Sunday, May 18 was bright and breezy with temperatures soaring into the 80s – perfect weather for planting flowers in Downtown Flint. Wearing hats and work gloves, volunteers filled 68 planters lining South Saginaw Street from Court Street to University Avenue.
This year marked the eighth annual Flower Planting event of the Flint Downtown Development Authority (DDA). “Today, we got lucky,” said Gerard Burnash, executive director of the Flint DDA, referring to the cold weather that had previously delayed the event. This spring, each planter was filled with a beautiful, six-foot-tall hibiscus tree surrounded by a variety of colorful flowers and vines. “We wanted color and brightness,” said Kathleen Gazall, a member of the Flower Planting Committee.
“We wanted to do something a little different this year, something with a little bit more ‘oomph’,” said Inez M. Brown, chairperson of planning and marketing at the Flint DDA. She said they care about the entire city but the focus that day was Downtown, in the DDA district. Members of the DDA provided gardening tools and gloves for the volunteers along with a plentiful supply of ice-cold water and snacks.
Dan and Karen Smith, along with their son Hayden, took time to help plant. The Smith family spends a lot of time Downtown enjoying the events and festivals and the numerous restaurants, and this is their way of giving back. “We love Flint,” said Karen. “There are so many people working to revitalize Downtown and we wanted to do something to help.” Jessica Lewis and Layla Meillier also volunteered their time. “Nice weather and beautiful flowers—what more could you ask for?” asked Jessica.
Gerard said the event typically brings about 30 volunteers Downtown. “We are very grateful for everyone’s help,” he said.