25 townspeople gathered at the Lansing Town Hall Wednesday to plan a celebration of the Town's 200th birthday. The brainstorming session kicked off a series of meetings that will lead to an event in early September. Town Supervisor Ed LaVigne moderated, encouraging people to volunteer to handle the various parts of the event.
The group came about as a result of a Facebook post by Town Supervisor Ed LaVigne. That led to the formation of a Lansing NY Bicentennial Group, that almost instantly attracted nearly 1,500 members. Many said they wanted to bring back Lansing Day, an event that eventually morphed into the Lansing Harbor Festival. But some attendees said they wanted to go back to the simpler celebration that originally took place where the Lansing Town Hall currently stands.
Three possible locations were discussed, including the North Log Cabin site in Myers Park, Christopher Field next to the Town Hall, and Central Fire Station in on Ridge Road South Lansing. While attendees felt the event would have more visibility at Christopher Field on the day, they eventually decided on the fire station location, where the Lansing Fire Department used to hold their annual carnival. Thursday Lansing Fire Commissioner and department member Darrell Rhoads confirmed the Lansing Fire Department agreed to host the celebration at Central Station.
The Town is named after John Lansing Jr. who served as a military secretary to General Philip Schuyler during the Revolutionary War, and later served as a state assemblyman and New York State Supreme Court Chief Justice. Lansing was charged by Schuyler with granting 'military lots' to Revolutionary War soldiers in payment for their service. The Town of Lansing was created in 1817 around the time Tompkins County was established. Lansing, Michigan was later named after the New York Town by settlers that originated here. The actual birthday of the Town is April 17, 1817.
Firm decisions coming out of Wednesday's meeting were that Mesa Mayton and John Hatfield will co-chair the event with LaVigne, the event will take place on September 9th from 11am to 4pm in the field behind Central Fire Station. But many ideas were considered. Valerie McMillen showed the group potential T-shirt and button designs that she had also posted on the Facebook Group page. There was much discussion about items to be sold to fund the event, and what kinds of booths and activities may be included. Some attendees favored a parade.
Mayton suggested a banner be hung over the roadway near the Town Hall to alert passers-by to the September event. She said she would also leverage her contacts with the schools and the PTSO to enlist their involvement, and advocated to make the event free, raising money to pay expenses in other ways.
Another meeting is planned for next Wednesday, 7:30pm at the Lansing Town Hall. LaVigne said he hoped even more people would come.