Field Guide to Working with Lots Mini-Grant FAQs

November 14, 2017

The following questions were asked by participants at the two Working with Lots Info Sessions. If you need further clarification, please reach out to or feel free to attend one of the four upcoming info sessions.

What Date Location Time
Office Hours #1 Wednesday, November 1, 2017 Grand River Work Place 19120 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48223 2:30pm – 5:30pm
Office Hours #2 Thursday,

November 9, 2017

Focus: HOPE 1400 Oakman Blvd, Detroit MI 48238 10:00am-1:00pm
Office Hours #3 Wednesday, November 15, 2017 Detroit Future City Office 2990 W. Grand Blvd., Suite #2 48202 4:30pm-7:30pm
Office Hours #4 Thursday,

November 16, 2017

Eastside Community Network 4401 Conner St. Detroit, MI 48215 2:00pm – 5:00pm

December 4, 2017

Submittable, mail, or delivered to DFC 11:59pm
Status Notifications Second week of January Via Email
Grantee Orientation January 24, 2018 Detroit Future City Office 2990 W. Grand Blvd., Suite #2 48202 3:30pm -6pm
Technical Assistance February – ongoing To be determined
Grantee Convenings March, June, September To be determined

Is the PowerPoint presentation from past informational sessions online?

Yes, the presentation is available online. Visit our YouTube page to access the live recording of our latest information session.

How many grants will be awarded this year?

A total of ten grants will be awarded this year via two separate tracks – Community Track and Credit Track. The Community Track grant will issue four grants worth up to $6,500, with up to $5,000 dedicated to the lot design implementation and $1,500 for educational programming and lot maintenance. The Credit Track will issue 6 grants worth up to $13,000. Funds through the Credit Track will be allocated for lot design implementation, educational programming and lot maintenance.

What costs are included in the implementation portion of the grant?

Each design has a shopping list that breaks down necessary materials needed for a successful installation. Additional eligible costs include: site prep costs, rental costs for tools; hiring a contractor; stipends for volunteers or materials for volunteer days (water, snacks, gloves, etc.).

Does the mini-grant cover the cost of tree removal or other site preparation?

The grant does not cover large site preparation cost. Structure demolitions, removal of trees and other large-scale site preparation costs would be your responsibility to cover. However, basic site preparation like soil testing, grass removal or tools for cleaning debris would be permitted. Feel free to contact a DFC staff member for specific questions regarding your lot.

What costs are included in the educational programming portion of the program?

Educational programming cost may include flyers, signage, educational print out material and costs associated with the development of toolkits to help others learn and engage with your project and the Field Guide activation and events. Creativity is encouraged, but is subject to approval.

What costs are included in the lot maintenance portion of the program?

Maintenance costs may include any supplies you will need to care for your installation for years to come. Items such as lawn mowers, lawn trimmers, loppers, gloves, water catchment systems and rain barrels are some items that may be included. Keep in mind that it is typical to budget for replacement of 10% of plants installed. This cost would also be captured in your maintenance budget and plan.

What is the difference between Community and Credit Track grants?

The Community Track program is targeted for community groups that are looking to transform a vacant property in their neighborhood into an asset using the Field Guide. The Credit Track is targeted for non-residential entities that are looking to build their skills, transform the land on their property and use a stormwater management practice to capture stormwater runoff from their building and/or parking lot. To be eligible for the Credit Track, you must be a faith-based institution, business or non-profit that owns the property and the land that you are looking to install the lot design on, and be in the process or planning to begin the process of applying for a site assessment with the Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD). You must be looking to use one of the Field Guide designs as a starting point for improved stormwater management with the intent to qualify for a drainage fee credit with DWSD. “Stormwater Superstar” designs are highly encouraged as a starting point, but not required.

What is a “Stormwater Superstar” design?

“Stormwater Superstar” designs are those that are indicated to be the best stormwater management designs in the Field Guide. They are intended to have a higher impact for improving strowmwater runoff. To access the full list, use the sorting options on the Field Guide website or see the list below.

How do I qualify for the $13,000 or the Credit Track program?

If you are a business, non-profit or faith-based institution that is looking to reduce your drainage bill with Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD) using the field guide, then you may be a great candidate for this program. To make sure you are eligible, make sure to

  1. Attend office hours with DFC’s Stormwater Innovation Manager to review your site and provide you with technical assistance
  2. Set up a site assessment Detroit Water and Sewage Department (DWSD). The site assessment is targeted for nonresidential property owners that want to verify their parcel data, dispute their drainage charge or assess their property for a drainage charge credit?

If I am applying for the Community Track, do I have to complete a site assessment with DWSD?

If you are applying for the community track program, you should not complete the site assessment form with Detroit Water and Sewage Department. DWSD is only completing Site Assessments for nonresidential property owners that want to verify their parcel data, dispute their drainage charge or assess their property for a drainage charge credit.

Is the application available electronically?

Yes, the application is located on the Submittable website. You can go to the Field Guide website. You will need to establish a Submittable login name and password to access the application.

