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Our 2016 Spruce Up Grant Program is live!

SOCA is proud to announce the 2016 Spruce Up Grant Program – our 2nd year of this exciting program that aims to improve the exterior appearance of buildings on or near the Saginaw Street and Oakland Avenue corridor!

How does it work? This year there are two kinds of grants available: two grants of $500 and one grant for $1000! To be considered for a Spruce Up Grant, you must:

  • Be a current SOCA member
  • Propose improvements to a building exterior within the SOCA territory. This might involve repairing or replacing signage, painting, landscaping, etc.
  • Return a complete application by Friday, June 17, 2016
  • Agree to be featured in SOCA press releases, social media posts
  • Attend our August 17th, 2016 Business Breakfast to receive a big check (event is from 8 to 9 am, location to be announced)
  • Complete all improvements by Friday, September 30, 2016

Click here to start your online application! Or, click here to view and print a PDF version of the application.

This grant program is 100% funded through SOCA membership fees. It is one way SOCA works to serve our member businesses.

SOCA releases Point West Art Project Call for Artists!

The Saginaw Oakland Commercial Association (SOCA) is seeking a Michigan artist to create an original, bold, innovative public sculpture art installation to serve as the centerpiece of the Point West Art and Trail Project. This piece will be installed near the western Lansing city limits at Stanley Street, where Saginaw Street and Oakland Avenue meet. This gateway public art piece will welcome visitors to the City of Lansing and help instill a sense of place and pride in Lansing’s Westside. Click here to download a PDF of our formal request for artists proposals, a two-step process. The deadline for Michigan artists to submit a proposal for step one is April 22, 2016.

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Volunteer on April 2nd to Kickstart the Point West Trail!

Join neighbors from the Westside and Old Oakland neighborhoods, SOCA business owners, and other volunteers to help us with a HUGE volunteer day on Saturday, April 2nd, from 9:00am to 1:00pm! Activities will include stripping sod, trench and post-hole digging, garden composting, and other light maintenance. Together we will kick off building a one-mile recreational trail in West Side and Dunnebacke Parks!

All volunteers will receive free Biggby Coffee and snacks. Sign up today!

If you have questions about volunteering or the event, please contact Joe Duris, Old Oakland Neighborhood Association, at 517-775-9531.

Celebrate with us on December 9th!

Can you believe it is that time of the year, again?

That’s right, get excited about the 2015 SOCA Holiday Party and Annual Meeting!

We’re gathering once again at our favorite neighborhood bar, Harry’s Place, which is now officially also the OLDEST restaurant still operating in the City! Join us to celebrate our progress to revitalize Saginaw Street and Oakland Avenue. They’re the east-west backbone of Greater Lansing, and we’re working hard to make them safer, more inviting, and more vibrant.

Come out on Wednesday evening, December 9rd, 2015 to eat, drink, be merry, and celebrate our community! Enjoy the company of friends and neighbors, and come to see us hand out the 3rd Annual SOCA Awards, including the Business of the Year and the Placemaker of the Year!

There’s also a special twist on this year’s party. We’re launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to build public art and a trail at Lansing’s western city limit, where Saginaw and Oakland meet. We’ll be showing off our plans for the Point West Art and Trail project!

Your $10 advance ticket includes light appetizers and great company. Harry’s will also offer drink specials, access to the full menu, and a cash bar. Tickets will be $12 at the door.

Buying a ticket to the event helps support our work to revitalize the corridors, promote a walkable, bike-friendly community, and promote great local businesses. Join us on December 9th!

This event is generously sponsored by Harry’s Place!

Business Survey Deadline Extended!

We are extending the opportunity to participate in SOCA’s 2015 Business Survey until Friday, October 23, 2015 at 5:00pm.

Every fall we survey businesses along the Saginaw and Oakland corridors. The feedback you give us on your business district helps us make the district better for you.

Completed surveys will be eligible to win one of two $25 gift certificates to Harry’s Place. A report on the survey findings will be released in early November. Access to the full report of findings is available to SOCA members.

Seeking feedback on proposed Dollar General

SOCA is working with business owners and neighborhood association partners to collect feedback on a proposed redevelopment project along the 900 block of West Saginaw Street. The project, being proposed by Midwest Property Development of Spring Lake, Michigan, would include demolishing three structures and the constructing a  Dollar General store and 27 parking spaces.

On 09/22/2015, Rory Neuner, Consultant to SOCA, attended a meeting hosted by the Ingham County Land Bank (ICLB) regarding this project. To help you understand the project, here are our notes:

Also in attendance were Jeff Burdick (ICLB), Carol Wood (Lansing City Council / Genesee Neighborhood), Chuck Hallman (Genesee Neighborhood), Jessica Yorko (Lansing City Council), Kevin Skiba (Saginaw Street property owner), Rawley Van Fossen (ICLB), and Peter Oleszczuk, Vice President of Midwest Property Development.

