The Frandor shopping area, which blankets the below-ground Montgomery Drain, is the largest contributor of nonpoint source pollution (i.e. rain water from the streets) in the Red Cedar watershed, Lindemann said.
His aim is to turn the area back into a swamp that will absorb the rainwater. This can be accomplished through “low impact design,” such as rain gardens, as opposed to piping it, as is done now.
“I have to interrupt that flow. That’s my charge under the Clean Water Act and I can’t do it alone,” Lindemann said.
Aside from rain gardens in the parking lot, there is also the defunct city-owned Red Cedar Golf Course to the south across Michigan Avenue.
“That becomes the sewer — the whole damn golf course. It’s a huge catch basin,” Lindemann said.
And then there is the commercial development nearby, which Lindemann says could be a catalyst to get the project moving.
Between the old Dunham’s sports equipment building and Story Chevrolet dealership on Michigan Avenue, Lindemann estimates there is about $450 million worth of investment to be had. That would include restaurants and mixed office, retail and residential buildings.
A planned pedestrian bridge over Michigan Avenue would be key to linking MSU students to Frandor, heightening its retail prowess. There is also consideration for an outdoor amphitheater and a bit of retail on the old golf course.
“This is how we rebuild cities,” Lindemann said. “This is about rebuilding Lansing.”