Chevy Commons is a large, 60+ acre site located on the Flint River, a few blocks from downtown Flint. Formerly “Chevy in the Hole,” the site contained a manufacturing complex that was established in the 1930’s as one of General Motors’ four major production facilities in Flint. Chevy in the Hole once contained 17 buildings and, at its peak, the complex employed around 8,000 workers. Plant closings and building demolitions started in the mid 1990s and continued through 2004. After demolition activities were completed, most of the site was paved with asphalt to minimize the movement of residual contamination.
The Flint Riverfront Restoration Plan, drawing on previous studies and plans, presents a vision for Chevy Commons, repurposed as a community amenity. This vision seeks to convert a vacant industrial span into a safe public open space. In pursuit of this vision, the Flint Riverfront Restoration Plan contains an array of design strategies, many of which proved to be unsuitable for the site due the nature of contamination that was subsequently determined. Nevertheless, the overarching vision from the Flint Riverfront Restoration Plan and its core design strategies are still applicable to Chevy Commons today. Core design strategies include passive, low-maintenance plantings; new, active pathways for pedestrian and non-motorized use; ecologically beneficial installations; and new connection between the adjacent neighborhoods and institutions.