Lansing’s biggest construction project is on track for Autumn Fest 2018
by Ashlee De Wit
LANSING, Ill. (September 27, 2017) – Grass seed is planted, concrete is poured, and structural steel is being installed as progress continues at Fox Pointe in downtown Lansing. Development is on track for the official opening, which will be just in time for the site’s biggest event: Autumn Fest.
Construction on Fox Pointe, located at Randolph and Henry Streets, started in June.
“The goal for this year is to get as much of the site work completed as possible, weather permitting,” said Village Engineer Jeff Pintar of Robinson Engineering. “All indications are that the buildings and whole site will be ready sometime in the summer of 2018 for the fall Autumn Fest.”
A year off
Autumn Fest, which is sponsored by the Lansing Association for Community Events (L.A.C.E.) and is typically held in the Fox Pointe area, was canceled this fall because of the construction. Other Lansing sites were considered, but ultimately, none were capable of hosting the annual event. L.A.C.E. instead held a Family, Fun, & Fireworks event at the Lansing Country Club on September 9.
“The Village of Lansing is undertaking a very large and exciting project in 2017: the redevelopment of Fox Pointe,” reads a L.A.C.E. Facebook post from earlier this year. “While this project will reap many benefits for our community, the timing and size of the project will not allow us to hold Autumn Fest in 2017. We hope you will mark your calendars for October 5, 6, and 7, 2018. We look forward to the Grand Opening of Fox Pointe with our 2018 Autumn Fest!”
Enhancing and attracting
JMA Architects is responsible for the structural work on the Fox Pointe property, which includes a number of permanent structures that will enhance Autumn Fest and other events.
The completed project will be a multi-use property: a festival park and a concert venue that includes an amphitheater and pavilion, as well as a ticket booth, concession stand, and restrooms. The materials used in construction will match those used at Village Hall and the new History Plaza. The Village intends for Fox Pointe to serve as a distinct Lansing location that brings people to town.
“Right now, we are finishing concrete foundations and slabs for the buildings,” said Jim Maciejewski, owner of JMA. “Some steel framing is starting to be erected—the open-air pavilion has some steel going up, and pretty soon we will be starting structural steel for the amphitheater. Also in the next one to two weeks, masonry installation will begin.”
Re-directing and connecting
Randolph Street and 181st Place are being re-directed for the project; when it is completed, there will be one through street that runs from Henry Street to Roy Street, near the Lansing Post Office.
The completed Fox Pointe will be between Park Plaza on Ridge Road and Grant Street (the site of the downtown clock tower) and Winterhoff Park, at Roy and Madison Streets. The Pennsy Greenway bike path will connect all three downtown Lansing sites.
“People will be able to walk or bike safely from Park Plaza to Winterhoff Park, through or around Fox Pointe,” Pintar said.
Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds are paying for the work at Fox Pointe. TIFs are set up to channel property tax revenue from a defined area toward community improvement. The funds have to be used for community improvement within the TIF district within a certain amount of time. Fox Pointe is within Lansing’s Ridge Road TIF district.
The newly constructed Santa House is adjacent to Fox Pointe. Ken Reynolds, Mayor Eidam’s Executive Assistant and Director of Communications for the Village of Lansing, noted that outside the Christmas season, the Village hopes to use the small building for other purposes.
“We want that building to be multi-purpose, so as we develop Fox Pointe, it is very possible that that building could be used for events in some way, shape, or form,” he said.
According to Maciejewski, several of the Fox Pointe contractors have donated labor, materials, or both for the construction of the Santa House—all while staying on schedule for their work at the Fox Pointe site. “Buildings are going up pretty much as planned,” he said. “There’s still a lot of work to do, but it’s starting to take shape. It will be pretty spectacular for Lansing when it’s finished.”