Michiganders love our pleasant peninsulas. When asked why we stay in Michigan, our citizens point to our beautiful natural environment, recreational opportunities, and vital communities. Investment in environmental and recreational infrastructure creates jobs, improves our communities, and protects our residents and our Pure Michigan.
In his January 1998 State of the State address, Governor John Engler announced a $675 million bond to create new funding for environmental protection, parks, and recreation. The Clean Michigan Initiative (CMI) bond passed with overwhelming support – 63% voted in favor of the bond. For 20 years, the CMI has supported the state of Michigan’s investment in
- Brownfield redevelopment, environmental cleanup, and waterfront revitalization
- Protecting and enhancing Michigan's lakes, rivers, and streams
- Improving and enhancing state and local parks and recreational opportunities
- Pollution prevention
- Protecting the public from lead hazards
Our citizens, our economy, and our environment have all benefited from the CMI.
CMI dollars helped the DEQ remove or reduce contamination at hundreds of contaminated urban and rural sites across the state. Some sites were highly contaminated and needed immediate action; others were less contaminated, but were prioritized by communities for redevelopment.
Once crowded with factories and warehouses, by the early 2000s much of the industrial Detroit riverfront was abandoned and no longer served either industry or downtown businesses. Public access to the river was limited. Detroit’s renaissance would be incomplete without improving the downtown riverfront for public access and events. The city would need to demolish vacant industrial sites, relocate cement silos, and redevelop vacant riverfront property.
DEQ CMI dollars paid for demolition and cleanup at the old cement silos. Once the riverfront was cleared, revitalization could begin. The DEQ awarded the city a CMI Waterfront Redevelopment Grant to demolish crumbling infrastructure and build a pedestrian walkway with railings, lighting, landscaping, and street furniture. The new 3.5-mile Riverfront Promenade links popular destinations such as Cobo Center, the Dequindre Cut Greenway, the Veterans Memorial, and Hart Plaza with other non-motorized trails. The DNR built the state’s first urban state park on the riverfront, followed by an Outdoor Adventure Center. Orleans Landing, a residential development, was built on an adjacent brownfield site with the help of another CMI brownfield grant. Three million people a year now visit the riverfront for everything from tai chi to the Taco Festival. (Photos from the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy)
An abandoned gasoline filling station and service garage in Oscoda was redeveloped into an office building with help from CMI. The filling station’s leaking underground storage tanks contaminated the soil and groundwater with gas. Groundwater contaminated with petroleum was migrating into the nearby AuSable River. The former owner’s lack of action left the DEQ with responsibility to evaluate the environmental condition and clean up contamination. The DEQ paid for investigations, cleanup, demolition, and underground storage tank removal. Oscoda Township helped pay for abandoned underground storage tank removal. The DEQ continues to monitor the groundwater contamination. A small office building now houses Edward Jones Investment Advisors.
The Great Lakes define more than Michigan’s shape. Our economy, our natural resources, and the health of our citizens all rely on our supply of clean, fresh water. Protecting our water is our greatest obligation. Under CMI
Arcadia Creek Watershed:
Storm water controls installed in Kalamazoo’s Arcadia Creek Watershed reduced phosphorus in Lake Allegan by 39 percent and sediments by 35 percent. Algal blooms – fast-growing algae that can be toxic – decreased when the controls were built. CMI Nonpoint Source grants were used in combination with other funding to install erosion controls at several locations in the watershed. The stone structure pictured below controls erosion at the Western Michigan University campus.
Preventing pollution means we all spend less on cleanup later on. The DEQ is committed to help businesses find ways to operate efficiently and with less pollution. We all win when our businesses and environment are more sustainable. The CMI helped the DEQ
R&R Ready Mix:
Saginaw-based, family-owned R&R Ready Mix borrowed $400,000 from the DEQ’s small business pollution prevention revolving loan fund. The company built closed-loop wash water recycling systems for cement truck washing at its Hemlock and Clio locations, and a dust collection system for the cement truck loading area at the Clio facility. R&R Ready Mix reduced water consumption from 2,100,000 gallons per year to 1,475,000 gallons; eliminated 625,000 gallons of liquid industrial waste annually; and decreased truck cleaning chemicals by 50 percent. R&R’s improvements helped their bottom line and the environment.
Families camp and hike through our woodlands and picnic in community parks. Anglers head to our waterways for the opening day of trout season. Hunters wait, watchful for a pheasant or buck. Skiers and snowshoers enjoy the quiet and solitude of a snow-covered trail. What would Michigan be without our parkland? Under CMI, the Department of Natural Resources
Mt. Pleasant Riverwalk Trail:
Clean Michigan Initiative funding is credited with propelling the Mt. Pleasant park system into the modern era. “The initiative helped kick-start the development of our park system at the start of the new millennium,” said Chris Bundy, parks and public spaces director for the City of Mt. Pleasant. “Michigan communities have been very fortunate to have access to CMI funds serving as the seed for many great park projects “
Five community parks in the Chippewa River corridor were improved with a $750,000 DNR CMI grant for paving and connecting trails, parking, new canoe landings, river overlooks and pedestrian bridges – all meeting universal accessibility standards. The DEQ’s CMI Waterfront Grant program contributed another $625,000 for property acquisition, infrastructure, and parking, and $997,000 for environmental cleanup. Over 45,000 Mt. Pleasant residents and visitors enjoy improved access to the river for canoeing, tubing, and exploring the more than 4-mile connected trail system.
A wetland within the 90-acre Mill Pond Park, located in the city center, was dredged and native plants brought in to create a larger, thriving habitat for wetland wildlife. The wetland minimizes flooding during heavy rains, benefiting home and business owners alike.
(Photos courtesy of the City of Mt. Pleasant Parks Department)
As the recent drinking water crisis in Flint has shown, lead in our drinking water remains a serious public health threat. With CMI dollars, the Department of Community Health