Flint, Michigan, brownfield to become public green space

November 24, 2014

The brownfield site Chevy in the Hole in Flint, Michigan, will be transformed into an open community space with grassland, wetland, woodland and other natural environmental features for the enjoyment of local residents, according to local news source Michigan Live.

The former industrial site has an extensive history. Genesee County Historical Society President Dave White explained to the source that the land was once a sawmill and paper mill before it became the home of Flint Wagon Works in the 1880s, the first incorporated business in Michigan.

Decades later, General Motor's first ever engine was built on the grounds, which later became a sprawling production site with over 14,000 employees. The property eventually fell into disrepair and was torn down in 2004.

The approximately 60-acre space has since become an eyesore and environmental hazard, and volatile organic compounds and other contaminants first need to be addressed before the land can be returned to usable condition. The owners of the land, the Genesee County Land Bank, recently received a grant from the EPA to begin remediation, which will include a comprehensive soil cap. 

However, the Land Bank had decided to let the community decide the property's final form, holding a contest for the best idea for transforming the property for public benefit. There are currently 16 finalists, including Flint's own mayor Dayne Walling. A winner will be picked for each of four categories: growing the economy for the future, expanding opportunity for all, making government work better, and best public private partnership. The official plan will be announced on December 3.

Environmental consultants can offer key insight towards ensuring that the site reaches its full potential, and becomes an asset to the community.