Dollar General Rendering 1Mr. Oleszczuk presented several documents (click here for the site plan and aerial image) and two potential renderings of the site (including the one pictured above). The proposal is to tear down three buildings along Saginaw to build a 7500 sq. ft. Dollar General and approximately 27 parking spaces. This will be for a “regular Dollar General on a smaller footprint”. Midwest Property Development is the developer and proposed owner.

The store would have basic packaged foods but no fresh food. It would also sell health items, automotive, basic household items, and some clothing and shoes. The developer was unsure whether Dollar General intends to sell beer, wine, or liquor.

Currently, privately held properties in the area in question are under contract with Midwest Property Development. Now the developer is waiting on the Land Bank Board to vote on whether or not to sell their property at 923 West Saginaw. The goal of the meeting was to answer questions in advance of the Land Bank Board meeting on Oct 5th (5pm at the Ingham County Human Services Building), as any sales for non-residential property must be approved by the Land Bank Board.
Do you have opinions on this proposed project? Please tell us what you think by emailing us at rory@socalansing.org, or by visiting our Facebook page. SOCA will be sure to pass along this feedback to the Ingham County Land Bank at its October 5th meeting.

2015 Business Survey Now Open Online!

SOCA is excited to launch our 2015 Business Survey! Every fall we survey businesses along the Saginaw and Oakland corridors. The feedback you give us on your business district helps us make the district better for you.

This year’s survey is open until Friday, October 9th, 2015. Completed surveys will be eligible to win one of two $25 gift certificates to Harry’s Place. A report on the survey findings will be released in early November. Access to the full report of findings is available to SOCA members.

SOCA Announces Spruce Up Grant Winners

LANSING – Today the Saginaw Oakland Commercial Association (SOCA) awarded three Lansing businesses $500 grants to make improvements to their properties, part of a larger initiative to improve the appearance of the Saginaw Street and Oakland Avenue corridor. Landscape Architects and Planners, Eightfold Creative, and the Ingham County Animal Outreach Center were all awarded the funds this morning at SOCA’s monthly Business Breakfast.

“We are thrilled to be a recipient of the Spruce Up Grant, said Ashley Hayes, Volunteer Coordinator at the Ingham County Animal Outreach Center at 826 W. Saginaw Street. “The Outreach Center is completely funded by donations, so receiving these funds allows us to make improvements to the exterior of the building that we wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise. We hope the improvements will make it more inviting and accessible to our visitors and volunteers.”

The Spruce Up Grant Program is a new placemaking initiative open to business members of SOCA. Grant funds are for exterior improvements, including painting, signage, landscaping, and other visible exterior improvements. Grantees must complete any and all improvements by September 15, 2015. Projects include:

  • Landscape Architects and Planners plans to improve landscaping at its Oakland Center headquarters, located along Oakland Avenue at 809 Center Street.
  • Eightfold Creative plans to plant two new street trees and make landscaping and signage imrpovements at their 222 W. Genesee Street location.
  • The Ingham County Animal Outreach Center plans to add a screened front door and replace an unsafe and dilapidated porch at their property at 826 W. Saginaw Street.

“This grant will make a big difference for our commercial property,” said Bob Ford, President at Landscape Architects and Planners. “We think our project will make the Oakland Avenue corridor a more attractive place to do business.”

“As a start up business, we are excited to be welcomed like this to Lansing, “ said Patrick Dowdle of Eightfold Creative. ”It’s nice to know that SOCA is so supportive of small businesses!”

Check back at www.socalanisng.org to see the final results!

Deadline extended! Spruce Up Grant Apps now due July 31st!

The SOCA Business Development Committee voted today to extend the deadline of the 2015 SOCA Spruce Up Grant until Friday, July 31, 2015 at 5pm. We invite your business to apply for one of our three $500 grants for exterior improvements!

Please note that this grant program is available only to current SOCA members — but you can become one today by clicking here. SOCA created this program after reviewing the results of our 2014 Business Survey, in which respondents expressed a strong desire to see exterior improvements and improved aesthetics.

Apply now!

Announcing the 2015 SOCA Spruce Up Grants!

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SOCA is proud to announce the 2015 Spruce Up Grant Program to improve the exterior appearance of buildings on or near the Saginaw Street and Oakland Avenue corridor.

This grant program is available only to current SOCA members. SOCA created this program after reviewing the results of the 2014 SOCA Business Survey, in which respondents expressed a strong desire to see exterior improvements and improved aesthetics.

Click here to start your application!