Can I save the application and return to it later in Submittable, the software that assists applicants with their submissions?

Yes. First, you create an account with Submittable and then save the document while editing and return to it anytime. You will only submit it once you have completed the application in its entirety. You can also upload your supporting files to Submittable and safely return to the application later.

What items should I bring with me to the DFC Office Hours? 

Office Hours are designed to assist applicants by answering questions and providing technical assistance. Please bring photos of your lot from at least two angles, along with basemap drawings. Walk-ins are welcome, appointments are preferred. Set appointments by completing this Doodle Poll:

There are four exercises in the Getting Organized (pages 18 – 32) section of the Field Guide that for the Credit Track you must have completed before you come. For the Community Track grant, is highly recommended and it will be helpful to complete the same assignments to assist you in having a successful application. If you need help on anything, then feel free to bring those questions to our office hours or call Sarah Hayosh at 313-499-3332.

Keep in mind that before application deadline, you must complete the “Know your soil texture” on page 26 and the “Know your soil moisture” on page 28 (or submit soil sample to DFC).

Doing all additional exercises on pages 7 – 39 is recommended to inform your project and create a stronger application.

If I don’t belong to a community group or block club, am I eligible to apply for the mini-grant?

Talk to your district manager about connecting with existing community groups in your area.  If your group doesn’t have an official status, then you can provide documentation that shows you are an active community group. Accepted documents include: a list of events, sign-in sheets, minutes and a list of your board members.

Do I need a fiduciary to apply for the grant?

Yes, the group or organization you are applying on behalf of needs to have 501c3 status or you need to connect with another 501c3 that is willing to be a fiduciary for the grant on your behalf. If you need help finding a fiduciary, contact DFC as soon as possible and we may be able make some suggestions.

If I have multiple lots I want to improve, then can I get a grant for each lot?

No, you would only be eligible for one grant, which you could use on multiple lots if it is appropriate for the design you choose and the budget allows.

Can the mini-grant be used to install a lot design for a project that involves a larger vision for my lot?

Yes, you can incorporate the Field Guide designs to complement a larger vision or an existing project on your lot. Alterations to the lot design are also permitted, however, you must keep to the original spirit and intent of the Field Guide design. Technical assistance can help you think through how to mend your full vision and ensure the original intent of the lot design is not lost.

What happens if you already have materials (soil, plants) to put toward the lot design? Can the project be funded by other sources in addition to the DFC grant?

The application asks that you describe anything that is already in place, such as additional funding already secured, prep work completed, volunteers and other elements, which helps demonstrate your group’s readiness. Additional funding can be utilized to make the scale of the lot design larger or implement the your overall vision of the lot.

Who is responsible for maintenance of the lots after the lot design is implemented?

Once you or your community organization has purchased the lots or received permission to use them, you assume full responsibility for the maintenance and upkeep of the property.

What’s the best way to water the plant material on my lot?

Plant material much be watered regularly for at least the first two years after installation before it becomes established. Keep Growing Detroit (KGD) will be doing trainings for grantees on how to water and maintain their lot designs. DFC is also working with KGD to address legal and safe water access options. As part of the trainings, we will address these issues and discuss best practices for water conservation. Be mindful of your water situation as you are thinking about which lot design(s) to choose for the grant.

What if I want to repurpose the lot? How long must I keep the lot design intact?
There are no rules regarding the exact longevity of the project, however, a preference will be given to projects that are intended to be long lasting or permanent.

Are there any permits required for this project?

Permitting is on a case-by-case basis. In most cases, implementation of a Field Guide design does not currently require a permit, but if any questions arise, then we will work through the technical assistance process to make sure the implementation is in alignment with city codes and policies.


Can I implement the lot design project on property that I don’t own? What if it is owned by the Detroit Land Bank Authority (DLBA) or the City of Detroit Planning and Development Department (PDD)?

Either you or your fiduciary must own the vacant lot or be in the process of purchasing or leasing it from the DLBA or PDD.  If it is currently owned by the DLBA, you must already be in the process of acquiring the property through their side-lot program or community partnership program. There is a leasing program through the DLBA currently under development. Contact Darryl Earl at DLBA, for more information. Another option would be to connect with a non-profit organization that is already a DLBA community partner to purchase a DLBA property.  A full list of organizations that are DLBA community partner can be found at:

If the lot is currently owned by PDD, you must have an official letter of permission to lease the lot or be in the process of purchasing it from PDD. For more information on those processes, see this link:

Where can I get more information on purchasing property through the  Detroit Land Bank Community Partnership program?

How much does it cost to purchase a Detroit Land Bank Authority owned-lot for this project?

Contact Darryl Earl at DLBA to determine the availability and cost of the lot you wish to acquire.

If there is dumping on a parcel of land being purchased from the Detroit Land Bank who is responsible for removing these items?

If there is dumping on a DLBA-owned lot that you are proposing to do a project on you can contact the Detroit Landbank through the web or through our general number 313.974.6468 to report that there is debris that is causing a nuisance to the community and that will fall to the DLBA property maintenance team.


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