Reclaiming Lansing

Posted at 8:02 PM, May 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-20 21:48:23-04

There's a new bright spot in a Reo Town neighborhood where an old foreclosed home once stood. It's one of the blooming success stories of the Ingham County Land Bank.

Neighbors like Val Hunt have been waiting for something to replace three blight homes.

"Kids were breaking into houses. I mean the windows were busted. They were real eyesores they were" Hunt said. "They were literally the worst houses in our neighborhood."

No matter what takes it's place, for Hunt, seeing the houses gone is a win.

"Just knowing that they're not putting up more dilapidated houses back up makes me even happier," Hunt said.

The once vacant spot is now owned by the Ingham County Land Bank and instead of adding more homes, they're adding something for everyone--a community garden.

"When you have people outside in the neighborhood being outside meeting other people from the community and just being a visible presences outside that goes a long way," said John Krohn, garden coordinator for Ingham County Land Bank.

All of the plants are perennials which means that they can grow on their own and easier for people to maintain.

"You don't have to replanting the crops they just come up on their own every spring," Krohn said. "So we wanted to do something that was a little lower maintenance."

As coordinator, Krohn says bringing new life, like plants, into a neighborhood causes a ripple effect.

"When blighted houses come down and they're no longer the worst looking house on the block," he says "then the next worst looking houses on the block, there owns start going I better fix my house up."

The beautification of the entire neighborhood is something Val Hunt says she's seen happening.

When she was told that the vacant land will be a garden, she says she's ready to put her own gardener's to work.

"They want to dig and if they want to dig a hole they might as well put something in it that will come back out." Hunt said.