The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced recipients of its Michigan Spark Grants today, awarding $1 million to the City of Flint for development of the St. John Street Neighborhood Memorial Park on Flint’s north side.
This grant will support improved and accessible trails, repaving over 3.5 miles of the Flint River Trail, which runs through the park. A new playground, improvements to trail crossings at street intersections, repairs of seven existing scenic river overlooks, and a new parking lot will also be funded by the grant.
The City St. John Street Neighborhood Memorial Park is also supported by $250,000 from the City of Flint General Fund and $500,000 in City of Flint ARPA funds. The City was able to leverage these investments to attract additional grant funding for the park.
St. John Street Historical Committee has partnered with the city to develop a vision for the park, commemorating the neighborhood that was demolished to make way for I-475 in the early 1970s. The St. John Street neighborhood was a thriving, racially diverse, self-sustaining community, home to local businesses as well as families.
“We have a responsibility to reinvest in communities of color that were harmed through racist urban renewal practices, and we want to make sure we make those communities whole again,” Mayor Sheldon Neeley said. ”The St. John Street neighborhood holds a special place in our hearts and minds, and I’m thankful for this investment by the State of Michigan, especially during Black History Month.”
Mayor Neeley encourages the Flint community to continue to explore this important aspect of our local history by watching the St. John Street Oral History documentary series, produced by Sloan Museum of Discovery in collaboration with the St. John Street Historical Committee. Deepen your learning with a visit to Sloan Museum of Discovery’s Fair Housing, Neighborhoods & Interstates exhibit. General admission is free for Flint and Genesee County residents.