DFC Awards Nearly $100k to Help Detroiters Revitalize Vacant Land | Introduced New Stormwater Credit Track

January 16, 2018

Detroit – Detroit Future City (DFC) has awarded grants to 10 grassroots organizations amounting to $97,500 to help implement lot designs from the organization’s Field Guide to Working with Lots. The mini-grant program, in its third year, introduced a new aspect to the program to build the capacity of non-residential building owners to manage stormwater runoff on their properties.

In the last three years, DFC has helped seed a total of $227,500 into the hands of Detroiters to help them transform their neighborhoods through this program.

“Every year, DFC seeks ways to adapt the Field Guide to Working with Lots Mini-grant Program. This year we are proud to expand our grants to support non-profits, churches and businesses that are using the Field Guide to manage stormwater and help them apply for a credit on the City’s drainage charge,” says Anika Goss-Foster, DFC executive director. “DFC aims to encourage and empower Detroiters with information and resources. The Field Guide Mini-Grant Program is one tool we can use to help improve quality of life in our city.”

The mini-grant program was launched after the release of DFC’s Field Guide to Working with Lots in 2015 and aims to accelerate vacant land revitalization in Detroit by providing the necessary funds and technical assistance to help implement affordable and actionable projects from the Field Guide’s 35 lot designs. The Field Guide offers step-by-step instructions, guidance and resources to transform vacant land into a variety of landscapes, including comprehensive, easy-to-follow directions available online at www.dfc-lots.com and a complimentary, printed workbook available at DFC’s office.

DFC received 38 applications from a variety of grassroots, community and faith-based organizations across the city of Detroit for two grant options: The Community Track and Stormwater Credit Track. Similar to the program structure last year, five grantees for the Community Track will be awarded up to $6,500 to transform vacant land in their neighborhood. Funds are allocated for installation, maintenance, programming, and related educational materials.

This year, DFC introduced a new component to the Working with Lots mini-grant program called the Stormwater Credit Track. The Stormwater Credit Track is for businesses, faith-based institutions or nonprofit organizations to install green stormwater infrastructure projects to manage runoff and apply for Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) drainage charge credits, as well contribute to environmental sustainability, community education and neighborhood beautification.  Five grantees will be awarded up to $13,000 to implement Field Guide lot designs.

Through the implementation process for the Stormwater Credit Track, some of DFC’s Field Guide lot designs will be amended to maximize their stormwater management capability. This will also better serve the needs of future implementers who want to apply for a DWSD drainage charge credit. A portion of the Stormwater Credit Track funds will be allocated toward maintaining the stormwater-focused lot designs to make sure they perform as intended for years to come.

“We have 1.78 acres of land and 80 percent of it is impervious,” says Robert Brooks, Oak Grove AME Church Board of Trustees member. “With the revised stormwater drainage charge, we’re paying $900 a month and that’s a huge hit to our budget. DFC’s Field Guide Mini-Grant Program gives us an opportunity to be better land stewards, as well as take advantage of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s drainage charge credit program.”

Below is a complete list of recipients and their projects:

Community Track Grantees

Canfield Consortium, which is planning to implement the “Four Seasons” Field Guide lot design on the east side of Detroit:

The Canfield Consortium is committed to redeveloping and engaging the East Canfield community located on the lower east side of Detroit. The organization will install the Four Seasons lot design to create a deeper sense of community and be a catalyst for future revitalizations efforts.

Holy Temple Church of the Loving God W.C., Inc, which is planning to implement the “Party Lot” Field Guide lot design on the west side of Detroit: 

Holy Temple Church of the Loving God W.C., Inc is a faith based organization, on Detroit’s west side, focused on cultivating opportunities for intergenerational collaboration and engagement. They operate several programs in the community, including food assistance and afterschool programming for at risk children ranging from ages four to 19 years old. They plan to integrate the lot design to enhance their senior recreation space.

Yorkshire Woods Community Organization, which is planning to implement aQuiet Remediator/Native Butterfly Meadow” Field Guide combination on the east side of Detroit:

The Yorkshire Woods Community Organization will implement a combination of two lot designs that will assist with the chemical stabilization of lead in the soil by adding soil amendments and help capture, hold and absorb stormwater, while offering a colorful garden setting. The organization looks to maintain and build on the positive momentum of their neighborhood and continue to set precedent for a distinctly positive neighborhood aesthetic, while making stormwater remediation a priority.

