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Free Rides To Ingham County Parks

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Categories: Blog

Ingham County boasts a wide variety of parks with trails, playgrounds, picnic areas and sports facilities, all available for visitors to enjoy. A partnership between CATA and the Ingham County Parks and Recreation Department makes visiting these parks a little easier.

Kids swinging on a tire swing in a park

To encourage outdoor recreation and provide accessible transportation options, CATA is offering free curb-to-curb rides to Burchfield Park in Delhi Township, Lake Lansing Park South & North in Meridian Township and Hawk Island Park in the City of Lansing.

Through the provision of free rides, CATA and the Ingham County Parks and Recreation Department seeks to remove any potential transportation and parking obstacles that may otherwise prevent families, outdoor enthusiasts and people of all ages from experiencing these wonderful amenities.

Residents and visitors are encouraged to take advantage of this exciting initiative, get on board a CATA bus and embark on a memorable journey to explore the beautiful parks of Ingham County. Visit cata.org/InghamCountyParks for more details.

Parks and Services

Burchfield Park (Delhi Township)

Hawk Island Park (City of Lansing)

Lake Lansing Park South & North (Meridian Township)

*Spec-Tran customers must be certified in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

This content has been published in the 2023 Community Report.

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A Moment in Time

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Categories: Blog

A Moment in Time

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and although that may be true, in this case: a picture is worth capturing a moment in time. A snapshot of an everyday task, the 8 a.m. morning commute, has made its way into local history in the form of an oil painting.

People wait for the train next to a white train station building in the early morningAs the sun peaked over the horizon, morning commuters were cast in a warm glow while waiting for the train at the old station on Harrison Road in East Lansing; inspiration struck local artist Nancy Aitcheson.

“I was on my way to work at MSU some summer morning in 2014. I have driven past the train station multiple times before. But on this beautiful morning the sun hit the scene just right of people going about their business. I was intrigued,” said Aitcheson. “I rolled into the QD parking lot across the street and took a bunch of photos before the sun could shift. I was even late for work to capture the moment.”

Aitcheson knew that one day she would turn those photos into an oil painting, but she didn’t know that the images could become a part of history. The landscape was about to change, and that old train station would soon transform into today’s Capital Area Multimodal Gateway. The new facility operated by CATA, opened in 2015 to replace the nearby Amtrak and bus station which began operations in 1974.

Aitchenson stands holding her panoramic art piece of the people waiting for the trainFour years later, Aitcheson laid out the panoramic photos to recreate the scene on a rigid board. She spent months finalizing the piece of art. She removed signs and some cars to make everything come to life.

“The intrigue of where they are going is still true today. I make a story up for them – who are they, what are they doing, where are they going? They are all going somewhere,” shared Aitcheson.

The painting was on display during a local exhibit in October 2022. She said attendees were entertained and recognized the old train station. Perhaps, the viewers had waited for a train before, or were reminded of a similar scene. The local landmark can now be remembered through the lens of the artist and memories of those who experienced this station firsthand.

 

Headshot of Nancy AitchensonAbout the Artist

Nancy Aitcheson studied Studio Art and Design at Mott Community College, and Illustration and Graphic Design at Lansing Community College. After many college courses in studio art and graphic design, she attended art workshops to continue educating herself. She has had several years of formal fine art and graphic design training, but still considers herself self-taught.

Later, she worked as a full-time graphic designer at Michigan State University. Currently retired, her creative energy is devoted to still life paintings, people in everyday situations, interiors and plein air landscapes. She continues to work part-time as a graphic designer at Michigan State University’s Surplus Store and Recycling Center. Today, Nancy is an award-winning artist with multiple accolades. Visit her website at www.nancyaitcheson.com for more information.

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Angels of Lansing: How KCS Angels is Changing Lives

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Categories: Blog, Community

CATA’s mission is to meet the mobility needs of our region by providing innovative solutions in partnership with the communities we serve. That’s why CATA is proud to support KCS Angels’ mission to help people with disabilities enjoy safe, therapeutic recreation, physical activity and life skills development in an inclusive environment. In the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic, programs for adults with disabilities are underfunded and there is a greater need for programs such as the one KCS Angels provides. In light of this, CATA is showing support for KCS Angels by providing a donation of $2,500 for use toward Spec-Tran services for their members. We’ve provided this with hopes it can help the KCS Angels fulfill their passions with this noble cause.

CATA and KCS Angels standing with large donation check

“It's [this program] everything to me, I don't want to do anything else," said one of the KCS Angels founders, Tracy Smith "I've watched the Angels, all of them, bloom and become themselves." 

Tracy's brother-in-law Scott, and two other adults with disabilities were the co-founders and creators of KCS Angels, which is a registered nonprofit 5o1(c)3 in 2016, to help support peers with inclusive activities in the Lansing area. It was founded with ‘Angels’ as an acronym forming the organization's core values. 

Large group of smiling people sitting on bleachers together.

Attitude - we respect each other and recognize our differences without judgment.

Network - we are pursuing opportunities to strengthen our relationships with similar organizations in the community to build each other up.

Give - we believe in giving back to our community.

Empower - we believe all people have their own unique abilities, we want to be the vessel that helps support and empower everyone.

Love - all people need and deserve to feel valued, safe, and included in the community.

Support - our foundation is to support each other; we do that by listening to each other's needs and desires and incorporating that into our daily life and activities.

 

The daily activities that are provided by KCS Angels are run solely by volunteers.  Others that volunteer with Tracy have found the experience fulfilling, like KCS Angel Big Al, who explains what KCS Angels feels like to him. "Family, because of all these people around me. I don't have a family up in Michigan, so when Tracy came along and told me about KCS Angels a couple years ago at the workshop I used to work at, I asked if I could join. I'm proud to be an Angel because of Tracy and this program."

And for others, the value of KCS Angels is much simpler. "I just like helping people," said Kristin, co-founder and peer of KCS Angels. "We come here to see our friends, we have a good time." 

The purpose and guiding principles of this organization are something CATA deeply empathizes with, which is why CATA has donated $2,500 dollars to KCS Angels so they can provide Spec-Tran services for the members of the organization. [Spec-Tran] is CATA’s Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) complementary paratransit service for people unable to use CATA’s fixed-route system.

If you’re interested in learning more about KCS Angels or are interested in volunteering or donating, visit kcsangels.com to read more. If you’re also interested in finding out more about CATA’s services such as Spec-Tran and more, you can find it as well as service information, trip planning tools, and plenty more helpful service information at their website.

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