Moores Park Neighborhood Organization - MPNO (Formerly SCNO)
The residents of this neighborhood have been working hard to improve our part of the city for over 55 years. Over the years many projects and events have been held with the neighborhood organization leading the way.
Twice in the 1960s neighbors had to put pressure on the City officials to:
- Make Moores Park safer by removing overgrown bushes that were hiding unsavory activities and
- counter a proposal to shut down the pool.
When federal money became available in the early 1970s, through the Neighborhood Development Authority, neighbors became elected leaders of the Citizens District Council (CDC) #4, or the South Central Neighborhood Council (SCNO) as it was then called. CDC #4 advised the Lansing City Council in the expenditure of the $2.2 million grant for the improvement of our neighborhood. More than 40 sub-standard houses were removed, 40 to 50 more were renovated, new sidewalks were laid, trees planted, and streets paved.
With the advent of Community Policing in the 1980s SCNO was split into 3 areas: Fab Acres, east of Washington Ave., River Point, north of the railroad, and SCNO, west of Washington Ave. to MLK Blvd. In the 1990s, the SCNO name was changed to the current Moores Park Neighborhood Organization (MPNO).
In recent years, the MPNO has been responsible for the implementation of a sign at the old Moores Park Elementary School, speed bumps for slowing traffic in several areas of the neighborhood, new bench seating outside the Moores Park Pool, a labyrinth in Moores Park, a neighborhood entrance sign on Barnes Ave. with landscaping, the support of a community garden, wayfinding signs, various clean-up projects, a games area in the park, and numerous events including our annual Easter Egg hunt and Porch Fest.
MPNO Past Presidents
2017-18: Mike Prohaska
2014-17: Natalie Molnar
2014: Chong-Anna Confora
2010-13: Paul Johns
2009-10: Amy DeRosier
2000-02: Leela Rau
Moores Park Neighborhood
Johnson’s Farm was just south of the Grand River and Glen Island. This was purchased and planned for development in 1890 by M.D. Skinner and M.L. Hollister. They renamed it Park Place and planned to develop a neighborhood around what was then called “Belvidere Park.” Park Place includes the area bounded by Washington, Mt. Hope, Beal, and Moores River Drive. Twenty-seven homes were built between 1890 and 1904, but the “crash” of 1893 slowed further building.
In 1905, J.H. Moores purchased Park Place and further developed the area by adding water and sewer systems, and draining, clearing, and landscaping “Belvidere Park.” Many more houses were built around 1916 during the boom time before WWI and the operation of the REO automotive plant on the current business sites north of Barker Ave., Park Heights (the area west of the park), Floral Subdivision (Rundle), Kenwood (the area west of Floral), REO addition, McKibbins Addition, and Johnson’s Addition (near the former Red Plant) were also developed in the early 1900s.
A number of neighborhood street names were named after associates of J.H. Moores. Here's a listing of current streets and for whom they were named after:
- Barnes Ave - named for the pioneer Lansing family with deep ties to the city's early development
- Beal Ave - named for E.S. Beal, one of Moores' associates and part owner of the land in the Park Place subdivision
- Bradley Ave - named by Moores for Nelson Bradley, who was one of his early bank associates
- Britten Ave - named for William T. Britten, who was a co-owner and developer of the Park Heights subdivision
- Coleman Ave - named for Merritt L. Coleman, another Moores business associates
- Davis Ave - named by Moores for Benjamin E. Davis, a business and banking associate
- Osband Ave - named by Moores for banker Charles H. Osband
- Sparrow Ave - named for another business associate, Edward W. Sparrow
- Todd Ave - named by Moores for banker Marquis D. Todd
Moores Park Elementary School
In 1906 an elementary school was built at the end of Davis Ave. It opened in 1910. The school was torn down and replaced with a new building in 1958. In 2010 the school was closed. It was then purchased by Moores River Technology LLC (PSO Laboratories) for $260,000 in 2014. That company left and sold the building in 2018 to Convergence Networks (formerly ASK) which currently owns it.
J.H. Moores was a real estate and lumber baron whose donations of land started the Lansing Parks system.
He donated the land that was called "Belvidere Park" to the City in 1908, making it the first school-park combination in the nation and the second in Lansing. In 1890, it was written that "the park is threaded with pleasure walks and drives, and, in fact, the whole is planned with admirable judgment." By 1908, "under the care and improvement of Mr. Moores [it] had been made a place of rare and artistic beauty." Early maps show a ravine along the west side of Bradley Ave. which carries a stream into the park. The entrance to the park was from Sparrow Ave. (now Moores River Dr.) just east of Bradley and through two pillars, still standing, and over the stream. That roadway went through the park and exited between the pillars now standing at the end of Beal Ave. Plaques on the pillars carry Moores' motto:
"I shall pass through this world but once: If, therefore there be any good thing I can do to any fellow human being let me do it for I shall not pass this way again."
In 1915 a herd of elk roamed through Moores Park before later being moved to Potter Park. The ravine and stream were tiled and covered in 1923 and now serve as a storm drain adjacent to Bradley Ave. and through the park.
Following the successful passage of a millage for parks development in 1993, $450,000 of improvements were made to return Moores Park to its former beauty and it remains a pleasant place for many Greater Lansing area people as well as close neighbors.
Belvidere Park. Retrieved from Capital Area District Libraries, Local History Online, Story of Parks and Cemeteries (pdf).
Castro, M. (1987, Summer). Waverly Park A Lost Pleasure Ground (pdf). Metropolitan Quarterly. Lansing, MI.
City of Lansing and Capital Area District Libraries for a Moores Park Walking Wednesday (pdf), June 27, 2018.
City of Lansing, East Lansing and Vicinity, Michigan, 1934. Retrieved from the MSU Libraries, Scanned Maps, https://lib.msu.edu/branches/maps/MSU-Scanned/Michigan/843-d-E-Lansing-HOLC/
J.H. Henry Moores biography and Moores Park. Lansing River Trail write-up, https://lansingrivertrail.org/Moores-Park
Mason, W. (2007, March-April). New Eras in Lansing (pdf). Rocket Review. REOlds Chapter-Oldsmobile Club of America.
Moores Park Elementary School. Retrieved from the Capital Area District Libraries, Local History Online, Original Moores Park Elementary School - 1996-01-001.010.023 (catalogaccess.com)
Researching Your Home and Neighborhood, Presentation by Heidi Butler, Local History Specialist, Capital Area District Libraries, May 18, 2019.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Lansing, Ingham County, Michigan. Sanborn Map Company, Vol. 1, 1913. Map. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, http://www.loc.gov/item/sanborn04071_005/.