When one thinks of Lansing, the first thing that comes to mind may be the Capitol, government, places to eat, big buildings and fun bars … but not for Giselle and Ken Settimo. For the Settimos, Lansing exists on the waterways, and with the recent opening of Lansing Metro Marinas, the husband and wife duo are sharing their version of Lansing with the rest of us.
Open since June 29, Lansing Metro Marinas offers customers an opportunity to see Michigan’s capital by boat, a 28-foot pontoon boat to be exact. The boat goes from Old Town to Moore’s River Park, and the Red Cedar to Potter Park Zoo. Docked at the Lansing City Market, Monday through Friday, the boat can be chartered for half-hour lunch time and evening cruises for $4. Hour long waterway tours are available for $7 a person. On weekends, the boat is docked at The Grand Fish, a canoe and kayak rental also owned by the Settimos.
The boat is also available for private events, and comes loaded with a captain, deck hand, lighting, seating, a fridge for personal use and the ability to play music of your choice.
“The options are endless,” said Giselle Settimo, co-owner of Lansing Metro Marinas. “Anywhere from just a group of friends wanting to get together, to meetings, company outings, bachelor or bachelorette parties, birthday parties, Lugnuts games, fireworks, it’s really endless. We’re open to whatever people have in mind.”
“We enjoy outdoor activities, and we’ve always been inspired by Lansing because there are opportunities for new ideas here,” said Giselle. “People are welcoming and always trying new things, it’s a little bit different than most other markets.”
When traveling and experiencing different places, the Settimos came to the realization that Lansing was missing something and decided to take matters into their own hands by investing in their hometown.
“With our love for outdoor activities and the lacking of it in Lansing, if it wasn’t available we were going to do it ourselves,”
After meeting with Pat Gillespie, founder of Gillespie Group and allied Lansing visionary, the Settimos decided it was time to start making waves in order to provide Lansing with something new and exciting. Starting with the Grand Fish and expanding to Lansing Metro Marinas, a new spotlight has been placed on the Grand River and an opportunity for change has been opened.
“Especially with the stigma the Grand River has always had, to be able to really try and change that stigma is going to take a while,” said Giselle, “It’s going to take a while for change to happen, but that’s the idea.”
With the Grand River open for more entertainment and tourism, Giselle believes that Lansing Metro Marinas has a chance to improve Lansing today, and for the future.
“If we want people to stay in Michigan and in the area, they need to have something to do,” said Giselle, “Things to do when they come here, things to talk about, and just to be able to provide entertainment and a new way to educate youth. There needs to be more.”
The Settimos partnered with Impression 5 Science Center to provide tours to educate youth about Lansing’s natural ecosystem. Giselle hopes this will encourage young people to care more about Lansing and the Grand River.
“That’s [the] generation that we’re relying on. If they can’t be passionate about the river and keeping it clean and the wildlife there, then what do we have to look forward to?” she said.
Right now, the tours that are available to provide Lansing with a quick and spontaneous adventure, where tourists have the ability to see Lansing as a natural ecosystem, and the buildings become a backdrop.
“You see nature, and that’s it,” said Giselle when talking about the boat’s tour on the Red Cedar through Potter Park Zoo. “It doesn’t feel like you’re in a city at all.”
The business will be open seasonally, with Fall Color tours next season. Giselle hopes the future will bring more excitement to Lansing and its waterways, as well as more boats to their fleet and new routes.
“The ideal situation would be for the boat to be able to connect Lansing and East Lansing,” said Giselle. “That would be huge!”