Whitmer proposes $26.2 million for new state park in Flint2 min read
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday unveiled her $26.2 million plan to create a new state park in Flint.
The plan would require legislative approval, and, if successful, would be funded in part by federal American Recovery Plan relief dollars. A news release also noted additional funding will be sought to bring the project to completion.
The governor previously announced her plan to spend $250 million of ARP funds to address state park upgrades.
If successful in her effort, the new state park would become Michigan’s 104th state park, and the first park in Genesee County managed by Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources. The new park would be sited on a former industrial site in Flint named Chevy Commons.
“Parks are pillars of our local communities and economies,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Through the pandemic, park attendance reached historic highs as people went outdoors to unwind and connect with their loved ones. That’s especially true in Michigan’s great cities, which have been disproportionately impacted by COVID. This new park in Flint is a multi-generational investment in the community that will support small businesses, create jobs, and give people a space to enjoy with friends and family.”
Conception of the Flint park is attributed to the DNR’s Public Land Strategy and a 2012 report by the Michigan Parks and Outdoor Recreation Panel. Both documents prioritized the e
The park fulfills elements of the DNR’s Public Land Strategy as well as the 2012 report of the Michigan Parks and Outdoor Recreation Blue Ribbon Panel. These documents championed more outdoor recreation opportunities easily accessible to urban areas in the state, identifying Flint specifically as one underserved community.
“We have long recognized the need to build quality recreational spaces closer to the state’s population,” Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief, said in a statement. “This plan answers that need by providing a park along the Flint River in the heart of the city, connecting citizens and neighborhoods to this natural asset. We look forward to working closely over the next few years with our partners in the City of Flint, Genesee County, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and throughout the community to fashion a park that will answer local needs and reflect a local vision.”
According to DNR statistics, 2020 state and local park visitation was 35 million in 2020, a 30% jump over the previous year.
The proposed park would encompass Chevy Commons and extend along the Flint River, connecting the park to neighborhoods and such institutions as the University of Michigan-Flint, Kettering University, the Flint Farmers’ Market, the Flint Cultural Center campus, and the Iron Belle Trail. Potential features of the park include playscapes, non-motorized trails, fishing platforms, and canoe and kayak launches.
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