After many months of public hearings, hundreds of letters, polls, comments and hours of discussion with Lansing City Council members, the council unanimously voted to rename Grand River Avenue to Cesar Chavez Avenue from the fork at Oakland Avenue to Pine St. In 1925, Grand River Avenue changed names from Franklin Avenue to be a part of the first paved road running nearly 175 miles from the east to the west side of the state, and for the last 92 years has been known as Grand River Avenue—crossing the Grand River at the Busby Bridge.
On Jan. 2, the Honorary Cesar Chavez Avenue signs that have been at the helm of every street sign running on that section of Grand River Avenue will come down along with the Grand River Avenue signs, and the official Cesar Chavez Avenue signs will go up. Many Old Town stakeholders are requesting that “Historic Grand River Avenue” signage will go up in the place of the Honorary Cesar Chavez Avenue signage on every street sign (not just the two proposed at council last week), to both honor the history of the road, as well as to help with the confusion over the name change for Old Town’s customers—as for the last 92 years all business marketing materials have said “Grand River Avenue” and we’re not sure how long the mapping apps like Mapquest, Google Maps, etc., will take to catch up, or if they will recognize both names. This will also allow the many small business owners along Grand River to utilize their current printed marketing materials, rather than immediately needing to have them reprinted, as there are no resources yet identified to help the impacted businesses with their costs. If you would like to provide feedback to council on Historic Grand River Avenue signage, please attend the public hearing on Monday, Nov. 27, at Lansing City Council at 7 p.m. and sign up to speak.
While this transition is likely to cause much confusion and change is hard, we plan to work with our neighbors to make the transition as smooth as we are able. We are also hopeful to move forward with working with the Lansing for Cesar Chavez Committee in a positive manner, to honor a good man and incredible civil rights pioneer and look forward to having another set of hands to help make Old Town a great place.
By Jamie Schriner, OTCA President