The Lansing Board of Aldermen met in a public, special session on Monday, March 24, to discuss the future of the Lansing Creeper Trail Park.
The meeting comes after the town was approved by the county for $25,000 to help with matching a grant to qualify for the park’s renovation and $14,000 to be used for funding a part-time paid position to oversee the project.
Alderman Michelle Slation said the $14,000 is a continuation of the “bigger picture” put forth by the town and the park’s expansion.
“We already said GLAD (Greater Lansing Area Development) is going to handle the day-to-day actions of the handling of this project,” Slaton said, “So I don’t see how this is that different.”
The board unanimously voted to create a line item in the town’s budget to send monthly invoices for administrative costs, with GLAD being the administrative entity for the the park project.
Right now, GLAD president Ann Rose said the town of Lansing has $121,000 to go with matching funds from the state, or approximately 20 percent of the $601,000 the town plans to raise.
The next fundraiser for the project will be a dance which takes place in Lansing at the Bee Natural Salon on April 12.
“I think we can get individual donations,” Lansing Mayor George Rembert said. “This is feasible, it can happen.”
Alderman Dylan Lightfoot also emphasized that this is not an “all or nothing situation,” as far as completion of the park goes. Mentioning, if they have to eliminate, for example, the disc-golf course to save money then that would be an option.
Rose said there have been misunderstandings about how much of the park’s expansion Lansing has funded.
“People need to understand it’s not costing the town anything,” she said. “This has all been free money so far.”
Lightfoot said that while the town does not have to pay for the project, it only makes it more imperative for Lansing to do so.
Right now, the town is trying to determine what its funds will be and the treasurer will decide what will be in Lansing’s best course of action.
Board members discussed what they said are misunderstandings relating to how the project is being funded, and what the funds are going toward. Members of the Lansing Board of Aldermen, as well as the mayor of Lansing are not paid positions, and do their work as public service.
Also, Lightfoot said the contract’s language needs to be specific about where the money is going (GLAD) to eliminate any confusion.
“The money is not going to Ann Rose, it is going to the GLAD project manager,” Lightfoot said. “There were two or three of them before her. She may not be the GLAD Project Manager in a few years when this project is completed.”
In addition, the money will be contract income and Rose will be taxed.
The Board also expressed support for Rose receiving the money because of the work she has put into the project for the last year.
“I also have explained (to residents) that Ann has worked for over a year, free of charge, to get what what we have now,” Alderman Jack Brown said. “It’s only fair that we start paying Ann at this point.”
There have been no votes for tax increases in the town relating to the park project. Alderman Brenda Reeves said people have been asking if there were going to be tax hikes because of the project.
“The more information we are able to get out there, the more they will see,” she said referring to making the process more transparent.
The Lansing Board of Aldermen then went into a closed session, but no decisions were made. The next meeting of the Aldermen will take place Monday, April 14.
Wil Petty can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @WilPetty.