Saginaw, Michigan heeds 9th-grader’s plea to repurpose ugly parking lot into nature park

In Saginaw, Michigan, plans to convert a large, crumbling, unused parking lot into a new public park connected to a regional trail network along the Saginaw River are moving forward, thanks to the Saginaw Public School District, which owns the lot.

The ugly lot will be “taken back to a totally natural state,” according to Zachary Branigan, executive director of the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy (SBLC), which will oversee the restoration and repurposing of the land.

The SBLC helps to preserve land and water quality across the Saginaw Basin with 84 current conservation project sites. They includes 9 public nature preserves, 71 privately owned conservation easements, and 4 outdoor recreation project sites. The SBLC owns and maintains 10 nature preserves that are open to the public, dawn until dusk, every day of the year.

Plans for the parking lot recovery, slated for completion in 2017, include river access, signs, thousands of native plants and a new section of paved trail to expand the city’s riverfront trail system.

Current ninth-grade student Brandon Terry, 15, read board members a statement he prepared in advance. “This park comes at no cost to the district for construction or maintenance, thanks to the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy and their many philanthropic and community partners,” Terry said. “Now, instead of a cracked, unusable eyesore of a parking lot covered with weeds, rubble and garbage, we at SASA, and all of the people of Saginaw, can have a wonderful park built and maintained at no cost to our schools, citizens or government.

Branigan the estimated cost is between $150,000 and $175,000, which has already been raised.

Photo via Google Maps.

See full MLive article by Bob Johnson.

See Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy website.

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