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Donation drives park improvements

Frances Park nets $200K cash infusion


June Knostman always gave back to the city of Lansing. And she still does — even after her death.

As the unofficial flower queen of the capital city, Knostman had developed Frances Park into her throne. She lived across the street and regularly strolled the woodland trails and expansive rose gardens that encompass the westside park. She didn’t have any children, but the park was like her adopted child.

Knostman, who died in 2017 at 96, left $200,000 to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department in her trust. On Monday, Council members plan to approve accepting that donation to be used exclusively for enhancements to the park’s rose gardens and Grand River overlook later this year. Frances Park is on Moores River Drive.

“June was a true friend to Lansing parks and recreation, and her efforts towards the beautification of Frances Park will be enjoyed by patrons for years to come,” explained Parks Director Brett Kaschinske.

“She was a great lady that just had a love for the city and really wanted to make this part of her legacy.”

Specific plans will be assembled this year but Kaschinske labeled the donation “huge” for the park.

Knostman, according to her obituary, was a “tireless booster” of the city, including time spent on the Public Service Board, The Friends of Frances Park and the Garden Club of Greater Lansing. She was also a nationally accredited flower show judge and had traveled the world for various competitions.

Kaschinske said her previous contributions replaced chain-link fencing with a wrought-iron design at Frances Park. As a lover of music and art, Knostman had a passion for her community and a desire to leave the world a better and more beautiful place. That legacy, obviously, will continue to live on.

“She was a spitfire,” said Linda Hall, a close family friend. “We loved how she was always thinking about her community, right up until the day she died. It’s just so lovely that she seemed to always find ways to give back to the city — even after she passed. We’re just delighted about these improvements.”



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