Green Task Force Meeting Minutes For January 21, 2016

Michigan State University Detroit Center

3408 Woodward Ave.

Detroit MI 48201


3:00  Welcome

3:05  Introductions

3:10  META Expo Development at the State Fairgrounds – Beth Hagenbuch and Ken Weikal

3:50  Subcommittee Updates

4:05  Good of the order

Call to Order – 3:11

Speaker METAexpo Development at the State Fairgrounds –

Beth Hagenbuch and Ken Weikal

Lafayette Greens Award winning gardens by Westin Hotel

Kresge Award Winners

Introduction to master plan made State Fair Grounds Development Coalition

157 acres owned by the public?

Asked to create a vision for the area with

Advocates for Detroit Future City; their ideas to be placed into the area

A teachable Historic area would maintained within the space along with:

Sustainable Green Development

Walkable Urbanism and Complete Streets

Information also utilized from Data Driven Detroit

The document given won a mission ALA award as a graphic representation that could be given to other agencies and municipalities

The main reason they are presenting is that the groups they represent had heard that the city planning office will be holding community meetings to get ideas. “We would like you to attend and be vocal about your ideas and we would like to have the information shared.”

Key Assets of the property:

  • Placemaking
  • Transit
  • History
  • A Single Parcel New Economy
  • This one parcel is the size of Midtown
  • Mixed use area instead of general ‘suburban’ type of area development was asked for

Shows handout:

Woodward Avenue Action Association gave credible numbers of the lifestyle along Woodward

Imagine this as Uptown; the interface of the city and suburbs

From the Handout: 

METAexpo is a citizens led vision and conceptual master plan for 21st century transit and economic development at the Michigan State Fairgrounds, in response to the current Big Box Shopping Center development proposal at this historic property. It is a visual communication of the collective ideas of community members and a request for public sector participation and planning for our shared future.

Constant Expo of Green and Blue Technology; a New Detroit Future City within this area

Regional Impact

Opportunities for Place Making – a place for development – a district, a corridor; the MEDC says, a place where entrepreneurs are developing areas of growth, a place that exists, or has iconic architecture or history within in as a center or focus area

State fair was always under the states control, but since then, this CENTER OF EVERYTHING has lots of opportunity for transit centering, created new economy and global opportunities-

Peter – The development of this area is happening NOW

A great place to hook this area to the rest of the transit community – these rights of way have to be insured, otherwise there will never be a good connection between bus and rail systems.

Shows Graphic in detail

This type of idea for mixed use in an area, there are several types of federal funding many times over, especially when backed by the community.

Q- Is there still the possibility of a Wayne State Community College Representation?

A.- There is all kinds of room; almost anything anybody would like to place upon it could be represented

Beth – Talked about the development of something meaningful meant a community and the ideas of many organizations.

Developers can be sharing when they are creating the online space; it’s a lot bigger than just relying on one developer to create this; it should be shared by the developers that create mixed use spaces

Q.- What is the point of entry for the ‘world’ to see this area, especially when it comes to transit to and from the airport

A.-  One idea is – Fly in to the airport, have the bus or train come through directly to the center, and then transit goes up and down Woodward

Could get the Big 3 to collaborate to create outreaches to other areas of the suburbs

Q.- Is anything started yet?

  1. (Katherine) Mr. Cox is taking a very fresh look at the area, as well as community engagement. There are no plans to break ground at this point. In regards to this, the next person to get the information on how the community is going to be a part of that is to talk to Mr. Cox

Peter – The community group has asked us to invite you to the discussion

Katherine- Waste Man. – There was a man from Canada who also explained that this is a part of an important piece of history; including the Seabiscuit story – the this is the area when all of the parties met that had to do with the success of that story.

Benson – Next steps?

This was initiated by the community groups that have been looking for development for the past 20 years. Nothing will happen unless the people and organizations that have a voice or interest in what this will be or what can happen speak up in support of the project.