Midwest Civic Council of Block Clubs, which is planning to implement a “Paisley Patch/Urban Edge” Field Guide combination on the west side of Detroit:

The Midwest Civic Council of Block Clubs will implement a combination of two lot designs that will create an inexpensive, diverse and aromatic groundcover. This will also help prevent illegal dumping by creating a planted visual barrier between the road and the lot. They are excited to implement a lot design that will be a tool to build community capacity and instill an increased sense of pride in the neighborhood.

North End Neighborhood Patrol, which is planning to implement the “Friendly Fence” Field Guide lot design on the east side of Detroit:

The North End Neighborhood Patrol will implement a lot design that will spawn a colorful rain garden, while also implementing a practical stormwater solution. The lot design will serve as a component of their safe routes to school pathways and a learning lot for youth to interact, engage and understand more about their environment.

Stormwater Credit Track Grantees

Southwest Detroit Business Association, which is planning to implement a bioretention basin on the west side of Detroit:

Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA) is a coalition of businesses and community interests committed to facilitating the continuation and enhancement of a stable, economically healthy Southwest Detroit. SDBA has been working on a strategy for shared stormwater management amongst multiple properties on their block. The Working with Lots Mini-Grant will go towards implementing the first phase: a bioretention basin, or large engineered rain garden which will beautify an adjacent commercial alley and capture stormwater runoff from their building. This project will serve as a pilot for other businesses on the West Vernor Street corridor.

Oak Grove AME Church, which is planning to implement the “Stormwater Cistern” Field Guide lot design on the west side of Detroit:

Oak Grove AME Church will implement a lot design that will collect stormwater runoff from the church roof into an above ground cistern and then re-use the water to irrigate the church’s landscaped property. Oak Grove seeks to serve as a stormwater management model and share its learning and provide design support to the network of AME churches in Detroit.

AJOM Architecture, which is planning to implement a “Ring Around the Garden/Stormwater Cistern” Field Guide combination on the west side of Detroit:

AJOM Architecture will implement a lot design that will manage stormwater runoff from the building roof through a small cistern and large rain garden installation. The company and its community partners have improved several vacant lots next to the commercial building and organized free concerts and movie screenings, and plan to improve the park with additional landscaping and programming.

PizzaPlex L3C, which is planning to implement a modified “Stormwater Cistern” Field Guide lot design on the west side of Detroit:

PizzaPlex L3C is a community pizzeria, coffee shop, bar and event space in Southwest Detroit with plans to create an engaging, interactive outdoor space that can serve as an educational demonstration site for green infrastructure. The Working with Lots Mini-Grant will be used to implement a modified Stormwater Cistern Lot Design, where rainwater from the building’s roof will be directed into underground chambers and slowly infiltrate into the site’s sandy soil. A portion of the water will also be reused to irrigate a pizza herb garden.

YAW Associates, which is planning to implement both the “Stormwater Cistern” Field Guide lot design and a bioretention basin on the east side of Detroit:

YAW Associates will implement a lot design that will capture stormwater runoff from the adjacent commercial roof and irrigate its mini-farm and will also build a bioretention basin that will manage roof and parking lot runoff. It will create more curb appeal and serve as an educational hub for the Islandview community.

Last year, DFC awarded grants to 10 Detroit grassroots organizations and faith-based institutions to implement lot designs that transformed vacant land into green infrastructure and activated community spaces. The organizations that came together to implement lot designs that beautified vacant lots in their neighborhoods include: O’Hair Park Community Association, Mack Avenue Community Church Community Development Corporation and GenesisHOPE Community Development Corporation.

For more information about the lot designs of last year’s mini-grant winners, visit our website. For more information about the Working with Lots Mini-Grant Program and its winners, connect with Detroit Future City on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #dfclots.

If you would like to support our land stewards, donate to DFC’s Field Guide to Working with Lots.

The Working with Lots Mini-Grant program is funded by The Kresge Foundation, whose mission is to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grant-making and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit.

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