Transformation Of Chevy In The Hole Into Urban Park Called Chevy Commons Begins

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Transformation of Chevy in the Hole into urban park called Chevy Commons begins

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Print Email >Sarah Schuch | sschuch@mlive.com By Sarah Schuch | sschuch@mlive.com The Flint Journal

on March 27, 2015 at 4:25 PM, updated March 27, 2015 at 4:26 PM

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FLINT, MI - The transformation of the blighted Chevy in the Hole property into an urban park called Chevy Commons has officially started.

Work crews started Monday, March 23, bringing equipment out to the site, which holds a prominent place on the riverfront between downtown Flint and Kettering University.

"It's going to be exciting to see the progress on the site in the next couple of weeks. Construction work (will be) done to make sure the entire site is safe," said Flint Mayor Dayne Walling. "I'm not sure that many people have noticed work being done yet, but it's really going to pick up as the weather gets warmer."

Old wire fencing around the river has been taken down and soon a new wall and fence will be put up. Crews are working on sewer lines and filling in holes in the cement, said Cheryl McHallam, grants manager for Genesee County Land Bank.

The former General Motors industrial site is slated to become Chevy Commons -- a natural park along the Flint River that's expected to include wetlands, woodlands, grasslands and other green areas.

The Genesee County Land Bank and city of Flint, which owns the site, came together last year to draft a plan for the site, which served as the backdrop for the Sit-Down Strike of 1936-37.

Phase 1 of the project, which includes a green cap, trees, plants, some new fencing and the removal of fence around the perimeter of about 16 acres of land, is set to be completed by November, McHallam said.

Dirt should be brought in within a couple of weeks, she said. And the unwelcoming chain-linked fence around the project will be taken down once it's complete.

"The dirt will start coming on the site around the first or second week in April. You'll see a lot happening when the dirt starts coming in," McHallam said.

For years, the property has been the focus of discussion and blight elimination plans. In April 2014, the official plan for Chevy Commons was unveiled.

Phase 1 will cost about $1.8 million. A $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency paid for a draft plan, with the majority of the money going toward the upcoming construction. Between that and other funding, there should be about $500,000 left over after Phase 1 is complete, McHallam said.

Planners will then start thinking about what can be done with Phase 2, she said. The total project will transform 60 acres of Chevy in the Hole. The project will move along as funding is available, McHallam said.

See the complete plans here.

The EPA funds have been instrumental in creating a better environment for Chevy in the Hole, McHallam said. It's been a great opportunity, she said.

"Chevy Commons is going from a Brownfield eyesore to one of the most interesting urban parks in the state," Walling said.

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Source : http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2015/03/transformation_of_the_chevy_co.html

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