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Creating a Greener Flint: Education Meets Energy Saving at the Urban Alternatives House
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Creating a Greener Flint: Education Meets Energy Saving at the Urban Alternatives House

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This presentation details a plan developed in 2011 to convert a vacant, tax-foreclosed house in Flint, Michigan into a green energy demonstration center and classroom and residential units. The …

This presentation details a plan developed in 2011 to convert a vacant, tax-foreclosed house in Flint, Michigan into a green energy demonstration center and classroom and residential units. The center, known as the Urban Alternatives House, is undergoing renovation and is scheduled to open in September 2012. The University of Michigan-Flint and the Genesee County Land Bank partnered with the Central Park Neighborhood Association to ensure the success of this project.

Published in: Real Estate, Technology, Education
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  • 1. Creating a Greener Flint: Education MeetsEnergy Saving at the Urban Alternatives House Jonathan E. TarrJonathan.Tarr@gmail.com @plannerthon APA Los Angeles S633: Capstones Part II April 14, 2012
  • 2. FLINT: Vehicle City to College Town• Seventh largest Michigan city; metro is 4% of state population and 3% of state GDP• Significant loss of industry, but GM and others remain• Population is 50% lower than its peak, but about 99,000 residents still live here• Growing student population has boosted rental housing market; conversion of large houses to apartments
  • 3. More on Flint• Despite impressions as a stagnant city, things change quickly: porches collapsed, many houses foreclosed in our short time• Municipal issues: small police force, no judge assigned to “blight court,” possible emergency financial manager
  • 4. Where we came in …• First property proposed by UM-Flint for UAH destroyed by fire in November 2010• Second property chosen was in different neighborhood, different challenges• We were asked to “fast track” second house into UAH from January-April 2011, with goal for house to open Fall 2012
  • 5. Project Partners
  • 6. Central Park Neighborhood• Traditional street grid, near downtown, UM-Flint, Flint Public Library, twomuseums• Many large, single-family homes 70+ years old
  • 7. More on Central Park• AKA “College-Cultural”: demonym anxiety• Closed middle school and high school buildings adjacent to neighborhood
  • 8. 924 Eddy St.• 3,054 square feet, built 1918• Larger than most in Flint; too large for today’s typical household• Victim of tax foreclosure, long vacant with utilities cut, evidence of squatters• Vacant lot next door at 920 Eddy
  • 9. Vision for UAH• Full renovation to LEED-certified standard with features ranging from geothermal well and utility monitoring system to bike racks• Three residential units• Classroom/lab space for Earth and Resource Science Dept., other UM-Flint departments• Community garden on adjacent lot
  • 10. Funding PlanTo renovate house with energy efficientfeatures, $300,000 neededSources:• HUD NSP2 funds• Foundation grants• UM-Flint funding & in-kind support
  • 11. Planning and Zoning Needs• Combine lots: 1 owned by Land Bank, 1 by City• Rezone to classification that allows multiple units and educational use by right• Remove cul de sac for better access• Off-street parking to accommodate visitors as well as residents
  • 12. Our Immediate ObjectivesImportant tasks:• Extensive community input, public meeting• Drew up architectural plans• Drew up plan for parking, best walking and bicycling routes from campus• Rezoning and combination of two lots• Interior clean out
  • 13. Progress Since April 2011• Building permit issued, architect took over and drew up more detailed plans• Exterior work completed before winter, interior work ongoing
  • 14. Final Site Plan
  • 15. On track to open in September• Neighborhood still involved in renovation• Land Bank opted for two apartment units instead of three, due to space constraints• Rezoning not necessary
  • 16. Short to Medium Term Goals• Earth & Resource Science courses to occur at UAH from Fall 2012 forward• Possible shuttle bus service to campus• Application to become a Michigan State Energy Demonstration Center• Neighborhood association meetings, study hub for students in Central Park
  • 17. State Energy Demonstration Center• State funding goes to energy demonstration centers, but the Flint area doesn’t have one• UAH as Michigan’s next energy demonstration center could help Central Park residents retrofit their homes
  • 18. … and about the cul de sac• Neighborhood likes and wants to keep it• Revised plan: move cul de sac inward by 80’ to create parking but still prevent through traffic
  • 19. Long Term Goals• Mott CC building trades, Sloan Museum using UAH• Hub for energy audits across Central Park, Flint• Part of Flint’s downtown and neighborhood revitalization
  • 20. Replicating UAHPossible, because:• Energy efficient retrofits save big $ over time.• Legacy cities and central city neighborhoods have many old homes in need of renovation.• Funding could be easier in places with higher property values.However, Flint and Central Park are unique,and UAH was created for that context.
  • 21. Want to know more?Jonathan.Tarr@gmail.co m (919) 323-0117 @plannerthon Thanks to:Jon Barth, Paul Irwin, Maria Ryen, Bre Shell, Kisaki Watanabe Richard Hill-Rowley, Mat Weber, Eric Dueweke, Christina Kelly, Sheree Pierce, Norma Sain, Jerry Rule, Ed Custer, Keith Edwards,Heidi Phaneuf, Mel Serow, UM-Flint

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