The 2106 Flint River Flotilla had 220 participants and nearly 30 volunteers making this year’s event a huge success.  Plan to join us in 2017 for another great day out on the river.  A special thank you once again to all of our sponsors who made the event possible.

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David Lossing 4 (2)David Lossing

How long have you been a board member with the FRCA?  What prompted you to want to join the board?

I’ve been involved with the FRCA since 2006, when I began my service at the University of Michigan-Flint as director of government relations.  For the first two or three years, I had been asked by FRCA to join the Hamilton Dam committee given my experience of working as a congressional staffer with U.S. Sen. Carl
Levin (MI) for nine years.  I was later elected to the board and I currently serve as the Chair of the FRCA.

What organization do you represent on the FRCA board and what is your job there?

For the past nine years, I have been serving as the director of government relations for the University of Michigan-Flint.  I’ve been with the University of Michigan for sixteen years, having first worked on the UM-Ann Arbor campus as the associate director of State Outreach located within the Office of Government Relations.

I’m a Ph.D. Candidate at Indiana State University and my dissertation topic is going to focus on universities as anchor institutions.

What is your favorite program or project the FRCA has been involved with or is currently helping out with in Flint?

Since the beginning of the FRCA, we’ve always had a focus on the large projects that fall within the corridor: redevelopment of the former Chevy in the Hole manufacturing site, now known as Chevy Commons, the Hamilton Dam, and the Flint River Bike Trail.  It’s great to see that we are have started focusing on smaller and more manageable projects like the Zagster bike sharing program and the Flint River flotilla.

Dale Snyder

How long have you been a board member with the FRCA?  What prompted you to want to join the board?

I have been a board member since November of 2014. I am the community service representative for UAW local 659 at General Motors Flint Tool & Die. Our plant is very active in supporting the community around us and this was a perfect fit for me. Being an active outdoorsman and a big advocate of Flint River, along with any other river that I can get my kayak in for that matter, I jumped at the opportunity to be involved.

What organization do you represent on the FRCA board and what is your job there?

UAW local 659 at General Motors Flint Tool & Die

What is your favorite program or project the FRCA has been involved with or is currently helping out with in Flint? 

There are quite a few projects that are going on right now, but if I had to narrow it down it would have to be the annual Flotilla. It is a great time to be able to get so many people together to experience the fun the river can give you and be in the outdoors. Its always great to talk to people that have lived so close to the river all their life and have them make statements like “I never realized how nice this is and it’s in my back yard.”

A close second is the Chevy Commons project and then there’s the Riverfront Restoration Project, this is going to be a game changer for the community! Come to think of it, I can’t narrow it down, they are all me favorite.

What would you like people to know about the FRCA?

It didn’t take me long after joining to realize the people involved with the FRCA are such passionate people that genuinely care and love this river and this city. With that being said the projects that are in the works are amazing.

Share a memory of the Flint River or tell us what is your favorite part about the river.

Having to pick one memory out would be tough, so I will talk about a couple of them.  One that comes to mind is the first time I was in the river near Mott Park and I saw an Eagle flying above me in my kayak. I was absolutely amazed. Here we were a stone’s throw from downtown and we are seeing an eagle, and a short time later we spotted a deer on the bank.

Another instance is something that happens quite often for me and that is simply sitting on a bench or leaning over the railing and just watching and listening to the river. It just doesn’t get any better than that experience.

 

Scott Kree

What organization do you represent on the FRCA board and what is your job there?22cc61a

I represent Rowe Professional Services Company where I work as a planner.

How long have you been a board member with the FRCA?  What prompted you to want to join the board?

I have been on the FRCA Board since January of 2016.  I was an unofficial proxy for 6 months prior to that for Jack Wheatley. I have a history of involvement with the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy since 2007 but as my life has changed and brought me to the Flint area, I have tried to focus on being active in this region.

What is your favorite program or project the FRCA has been involved with or is currently helping out with in Flint?

I am very excited about all the projects we have going on right now.  Most importantly the Flint Riverfront Restoration Project which will allow for the public to interact with the river in a way that has not been possible for half a century.  I am also excited about upcoming projects like the bike share program and the revitalization of Riverbank Park and that master plan.

