Green Task Force
Minutes for May 21, 2015
MSU Detroit Center
3408 Woodward, Detroit MI 48201
Meeting brought to order: 3:15
Welcome / General Introductions
Planning and Development Dept. Update – (Maurice Cox – Director) (Powerpoint)
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
4 Days on the Job, Mr. Cox welcomes the group, he has worked in New Orleans for 3 years prior. Unification of Green and Sustainability is a value system that finds itself involved in projects, so he speaks on them from his work through the Tulane City Center, providing design services to those non-profits who could not otherwise have the funding to get.
He discussed the inner workings of his organization, Tulane Regional Urban Design Center in New Orleans and the facility itself. (http://architecture.tulane.edu/programs/tulane-regional-urban-design-center-trudc)
His Concept of Democratic Design Involves:
Mobilizing people to tackle tough challenges.
Giving the work back to the people directly affected.
Problem-solving according to their values
“Nothing about us without us is for us.”
Creating an environment which keeps distress within a productive range.
Strengthening a community’s problem-solving philosophy.
Tulane Lakes Design services out of the municipalities and into the neighborhoods.
We would like to do the for the City of Detroit; challenge: making the center community based and local
Framed as short termed actions.
Shows projects that operate in this context. They were solicited to the nonprofit community and they raised the money to receive the services.
1st- High rises in place of the old school.
Organization received information about preservation, landscape, real estate development, developers, zoning, and more.
The redevelopment plan became a collaborative effort that was civic groups plan as well as the city councils plan.
Lower 9th Ward Learning Center for Sustainable Engagement
Created in 4 phases with creating, building, park, linear walking trail
Start with process of engagement.
They took trips to see what other centers looked like, created the plan themselves.
Rezoned residential lots to one lot
Multi-million dollar project with 40 acre Retention Park
14 weeks produced a first phase place for initial contact
Circle Food Store
1st African American owned food store
9 years after Katrina, it was still not opened
It was a place of community and oasis in the food desert
Partnered with various organizations and received financing.
Magellan Street Garden
Chosen by community panel to be given $20,000 and students to aid,
Redesigned with retention ponds so that flooding would no longer be an issue
Now has 1st residential storm feature in New Orleans
Outdoor room provides for community gathering
Now creates raised beds for purchase and sells food to local restaurants.
Abandoned railway line with water channel underneath, so it is fenced in
New linear park will bring fence down.
Started with residence that wanted rain gardens, they gave courses and small grants to install rain gardens on their property.
Grow DAT Youth Farm
7 acres, urban farm that caters as after school leadership program
City rec allowed them to design this on former golf course.
2 year long project with multiple out door room with shipping containers for needed storage
Built by the students and occupied by 40 young people that grow and sell 60%, 40 % given away.
All workers make living wage,
Kids learn that design matters
50 people to pull it off
Experimenting with other things like flowers instead of just grass to add zero maintenance and maximum beauty to the area
He’s here in Detroit to help strengthen and support farming and the ‘green’ economy in the area.
Speaks about sustainability and beautification as a vision that is in reach.
Shows areas of other communities as vision of what can happen in Detroit, such as –
The Beltline Solar Community; the Solar Strain, North Cass Community Garden, Shenyang Architectural University Campus in China
Shows Blue Infrastructure Project in the neighborhoods around the world, esp. China
Thornton Creek water quality channel in Seattle
“People want to live next to water channels”
Transform Detroit into a natural habitat and plant as many trees as possible each year.
Q&A and Comments
Q- Jacob Corvidae states we have tons of projects but we struggle with the institutionalization of the projects wanted. What can be done?
A- We need a sustainability adoption from the public that would help craft the ordinances to put them into the structure of the government. You have a planning director now who gets it, so he wants the Task Force to know they have a ‘home’ in the planning department.
Asks the policy objectives of the group; set up time line and bench marks for all of the individual groups
We can get funding for multiple organizations united to get funding
He can go to EPA, Department of Agriculture etc. to get money for these if organizations go after federal grants as a collective.
Q- Simone Lightfoot of National Wildlife Federation asks, “Do you have the capacity to bring together the network that you speak of in order to get the funding?”
The narrative needs to be brought together.
A- He states: I am interested in whatever model that can be created that works, but he has 12 things to do with 12 people – capacity is not internally ready to deliver it. He can convene the environment and make it productive.
What do we have by September 1 to create this?
Discussion on who is qualified to create the shaped documentation.
Q- Lady from Creative Many – “What are your thoughts about using creative people outside of the scope of mentioned trades that may be willing to help?” and “Who in N.O. is watching you?”
