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E-M:/ Sierra Club Releases Sprawl Report
Enviro-Mich message from firstname.lastname@example.org
Michigan Sierra Club
109 East Grand River, Lansing, MI 48906 - Ph: 517/484-2372 - Fax 517/484-3108
For Immediate Release: Contact:
Thursday September 14, 2000 Alison Horton or
Dan Farough, Lansing
SIERRA CLUB SPRAWL REPORT HIGHLIGHTS
GOOD AND BAD DEVELOPMENTS ACROSS THE NATION
OLD TOWN, GOVERNOR'S CLUB FEATURED IN NATION-WIDE REPORT
Lansing -The Sierra Club released the latest report in its campaign to stop
suburban sprawl from its new office in Old Town Lansing today. The report
entitled, Smart Choices or Sprawling Growth, is a 50 state survey that examines
examples of good and bad development choices from across the country. The
report finds that while an increasing number of communities are embracing smart
growth projects to combat sprawling growth, many public officials and developers
are still feeding suburban sprawl - haphazard, unplanned development that
increases traffic, destroys green space increases taxes and air pollution. "The
report shows that we do not have to settle for sprawl. We have other options
and can choose to rejuvenate downtowns, and protect open space, and that some
developers are coming on board," said Alison Horton, Director of the Mackinac
Chapter of the Sierra Club.
In the section on Michigan, the report gives a national profile to two well
known development actions in Greater Lansing: Old Town Revitialization in
downtown Lansing and the Governor's Club golf course project in Meridian
Township. "Greater Lansing communities have been on the cutting edge of both
the good and the bad in terms of fighting and promoting sprawl," said Horton.
"At one moment we see outstanding efforts to revitalize urban centers,
neighborhoods and preserve open space and the next we see efforts promoting
haphazard growth, golf courses and strip malls."
On the good side, The Sierra Club cited efforts on the part of developers,
public officials and community organizations, like the Old Town Main Street
Association, which has worked to revitalize the historic Old Town district that
had become run down, but is now witnessing a rebirth. The area has seen a
steady influx of businesses, restaurants and art galleries. The Sierra Club
recently relocated its offices to Old Town to be part of the urban
revitalization effort. "Redevelopment, like Old Town, is spurred by community
groups, neighborhoods and developers working together to create livable
said Amy Collett, Director of the Old Town Main Street Association. "In Old
Town, we have really pulled together a diverse group to make this work."
On the bad side, the Sierra Club report condemns projects like the recent
regional development disaster, the Governors Club golf course development in
southwest Meridian Township. This project was embedded in the minds of the
residents throughout mid-Michigan for the way in which developers embroiled the
three communities of Lansing, East Lansing and Meridian Township in a land war
and trampled a citizen petition drive. "The Governor's Club fiasco demonstrates
the tremendous need for a form of regional cooperation that stops the pitting of
one community against another and respects citizens' right to participate in
land use decisions," said Horton.
The report pays particular attention to market research, visual preference
surveys and the success of smart growth projects nationwide to demonstrate that
there are better ways to live, work and play. "The examples cited in Smart
Choices or Sprawling Growth, show that communities like those in mid-Michigan do
have a choice as to how they grow and that the demand for smart growth is there.
The question is whether we have the vision and leadership to support good
decisions like those in Old Town and the courage to challenge short sighted
decisions like the Governor's Club," said Horton.
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