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From vacant lot to rain garden, Flint finds ways to fluorish

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

It’s just another forgotten vacant lot in Flint.

But starting this weekend, 2920 Lewis Street will begin transforming intoa rain garden.

“This particular location falls into this new zoned ‘green innovation’ area, which is looking at productive use of vacant land,” says Kevin Schronce, a senior Flint city planner.

Finding a way to use thousands of vacant lots in Flint is a key mission in the city’s recently enacted master plan.

One idea is to turn some of them into rain gardens.

A rain garden combines select plants and landscaping to capture rain water.

“It keeps it on site and cleans it naturally, recharges it back into the ground as opposed to being discharged immediately into the river or running down the street,” says Schronce.

That may take some pressure off Flint’s aging stormwater system.

In the long term, Flint’s plans for future rain gardens will depend on the people who live near them. The city is looking to partner with neighborhood groups to help maintain them.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.