A- Yes, there are many different organizations and non-profits that are interested in how artists can help. Uses example of artists with New Orleans who are using funding to move forward.
Q- Ernie Zachery – What is the cities role in moving toward sustainability?
A- There are council efforts that are needed within the government platform.
I used to advise mayors on these things, so I hope that the mayor looks to me for these things. He is optimistic
A- Response to Gentleman from G of D:
I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t see the document of Detroit Future Cities.
The idea has taken root and is commissioned under a different administration, and it is on all the planners’ desks; although not formally adopted, but it is guiding the big decisions that we make.
I wouldn’t be here if the community had not have created this work.
Q- Subcommittee has been working within the cities master plan; what are your feelings toward this master plan?
I want to do the master plan from the neighborhoods, not the one that is from the city.
I have a different model I want to give the mayor… run the master plan from the city center, but we need at least 5 centers due to the size of the city.
The challenge is what they would look like and how to achieve it; who to staff it, who the partners and organizations would be working within it. Putting it all together may require another 15 people and infrastructure with the goal being sometime in the fall – audience applauded.
Next meeting to be held on Thursday, June 18, 2015, 3:00 p.m.,
3408 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201, USA
(FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE, THE LAST SUB-COMMITTEE MEETING NOTES ARE ATTACHED AT THE END OF THIS DOCUMENT)
Sandra Yu –
Committee was formed last fall due to Detroit Environmental Agenda document.
The master plan is not strong on sustainability, so we are looking for rezoning.
Discusses the research done in other cities and what the other plans have that we do not in Detroit, overall, especially the inter twine of sustainability throughout the plan.
(Noted handouts of Key Concepts)
Melissa D.: Blue Green Infrastructure Sub Committee
Discusses birth of the committee in 2010
Created Water Agenda to look at what the various aspects of the water issues within the city and decided the recommendations of what was needed.
Priorities on policy and ordinances were researched and audited which was presented to many government officials last fall and are looking to move these forward.
Asks Councilman Benson for his support to share this documentation on storm water and its infrastructure needs.
No policy adopted on storm water but there is a draft made.
Other recommendations they are working on is a holistic approach to all infrastructure planning within committees.
Case studies will be created to present on cities that have not had infrastructure in place for awareness, what kind of connectivity is possible.
Looking for mapping projects for green infrastructure.
Presentations on all meetings on where green and sustainable projects are and what is being done.
Long term goal is city wide infrastructure plan within the entire city.
DWSD through their permit is spending 3 million per year to manage over 2 million gallons of storm water.
Mr. Cox – Resiliency Group, from City Hall and Detroit Future City is looking for multi-million dollar grant for blue infrastructure. They are obligated to spend 4 million on what the projects should and could be.
Looking for quick and immediate projects and answers as well as developers and investors that are doing things that are in line with the policies that you are asking for.
Could Councilman Benson become the liaison for the projects to the city?
Gary Wozniak –
We should have a seat at the table for the meetings that Mr. Cox is working with.
He states this is the first time he has heard of this committee and see if this is a possibility.
Benson states there are 2 committees; Mr. Cox believes there could be 2 seats at the table for this.
Good of the Order:
Is there an interest in going to San Francisco for a Site Visit for Green Infrastructure and Sustainability?
2 week in August, they are excited to host us and show what kind of progressive programs
Detroit Renewable Power is holding a meeting tonight
Detroit World Heritage Site discussed. Councilman asks for a meeting to discuss this.
Jacob Corvidae announces that Detroit has been chosen to participate in the Target Cities program from the national EcoDistricts movement. This will help bring technical assistance and resources to Detroit to help neighborhoods become green.
Collaborative effort with Sierra Club for Rain garden educational series starting in June
It is announced that Jacob Corvidae is moving to global think tank in Rocky Mountain Colorado.
The Task Force notes that we should do something special at the next meeting.
Friends of the Rouge Brew Cruise on the 18th of June
NEXT MEETING WILL BE:
June 18th, 3:00 – 4:30,
MI State University Detroit Center
3408 Woodward Ave. Detroit MI 48201
GREEN TASK FORCE – BLUE/GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE SUBCOMMITTEE
Melissa Damaschke, co-Chair, (Sierra Club), Eric Candela, co-Chair, (Greening of Detroit), Jodee Raines (Erb Family Foundation), Gary Stoll, Jr. (Detroit Water & Sewerage Department), Chris Cynar (Sustainable Water Works), Phil Hadley (42nd Parallel Group), Gary Wozniak (Recovery Park), Erma Leaphart (Sierra Club), Chris Dorle (Detroit Future City), Paul Max (Detroit Building Safety, Engineering and Environment Department)
Presentation – Eric Candela and Chris Dorle presented the policy recommendations the Healthier and Greener Detroit Workgroup made for how trees can be used throughout Detroit to improve public health conditions. Following the presentation Eric and Chris took questions from and engaged in discussion with other members of the subcommittee.
