Im anxiously waiting to see how REO Town will transform itself. I have a big soft spot for REO Town just like I have a soft spot for any underdog. You know who the underdogs are. They are the ones that everyone else ignores or cant even see on their radar. But I have a good feeling that this community just south of I-496 has the potential to make it big. And REO Town, in my humble opinion, has got heart and soul and spunk. We know that Old Town on the north side of Lansing has struck the right chord and is rocking out as an arts and cultural hot spot. So its time for REO Town to step up and get some love.
After leaving Oldsmobile in 1904, Ransom E. Olds formed a new company, using his initials to create the treasured REO name. The company bought the Baker farm and built a new factory. Workers and their families came from Michigan farms and from as far away as Germany. They relaxed at the Reo Clubhouse, read the Reo Spirit and patronized local stores and churches. The commercial and residential neighborhoods surrounding the plant became known as Reo Town. The plant shut down in 1976. And well, we all know how that affects a community. But this part of town, has grit, guts and an innovative spirit worthy of RE Olds himself. And it will come back.
The new Lansing Board of Water & Light co-generation plant came to life earlier this year, breathing some life and revitalization here. They fixed up the old train depot and the streets have been paved and street-scaping work has been completed. There are some great architecture firms, a community-minded yoga studio-Just B Yoga, REACH Studio Art Center and it was home to Lansing Beer Fest. Poised on the brink, I say.
So join me this Saturday, and visit this neighborhood for its third annual Art Attack! I heard that it was super cool and that I missed out on a lot of fun last year. You will find art, music, some awesome beer tasting and a whole bunch more. Theres even stuff for the kids to enjoy. I hope you can make it. Youll get to experience REO Town on the cusp of its renaissance. You won't want to miss out. See you there!
What: REO Town Art Attack
Where: S. Washington Ave., Lansing
When: Saturday, September 7, noon-9 p.m.
More information: http://www.reotownartattack.com/