What would you like people to know about the FRCA?

#itsnottheriver is what I would like people to know about the Flint River and this natural resource that the Flint River Corridor Alliance is bound to promote, protect, while representing and supporting the surrounding community.

Share a memory of the Flint River or tell us what is your favorite part about the river.

While I am not a native of the area (I grew up 30 minutes south of here), my memories are more recent.  This summer while taking my lunchtime walk along the river and through Riverbank Park, I could not help but to notice how interested people were in what was going on.  It was a couple weeks after the Flotilla and people were still talking about it.  Others were talking about what was going to happen in Riverbank Park and still others were interested in when the Hamilton Dam was going to be demolished.  This was on a random Tuesday afternoon and it seemed like every little faction of citizens or students I came across were talking about the river.  It was great to hear and see and I hope that we can keep those people interested, engaged, and pleased with our efforts at the Flint River Corridor Alliance.

Alisa Craig, MS

What organization do you represent on the FRCA board and what is your job there?AlisaC bandw headshot (2)

I represent Hurley Medical Center – I am an Administrator.  I oversee all of our Wellness and Population Health initiatives for our own employees, our patients, and community at-large.

How long have you been a board member with the FRCA?  What prompted you to want to join the board?

I subbed for a few months when another Hurley employee was on maternity leave in 2014 and then became a permanent board the summer of 2015.

What is your favorite program or project the FRCA has been involved with or is currently helping out with in Flint?

I have loved being involved with the yearly Flotilla.  It really is wonderful seeing so many people enjoy the recreational aspects of the Flint River. I am excited to now be on the sub-group working on Chevy Commons programming.  I think our Hurley employees will take advantage of this – whether it be for walking, running, biking ,etc.

What would you like people to know about the FRCA?

The FRCA is a very passionate group from very diverse organizations who come together because we share the same vision for the Flint River and surrounding areas.

Share a memory of the Flint River or tell us what is your favorite part about the river.

Volunteering at the Flint River Flotilla the past two years – – hearing so many people say how much they enjoyed their float and hearing how beautiful they thought the river was really was great! Plus – talking with local people who came out to watch the Flotilla (mostly Mott Park neighbors) – -they really were proud of the event!

FLINT, MI – Nearly 150 people came out to float down the Flint River Saturday for the Flint River Corridor Alliance’s annual “Flotilla.”

Organization leaders were hoping this year was more successful than their 2014 “Flotilla.”

“It is important to get people out here,” said FRCA’s Director, Janet Van De Winkle. “The Flint River is something that is worth celebrating. It’s worth protecting and it’s just fun.”

The “Flotilla” is the organization’s yearly fundraiser to help raise money for various projects along the Flint River. Last year’s event drew in about 100 attendees. An official count estimated this year’s event had closer to 150 participants.

The event cost $10 per person. Children under 12 were admitted free.

Both Randy and Marti Voto said they enjoyed the event.

“We just got our kayaks this spring,” said Marti Voto of Swartz Creek. “We wanted to go down the river but didn’t want to do it alone. This was a really nice event. The river is obviously cleaned up a lot. It has little ways to go but it was wonderful. I hope they do it again.”

People floated down a stretch of the river in inner tubes, kayaks, canoes and other floatation devices around 1 p.m. with floaters in kayaks and canoes making it in around 2:30 and participants floating in other devices like inner tubes coming in shortly after.

“It was fun. We enjoyed it,” said Lara Garrison who canoed down the river with her husband Todd Gebhart. “We just recently moved back here. I’m glad to see that Flint has more activities than when we used to live here.”

The Flint couple recently moved back to Flint after being away for 17 years.

“We just love everything they are doing,” she said. “We look forward to them doing it again next year.”

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FLINT (WJRT) – (08/05/15) – Saturday afternoon, the downtown portion of the Flint River will be jam-packed with inflatables, kayaks and canoes.

“It’s all about fun. For most people, it’s their first time, so we definitely welcome amateurs,” said Janet Van De Winkle, of the Flint River Corridor Alliance.

