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.–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

mliveFLINT, MI — The debut of a parkland plan Thursday, April 10, for Flint’s Chevy in the Hole site got great reviews from the 70 or so people who showed up to see what’s in store for the old industrial property. Dozens of Flint people – many of whom raised their hands when asked who worked at the plant or were involved in the 1930s Sit-Down Strike, or had relatives who did – showed overwhelming support for the project. “I think it’s fabulous,” Sue Goering of Flint said. “I’m a walker, so being able to have a place like this to go to will be great.”

The plan includes transforming the former Chevrolet manufacturing site, a 60-acre space covered in concrete slabs, into a public park with walking paths intertwined in low-maintenance native plants, greens and wetlands that should help minimize storm water management costs.

“Not only is the name (of the site) Chevy in the Hole because of the topography of the site…it’s actually been a hole in the fabric of the community for many years,” said Megan Hunter, Flint’s chief planning officer. “(The new plan) really furthers the vision of the master plan…In a way, the master plan is going back to the 1920s plan – the John Nolan plan – a plan that really understood the importance of green space and connecting the community together.”

The new name? The Chevy Commons.

Project officials explained to Flint residents that a lot of thought has been put into paying homage to the site’s history, even using names that date back to Native American days. The city of Flint owns the property, and has created a plan to turn the former automobile manufacturing site wasteland into a green, public area called Chevy Commons that would allow bike and walking paths from all Flint’s neighborhoods to intersect in common ground.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Leora Campbell of Flint said, adding that she’s glad, after several years of talking about change, to finally see concrete plans and funding. “If you look at the city’s history, you’ll see that Flint is a comeback city. It might take some time, but Flint is a comeback city.” Thanks to a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the first phase of renovations – which will involve dumping dirt over the concrete and installing a parking area, walking paths and shrubs in about a third of the space – is scheduled to begin this August.

If all goes according to plan, the completed portion of Chevy Commons will be open for public use next spring.

FLINT, MI – Friends of the Flint River Trail will begin its regular Sunday bicycle rides through Flint starting May 5. Rides are held Sundays through October starting at 2 p.m. at the Flint Farmers’ Market. In the first trip of the season, riders will pedal about 10 miles from the Farmers’ Market to Stepping Stone Falls, 5161 Branch Road, and back, weaving through UM-Flint and Mott College campuses. Other typical routes have riders cycling north along the Flint River to Bluebell Beach, 5500 Bray Road, and a 17-mile round trip heading northeast into Genesee Township for ice cream.

Rides usually span 10 to 12 miles with a short break in the middle and light refreshments at the end. The Sunday rides are free of charge and no advance registration is required. Riders must bring their own bicycles. Friends of the Flint River Trail strongly encourage riders to wear helmets. Jack Minore, co-chair of the Friends of Flint River Trail, said last year there were nearly 40 riders every Sunday from all over Genesee County, living in about 25 to 30 different zip codes.

“Michigan has more miles of bike riding trails of any other state in the union,” said Minore, a board member of Flint River Watershed Coalition and Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance.

Some riders had the opportunity to see deer and fox along the Flint River to Bluebell Beach last year, Minore said. “People don’t realize there is a nice, rustic part of the river,” he said.
Friends of Flint River Trail .JPG Sunday riders gather near Bluebell Beach in Flint during last year’s bike ride kickoff event. Photo courtesy Linda Johnson-Barnes Minore, who has been on about 800 rides since Friends of The Flint River Trail started the events 15 years ago, said the rides are family-oriented and flow at a leisurely pace.

“I like it because we’re introducing people to good bike riding,” he said. Friends of the Flint River Trail hosts “Third Saturday Rides,” on the third Saturday of every month of the ride season, with the first one starting May 18 at 10 a.m. on the Southern Links Trail beginning at Columbiaville Trailhead in the village of Columbiaville in Lapeer County. The ride is about 20 miles in length.

A Flint River Trail cleanup is also scheduled for Saturday, April 27, at 9 a.m. Those interested can meet at Veteran’s Park on James P. Cole Boulevard. Garbage bags will be provided by Keep Genesee Beautiful, and lunch will be provided by HealthPlus and Kroger and Meijer Pierson Road locations.

Questions about rides can be directed to Bruce Nieuwenhuis at or Jack Minore at Further information can be found at the Friends of the Flint River Trail website.