LANSING, MI – Lansing city officials say the New Lansing City Market is on target to open the first of December. But the scope of the project has changed. The New Market will be smaller than originally proposed and have fewer amenities.
The New Lansing City Market has been fraught with controversy since plans were announced a year and a half ago. Now, with two months left before it's expected to open, critics are again taking aim at the project. Lansing city councilmember Eric Hewitt says he's bothered by a number of changes including the elimination of a community kitchen and an outside pavilion.
"We're no longer going to have an opportunity to utilize it as the city town square we were told it was going to be with flea-markets and performances," Hewitt says. "Now it looks like we're basically going to have a big white and red barn."
The market will about three-quarters of the size originally planned, forcing some seasonal vendors outside. The rent vendors pay will also increase by about 35-percent. Lansing Entertainment and Public Facilities Authority Director is Scott Keith. He says several construction problems forced the $1.6 million project to be scaled back.
"Some of the changes were made so that we stayed on budget, stayed on time and that we still put a good product out there that was going to be prioritized for the use of the market," Keith says. "What's good for the vendors, what's good for the community that's coming to visit the vendors."
Keith says nearly everything that has been left out of the new market could be added later.