Community Foundation awards Greening of Detroit funds for greenway maintenance

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Development News - Model D

"Build them and they will come" turns out to be not quite enough for greenways. Bike lanes and pedestrian walkways require maintenance and community buy-in to be successful, which is exactly what a $147,000 grant to Greening of Detroit from the GreenWays Initiative of the Community
Foundation for Southeast Michigan aims to ensure.

The GreenWays Initiative has been a major funder and facilitator for Detroit's greenways network. This grant funds a pilot program that will focus on three Detroit greenways that are already partially complete: the Conner Creek Greenway, Southwest Detroit-Dearborn Greenway and the Lyndon Greenway.

In partnership with community organizations -- the Detroit Eastside Community Collaborative, Southwest Detroit Business Association and Northwest Detroit Neighborhood Development -- Greening will develop maintenance routines and will work to cultivate community stewardship by
organizing educational activities, service projects and general outreach. A maintenance crew of four will collect litter, sweep trails, cut grass, water and weed on a regular, 10-day rotation. Special needs will be addressed monthly, which could include projects such as pruning, planting, repairs, addressing illegal dumping or graffiti removal.

In addition to maintenance, the grant will help organizations hold programs, classes and events. A surveillance plan involving local businesses and community residents also is being considered.

Tom Woiwode, director of the GreenWays Initiative, says "maintenance" is much broader than the word's strict definition. "When thinking about it, think about it as evolving maintenance activity into a far more important engagement activity: a neighborhood's connection to its greenway," he says.

The Detroit Greenways Coalition hopes the pilot maintenance program can be replicated to maintain all future greenways.