Flint Public Art Project, Spencer’s Art House leadership changes in Carriage Town
By Lori Nelson Savage
The February meeting of the Carriage Town Historic Neighborhood Association focused on a review of the community improvement projects affecting the area. Projects discussed included Chevy Commons, Hamilton Dam, Spencer’s Art House, the Statue Garden and a Carriage Town Flea Market.
Chevy Commons project progreses
CTHNA president Michael Freeman said the Genesee County Land Bank and the City of Flint are working together to turn the former Chevy in the Hole site into a natural park along the Flint River. The park will include wetlands, woodlands and other green areas, which will form a vegetative cap.
Freeman explained the public park will have looped walking paths surrounded by low-maintenance plants. According to Freeman, the plant life will help filter and clean the contaminated soil left after the removal of the Chevrolet Flint Manufacturing complex.
Hamilton Dam study reviewed
Janet Van De Winkle, Director of the Flint River Corridor Alliance presented the results of an engineering study displaying a safe and controlled method of removing the Hamilton and Fabri Dams.
The study includes a plan to replace the dams with a series of rock rapids each with a one-foot drop, which will create small rapids available for recreation. The design also takes access into account – creating areas to put in kayaks and canoes.
According to Van De Winkle, if the funding were all in place, the project could be complete in eight months. Project directors are still seeking State and Federal funding.
Zacks steps down
Freeman announced news affecting Spencer’s Art House, formerly Spencer’s Mortuary. He said Stephen Zacks has stepped down as executive director of the Flint Public Art Project, and Carriage Town Historic Neighborhood member Joe Schipani,was named interim director.
Spencer’s Art House is an alternative art space and design incubator situated on the edge of downtown Flint. Carriage Town owns the building and has partnered with the Flint Art Project.
“After working so hard to keep this project alive,” Freeman said, “We are very optimistic that something will happen here.” Freeman continued, “We are conceptually looking at something that’s bigger than one house – a bigger plan that might include residence and sales space. We need something great to happen over there.”
Statue Garden improvements eyed
Statue Garden is located at the river entrance to the Carriage Town neighborhood. David White, a Carriage Town resident, asked if a flagpole could be put in the middle of the garden. He also asked if neighbors would contribute flowers to put around it. Freeman said it was beautiful until the weeds took over. This year, the group will put down a weed barrier before planting flowers to help reduce maintenance of the garden. Freeman said, “now that they have fixed and opened the bridge it will be a beautiful gateway into the neighborhood.”
Carriage Town Flea Market
The neighborhood association is planning to open a flea market in Carriage Town held on the 1st Saturday of each month. Freeman said he would like to see musicians, food trucks and a variety of artists selling their products. He suggested the group hold one or two flea market events this year to see how it goes. Yasmin Ladha, board member, offered to chair this project. Further information will be available on the CTHNA Facebook page.