scottville; and a district improvement plan for the Muskegon Pine Street Business District.

Clients congratulated student teams, some stating that the case studies produced from these projects would allow for community buy-in and expressed, “the neighborhood is excited about what you have done.”

Below is the summary of the six SLFG projects and team members.

Lansing North Grand River Avenue Corridor Study:

Team | Dan Fallon, James Maher, Joe Pezzotti, Kade Peck, Mitch Robinson

The Lansing Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) is seeking to revitalize the North Grand River Avenue Corridor, a 3.3-mile stretch of roadway to promote economic redevelopment within the area. The LEDC has further identified three vacant parcels along the corridor that are in need of redevelopment. This study analyzes the corridor’s socio-economic, zoning/land use, and transportation data, paired with community input to determine the existing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) of the corridor with the goal of presenting best use scenarios for the identified parcels that would best serve the community.

Shiawassee County Development Process Analysis:

Team | Jack Greenstein, Michael Jones, Shruti Nahar, CJ Sivak

The Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership (SEDP) is looking to provide a resource for prospective developers and local governments regarding development processes within the 17 distinct planning jurisdictions. This analysis included a socio-economic profile, structured interviews with local government officials, and comparative analysis of the site plan review, rezoning, special use permitting, and variance processes across the county. Recommendations highlight areas for making pursuing new development in Shiawassee County more efficient for developers and more effective for local governments.

Conant Gardens Neighborhood Revitalization Study:

Team | Felicia French-Croll, Lingxi Chen, Danna Gutierrez, Alayna Offredi, Shangrui Zhu

Conant Gardens Neighborhood Development Corporation (CGNDC) is looking for a strategic plan that can inform actions for neighborhood revitalization. This project analyzes the neighborhood’s demographics, socioeconomic characteristics and its housing supply to give a comprehensive neighborhood profile, and a synthesized analysis of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT). The recommendations provided reflect a strategic prioritization for actions, and focus on ensuring strategic connections, partnerships and community involvement for CGNDC.

Review of the Benefits of Parks and an Inventory of Parks in Benzie County, MI:

Team | Mary Kate Bejma, Conor Warren, Michael Wilkinson, Xinyi Yao, Heather Zeigler

Benzie County, as part of their 2019-2024 recreation and culture plan has hired the MSU practicum team to complete a literature review collection and map brochure of Benzie’s parks to support their augment for creating a recreational department. Benzie is located in northwest Michigan and has 25 miles of lake Michigan coastline. The county would like to utilize its natural beauty to promote tourism and recreational activities for long term residents and seasonal visitors alike.

Scottville Walkability Plan – Activate Scottville:

Team | Sebastian Bies, Freddy Horta, Gauri Mhatre, Kole Nicholoff, Isha Pithwa

Scottville is looking to improve walkability for school children and other residents. Additionally, it is looking to address issues such as excessive public parking and a lack of amenities in its food truck area. These issues contribute to an unlively downtown area. This project examines these issues by completing a socioeconomic profile and infrastructural inventory that helps identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the city. The findings support two primary proposals, the Walkable Scottville Plan and the Clowntown Scottville Plan. Together, these plans provide recommendations for initiatives needed to improve walkability and downtown liveliness in Scottville.

Muskegon Pine Street Business District Improvement Plan.

Team | Ahmad Behzad, Shuangshuang Fu, Alex Johnson, Rashane Thapa, Faith Vignola

This project addresses the need for new and enhanced non-motorized transportation facilities in Garfield Township, MI. The group, through a collaborative effort between students and the township planners, has been able to address the non-motorized circularity opportunities in the township. Ideally, through these efforts, non-motorized infrastructure connections in the township will expand, providing a multitude of benefits to the residents therein.
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