  • Karen Hammer is the president of the community group; she would be the contact 200-300 people on their mailing list

Contact for further information is Karen Hammer, President SFDC

Notes from the Zero-waste subcommittee  – Melanie Berkowitz? SP? from Zero Waste Detroit, asked to head new subcommittee – not just public works, but having businesses engaged in composting and food waste, strategic thinking about zero-waste

Talked about the San Francisco trip we took in November and the energy ideas that came out of it. 14 members went to San Francisco to see what type of initiatives they are doing, very diverse city in all ways.

In the 1990s the city took on the task of being leaders in stormwater, it took a lot of hard work. They are the gov. arms and administration – their colors and sizes are different

state support for funding green corporations

There are incentives to have citizens recycle, (our statistics: 13% participation in city recycling in Detroit). The suggestion was that people must be TOLD to do it by the government; in the city projects are implemented by communication with people within the diverse neighborhoods that put up the communication pieces and the conversations are created and implemented

Council President, Brenda Jones is now the face of recycling in Detroit. She will be doing this city wide.

PSA coming soon, need to prioritize the contracts and taking people to SF helped get city on board to get the strategy created and implemented.

Looking at goals: in 2 years we want this amount of waste diverted to get to 60% as opposed to 13% of people in the area to participate in the recycling program.

Melanie’s team is to develop the plan and is looking for volunteers to assist and to think about recycling in institutions, landlords on board, etc.

This committee will have funding to help develop these structures for the city

The ask for volunteers

Kathy – WM – Keep Detroit Beautiful may have funding or volunteers as well as Keep America Beautiful non-profit as a funding aid

Peter – is the program citywide?

Melanie – Yes, since winter of 2014 – $25.00 one time fee

District 7 had a successful event at Don Bosco, which showed a lot of interest in the program.

Educational component has not happened as well

Outreach events can be found on their website

Q.- Irma – when are meetings?

A. – not yet, but Melanie will send sign up sheet around for interested parties

Blue green subcommittee report:

IRMA – Author of Reimagining Detroit City, writer Brundage spoke at their last meeting about many of the things they spoke of including food security and development, soil testing, urban land trust, reforestation,

Brief Notes from the GREEN TASK FORCE Blue/Green Infrastructure Subcommittee

Meeting on January 19, 2016

  1. This past Tuesday, we hosted John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press reporter and author of “Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City.”

Mr. Gallagher discussed his observations on what he called a “breakthrough” of seeing acceptance in the last ten (10) years of viewing vacant land as an asset versus a liability.

Specifics mentioned include:

  • Growth of urban gardeners/urban agriculture (now 1000+ urban gardens, Recovery Park,  Indoor growing, large scale growing, vertical agriculture, jobs and tax base with such)
  • Soil quality was discussed as an impediment  and something to work towards solutions
  • Urban Land Trusts (e.g. Dan Kildee in Flint)
  • Mentioned “Lawn Guru” an on demand grass cutter and spoke of potential for such a business related to Green Infrastructure
  • Trees and agriculture now more acceptable (mentioned Reforestation project in the Fitgerald, Herman Keifer community(s) – 30,000 trees in ½ sq. mile; and Hantz Woodlands)
  • Also mentioned Blue Infrastructure specifically the proposal to daylight Bloody Run Creek
  • Movement on complete streets e.g. protected bike lanes on East Jefferson and the 200 miles of bike lanes now in Detroit
  • City of Detroit or municipal buildings as pilot green infrastructure sites or sites that implement a variety of green infrastructure as a model

Ended discussion with an invitation to contact him with GI projects

  1. Discussed a revised mission statement for the subcommittee.

Members were to review and send their ideas and suggestions

  1. Ideas for future speakers and/or topics
  • City of Detroit Land Bank
  • Detroit Future City
  • Maurice Cox, Detroit Planning Department Director
  • Introduce developers to GI
  • Connect City of Detroit to national networks e.g. Urban Sustainability Directors Network
  • Defining GI, common messaging

Next Meeting: February 25, 2016

Michigan State University Detroit Center 3408 Woodward Ave. Detroit MI 48201