Last year’s inaugural Flint River Flotilla saw several hundred people floating down the river. While the event is non-competitive, there are a few prizes up for grabs.

“We even have contests for the most colorful, the most spirit. Corporate award,” Van De Winkle said.

Participants will leave their cars at Mott Park Golf Course, then take a shuttle to the launching point.

“We’re starting at Tenacity Brewing, the fire station on Grand Traverse and Kearsley. We’ll float down through Chevy Commons, float through Mott Park, and end up at Mott Park Golf Course,” Van De Winkle said.

The Floatilla serves as a fundraiser for the Flint River Corridor Alliance.

“It supports projects like the restoration of Hamilton Dam, efforts in Chevy Commons and a number of projects that will increase the usability of the river and access to the river,” said Michael Freeman, of the Flint River Corridor Alliance.

Over the last year, Dan Snyder, of the Flint River Corridor Alliance, says he’s seen an increase of wildlife along the waterfront downtown.

“I’ve seen eagles. It’s crazy what you can actually see, and deer. We see deer, too,” he said.

The Corridor Alliance hopes that the Flotilla helps people realize that the Flint River is safe for recreational activity.

“We have a legacy that we’re trying to fight as far as the perception of the river. The truth is that the river is actually clean and it’s a great asset for our community,” Freeman said.

The Flotilla gets underway at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Rafts will be for sale on site.

For registration information, click the link in the ‘Related Links’ section of this story.http://www.abc12.com/home/headlines/Flint-River-Flotilla-returns-this-weekend-for-second-year–320807221.html

Float your way down the Flint River for what is guaranteed to be a one-of-a-kind, fun filled afternoon. The Flint River Corridor Alliance (FRCA) hosts the second annual Flint River Flotilla Saturday, August 8. People are encouraged to enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the river in a flotation device of their choosing. Inner tubes, kayaks, rafts and canoes are all welcome. The cost is $10 per person with children under 12 admitted for free, and all proceeds benefit the FRCA.

The Flotilla route will begin at Tenacity Brewing, 119 N. Grand Traverse Street, and end at Mott Park Golf Course. On the day of the event, participants should drop their vehicles off at the Mott Park Golf Course on Sunset Drive (east of Ballenger Highway near McLaren Hospital). A shuttle will transport people and their flotation devices from the golf course to the registration and starting location at Tenacity Brewing. Participants with larger flotation devices, such as a canoe or kayak, should drop them off at the launch site before proceeding to Mott Park Golf Course to drop off their vehicle.

The Flotilla starts at 1 pm with registration beginning at noon. In addition, participants can pre-register online.

FRCA Director, Janet Van De Winkle, is confident that the Flotilla will have an even larger turnout than last year. “We had over 100 participants last year and hope to see even more people on the river for this year’s event,” she says. It is expected that the participation level will be doubled this year.

The Flint River Corridor Alliance sees the event as a way to emphasize the resources the Flint River has to offer. Vanessa Ferguson, FRCA Development Coordinator, wants people to see the positive aspects of the river. “It’s important to change the perception that many people have,” she says. “It can be used as a great recreational resource in our community,” Vanessa continues.

Although the Flotilla is not a competitive event, awards will be given out at Mott Park immediately following. The awards will include “Highest Energy,” “Spirit,” and “Most Colorful”. A new award this year, “Captain of Industry,” will be passed out to the business that has the most participants.

Vanessa sees the Flint River Flotilla as a fun opportunity for the community. “This is something unique that is right in our backyard,” she explains. “A lot of people will go up north for similar events and don’t realize that they can have just as much fun right at home.”

The event will occur rain or shine. Severe weather may delay start time.

The FRCA is a community-based organization that develops and sustains projects in the Flint River Corridor. For additional information about the FRCA and the annual Flotilla event, call 810.241.6966.

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Our committee will be meeting at our office at 1300 Bluff St. at Kettering University’s Innovation Center at 10 a.m.  We will be making plans for the 2017 Flint River Flotilla to take place on Saturday, August 5, 2017.

For more information contact vferguson@frcalliance.org