Myers Point Park in Lansing

The Town of Lansing community was introduced to an early draft of a master plan for its parks, recreation and trails at the April 20 town board meeting. The goal was to develop a community-supported plan that provides guidance for future development and redevelopment of town parks, recreation and trails, according to Jackie Hakes, Director of Planning for MJ Engineering, the firm tasked with developing the master concept plan.

The plan includes future changes to the ball and barn fields, Ludlowville and Myers Parks, Salt Point Preserve and Lansing Center Trail. Common proposed improvements between all of the areas were either adding more parking or further formalizing existing parking lots. For instance, the parking lot at Ludlowville Park would expand from five to ten spots, and at Salt Point the parking lot would be more defined with a clearer accessway to the lake.

In addition to the expansion of parking, the concept plan for Ludlowville Park also features safer access to the falls and the installation of restrooms.

At the ball and barn fields, one objective would be to improve the pedestrian circulation and safety. A perimeter pathway is being proposed at the ball fields, which would travel around the borders of each individual field, connecting one to the other as well as to the Town Hall area. The barn fields would have a pedestrian path that would lead visitors from a formalized parking lot, down and around the field to the southwest portion of the field, where a new small playground, picnic area and pavilion would be. Protective fencing would be installed along the southern border of the fields, just across from Town Barn Road, as well.

Myers Park would see the most significant changes. The goal there would be to add more parking for vehicles as well as boat trailers, enhance the view of and access to the lake and create more defined spaces for different uses.

“Capitalizing on the fact that you have this direct access to the lake, beautiful views, and really shifting the focus of the lakefront from parking cars and that type of use to really allowing people to be able to come and be closer to the park and experience that,” Hakes said.

Because some of the parking will be moved further away from the park’s pavilions, new property amenities - such as high tensile structures, creative seating, trellis swings and pavilion carts - would be added to improve convenience. 

The Lansing Center Trail would see restrooms and formalized parking, as well as interpretive signage for “helping people to understand what the environment is that they’re walking through and the habitat that they are experiencing there and what the benefits are of that,” Hakes said.

Parks and Recreation Supervisor Pat Tyrrell said these changes to the trail are much needed and will be highly beneficial.

“Lansing is far behind on trails,” Tyrrell said. “I mean, we’re not even close to any other town at this point. This is a great plan that we kind of pulled the trails portion in at the last minute, but it all came together really well, and that’s something that the town is going to have to get better at moving forward.”

Aside from those particular areas, Hakes said the plan also focuses on connecting key nodes in the community at some point in the future, in particular the schools, Myers Park, Salt Point Preserve, town center, residential neighborhoods and neighborhoods such as Lake View, Village Solars and Whispering Pines, and the Village of Lansing.

“In addition to those key nodes and connecting those key nodes is the idea of community connections, where internally there might be within neighborhoods some gaps, where if there were some shorter connections to connect it would really open up the network and create opportunities for broader connections within the town,” she said.

The board as a whole said they were very impressed with what is presented in the draft, though Councilman Joe Wetmore did express concern about the proposed changes to Ludlowville Park. Specifically, Wetmore said he is worried that the changes would stray the park away from its intended character as a neighborhood park to a destination park.

“I think there’s ways of dealing with some of that that would be more effective than adding more [parking] spaces,” Wetmore said. “I’m afraid that as you add more spaces, you add more cars, but you don’t take them off the street; you just add more cars. And that’s been the experience I’ve seen in other towns and other places that adding parking doesn’t stop people from coming. It just makes it easier for more people to come.”

“I think that the residents got two different directions that they’re trying to go,” he said. “They’re trying to cut down on parking, but they’re also trying to keep it a neighborhood park. I’m worried that this is going to draw more people in from the outer parts of Lansing and make it less of a neighborhood park.”

Tyrrell said he does not think the proposed changes would impact the park’s character.

“Really we didn’t expand much on the park other than the restroom portion,” he said. “Everything else is kind of the same, and obviously creating a safer access to the falls, which has been a goal of mine since I started here. It’s been something that was even before I came on board that was looked at, and we tried to get that done somehow with a volunteer group or a different way. If you look at the survey, that’s what … the feedback was based on getting a safer access to view and look at the falls.”

The draft of the master plan can be viewed on the town’s website under “Town Board Current Meeting Documents.”

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