Community Projects

Spartan Service Day

By Meegan Holland

The intersection of Turner Street and Grand River Avenue can be one of Old Town’s biggest charms – and potentially one of its biggest detractions.
The garden spaces have at times gone through periods of neglect, choked with weeds that make for an unsightly entrance to the Burchard Park parking lot.
But a few years ago, a grass roots group got out trowels and garden gloves to weed, mulch and neaten up their appearance.
It happened again Saturday, April 18, when volunteers from the Old Town Commercial Association, the Arts Council of Greater Lansing and MSU students came together to spruce up the neighborhood.
As you drive by Turner and Grand River, take a look at the plots along the fence. And better yet, walk in Burchard Park and take note of the neatly trimmed grasses and freshly laid mulch in the Robert Busby Memorial Garden.
We can’t name everyone who helped, but in particular we want to thank the following folks:

  • Megan Barrett and David Gregware from the OTCA for procuring and supervising volunteers and spearheading this event.
  • Rhea VanAtta and Jamie Schriner-Hooper for supervising volunteers 
  • Hammond Farms for donating mulch
  • The Greater Lansing Housing Coalition for the use of their tool truck
  • Greater Lansing Arts Council volunteers
  • Barb Hranilovich and Kelly Kitchen for spending 2-3 hours cutting back and cleaning up the Busby beds
  • Cindy McElroy who also helped clean up and who paid for someone to come and remove the rest of the leaves at the Busby garden before mulching
  • Mike Bass at Friedland for moving pallets of mulch, removing the trash and storing mulch for future use
  • And finally the MSU students who participated in the Spartan Day of Service, coordinated by the university’s Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement. They were fun to work with and the day served to expose them to the charms of Old Town. We hope they return!
And now OTCA is looking to expand its gardening group to maintain the plots all summer and fall. It’s not a huge commitment – and you just may get ice cream, or at least some camaraderie, for your efforts. If you’re interested, contact Jamie Schriner Hooper at
There are few certainties in life, but one is that those weeds will return.