FLINT, Michigan — A $100,000 transformation that opens up new opportunities for kayaking, canoeing and exploring the Flint River could be headed to the former Mott Park Municipal Golf Course.
A coalition of supporters launched a campaign on Friday to raise $50,000 in 50 days — which would earn them a matching grant to double the funding — to build a new access point to the Flint River called Paddlers’ Landing in Mott Park Recreation Area.
Paddlers’ Landing would provide a safe and fully accessible community access point to the Flint River. The development would include concrete and wood stairs down to the river, a gravel driveway, signage, and a chairlift to open up access to the river to those with disabilities.
It would be located just off the Flint River Trail along Sunset Drive just east of Ballenger Highway, near McLaren Hospital. It is a joint effort of the Corridor Alliance Chapter of the Flint River Watershed Coalition, Mott Park Recreation Area, and city of Flint.
In its first four days, 30 donors have contributed more than $12,500 toward the $50,000 goal on Patronicity
(as of 1 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019). If the $50,000 goal is reached, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will provide a $50,000 grant to fully fund the $100,000 project.
“Any community that has a river going through it, the river should be an asset,” said Dr. Bobby Mukkamala, an early supporter of the Corridor Alliance’s Kayak Flint project.
The project also has won the support of Mayor Karen Weaver and the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce as well as the Hagerman Foundation, which pledged $10,000 to the project.
"Paddlers’ Landing at Mott Park Recreation Area is the perfect addition to an ongoing series of improvements on the river,” said Jack Stock, director of external relations for Kettering University, which helped build an 18-hole disc golf course that opened there last year. “It’s important for all of us to know that the river is an asset that we cannot turn away from.
In fact, it’s as healthy and as vibrant as it has been in a long time.”
Kayak Flint launched in the summer 2018 as a first-of-its-kind kayak rental and Flint River tour operation on the Flint River. The Corridor Alliance launched tours near Tenacity Brewing at Grand Traverse Street in downtown Flint as a popup business for four weekends.
They expect to return in the spring with a full season of kayaking available. Both kayak rental and dropoff/pickup service for those with their own kayaks was available.
Related story: Here's why kayaking will return to the Flint River
Paddlers’ Launch would provide another launch or exit point for kayakers.
Mott Park Recreation Area is a 70-acre area on Flint’s westside that used to be home to a nine-hole, city-owned golf course that closed in 2010. The Mott Park Recreation Association formed as a volunteer, nonprofit board to oversee the property. It worked with residents to create short- and long-term maintenance and development plans, including Paddlers’ Landing.
Mott Park Recreation Area is home to the disc golf course, the annual Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot, and a monarch butterfly watching area.
The Patronicity campaign includes special benefits for those contributing to the fundraising effort at a variety of levels. One $5,000 donor will choose the theme for the 2019 Flint River Flotilla while all gifts of $1,000 come with a 10-person kayaking rental and group tour. There are gifts associated with 11 different giving levels, including $10 and $25.
For more information, check out the Patronicity fundraising page
or the YouTube video below.