Updates on items of business discussed at the April 2015 meeting:
- Representatives from Tetra Tech are in the process of trying to schedule a joint meeting with Palencia Mobley of Mayor Duggan’s office and Councilman Scott Benson to stimulate dialogue between the council, mayor’s office and DWSD and to begin to familiarize Councilman Benson with the audit of ordinances affecting stormwater that Tetra Tech has completed.
- Councilman Benson has agreed to ask his colleagues on Council to consider adopting the ordinance revisions recommended in Tetra Tech’s audit of stormwater codes and ordinances. Councilman Benson has requested the subcommittee’s assistance in drafting the letter. ACTION – Melissa & Eric will draft the letter.
- Chris Cynar, Phil Hadley and Gary Wozniak agreed to collaborate in authoring a case study of the annual costs that DWSD will incur as a result of the fact that the newly built Meijer’s store at 6 Mile and Grand River does not have any green or blue infrastructure to help absorb and detain stormwater on its property. ACTION – They agreed to at least report on their progress at June’s meeting. Another by-product of this discussion was the suggestion that we invite Eric Larson to make a presentation at next month’s meeting about the on-site stormwater controls that will be included in the redevelopment of the Tiger Stadium site or Jeff Klein from Detroit Farm and Garden or a representative of Parkway Foods to make presentations about the green infrastructure each has installed. ACTION – Gary will contact Eric Larson. If Eric is unable to present at the next meeting, Melissa will contact Jeff and/or Parkway Foods.
- Melissa shared that Tetra Tech and DWSD are hosting a stormwater management workshop at the MSU Detroit Center on June 2nd from 10am to 2pm and that workshop attendees will be invited to participate in a subsequent working session on July 20th.
Review of remaining 2015 goals for the Blue/Green Infrastructure Subcommittee
a. We postponed discussion on the effect of runoff from urban agriculture until Khalil Ligon has had the opportunity to talk to Kathryn Underwood.
b. Discussion about mapping green infrastructure as suggested by Goal E was held. The different maps that have been researched as well as the parties interested either in doing the mapping or having the results was held. Khalil L. created a green infrastructure mapping tool comparison matrix. Eric and Melissa are meeting with Model D to further discuss its interest in hosting such a map. The sense was that more time and consideration were needed for some type of consensus to occur.
a. ACTION – Melissa & Eric will continue conversations with Model D.
b. ACTION – Jodee will contact SEMCOG to inquire about their mapping capabilities
c. The subcommittee also discussed how various city departments could be more actively engaged in finding ways to reduce the amount of stormwater coming off of Detroit’s streets. Suggestions included asking Palencia Mobley’s advice, sharing the Meijer’s case study being prepared by members of the subcommittee, determining if recommendations could be included in the Green Initiatives and Sustainable Technologies (GIST) plan being developed in accordance with the city’s charter or if there were suggestions the subcommittee could make to the departments as a means of facilitating their implementation.
a. ACTION – The subcommittee agreed to review the Detroit Water Agenda before discussing this goal further at next month’s meeting.
b. ACTION – Jodee will contact SEMCOG to learn if they plan to have a green infrastructure education workshop for city departments. (The last workshop they organized was scheduled on the city’s furlough day.)
c. ACTION – Paul will ask Rick for his thoughts on this goal, too.
d. After discussing both the need and ways in which public education campaign materials can be shared, it was agreed that the Sierra Club would initiate an email List Serve that would be branded as belonging to the Green Task Force. It was thought that this would be an effective way to share green/blue infrastructure information with those people and professionals who are most interested in it and to promote and enhance the Green Task Force’s reputation in the process.
a. ACTION – Melissa will confirm with Councilman Benson that Sierra Club should move forward to create the listserv.
e. Goal H is to develop an education guide for harvesting rain water at urban garden/agriculture sites.
a. ACTION – Erma Leaphart agreed to contact Kido Pielack at Keep Growing Detroit to find out the status of the guide he is developing.
f. It was also felt that the subcommittee should ask Rick Bowers for a status update on the development of the GIST plan in an effort to see how the subcommittee’s interest in promoting a watershed management approach for Detroit could be included in the plan. Currently, Rick is collecting existing “green” projects from all city departments before he moves forward to create a work group to write the GIST plan. It’s likely that the work group will be formed in July.
Following the announcement of a few upcoming meetings that are of interest to subcommittee members, the meeting adjourned.