More trees for Chevy in the Hole - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

More trees for Chevy in the Hole

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(09/25/12) - Once a vital production center for General Motors, Flint's Chevy in the Hole is now home to weeds, empty slabs of concrete and a toxic mix of pollutants. But efforts continue to turn the Brownfield site around. The plan calls for Mother Nature to play an important role in helping turn Chevy in the Hole from an eyesore into a sight to behold.

One thousand trees planted last year are slowly drawing out chemical waste from Flint's Chevy in the Hole site. "Phyto-remediation is the process of utilizing natural vegetation to clean up the subsurface and more particularly to usually clean up the groundwater," says Kettering University's Nadine Thor, Director of Auxillary Services.

Soon, more trees could help cleanse the land. A $250,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service was just awarded to the City of Flint to plant more trees. That's in addition to a $375,000 grant last year.

"We expect to have about 1,000 trees put into the ground. Of those trees, we expect still the bulk of them to be the phyto-remediation trees that's intended to clean up the ground and reduce the groundwater on site. Those are willows and poplars. But, we're also going to plant some deciduous trees that are native to the area," said Steve Montle, from the Center for Community Progress.

It won't be a quick process, since remediation may take 20 years or longer. But the end result could be worth the wait.

"The eventual goal down here is to have the 66 acres that are owned by the city of Flint, a green space, potentially some recreation opportunities. But, essentially, the major goal is to remove this scar from the city of Flint and our institutional corridor here," Montle said.

If those goals are met, the next generation might be able to replace "Danger" signs with friendlier ones welcoming people to Flint's newest park.

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