The River Restoration Project will replace a dam and surround it with 80 acres of parks for hiking, biking, and recreation that includes paddling a thriving river.
During the summer of 2014, Phil Hagerman walked the Flint river with friend and Flint resident, Kathleen Gazall. They spoke of what the river could become if the dangerous Hamilton Dam was removed and replaced with a more naturalized river. That conversation continued with community partners who shared this vision and the River Restoration Project was born.
The River Restoration Project is a $37 million effort to replace Michigan’s most dangerous dam and surround it with 80 acres of parks for hiking, biking, and paddling.
“This grant from The Hagerman Foundation to the Flint River Corridor Alliance and the Flint River Watershed Coalition initiated the preliminary engineering design,” said Amy McMillan, director of Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission, who now manages the overall project.
“We knew we were taking a risk to grant dollars to a project like this, but knew the outcome was worth the risk,” said Phil Hagerman, president of The Hagerman Foundation. “We looked at other river restoration projects nationally and saw the economic development that resulted when communities embraced their rivers and natural resources. Supporting these types of projects is vital to the future of Flint and its residents.”
The project now has support from other nonprofit and government funding sources, including $7.6 million from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund; $5 million from the Flint-based C.S. Mott Foundation; $5 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation; $4.3 million from Michigan Department of Natural Resources; $3.5 million from the state’s Department of Environment Quality; $3 million from the Department of Natural Resources’ Grant Management Program, (approving the removal of the Hamilton Dam); and $1.4 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.