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Eastside residents welcome new community rainscape garden in Chandler Park

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The project aims to bring climate resilience, education, and job training to a once blighted lot

Courtesy Eastside Community Network

Residents of Detroit’s Chandler Park neighborhood recently came together to cut the ribbon on a new outdoor amenity designed to serve as a community focal point and a vital piece of flood-mitigating green infrastructure.

Known as the Hamilton Outdoor Rainscape and Learning Lab, the project at 5315 Newport comes from Eastside Community Network (ECN) in collaboration with InSite Design Studio, the Kresge Foundation, the Knight Foundation, and the Institute for Sustainable Communities.

Rainscape projects can bring climate resilience to areas that are coming under increased risk of urban flooding. They work by slowing the flow of stormwater into neighborhood sewers by absorbing rainfall that runs off roofs, sidewalks, driveways, and impervious surfaces. In the case of the Chandler Park rainscape, excess water is directed to a new community garden.

Organizers envision the revitalized vacant site as an outdoor classroom for students of nearby Hamilton Academy Elementary School. The project will also provide participants in Eastside Community Network’s workforce development program, known as the Green Team, with training on how to manage and install green infrastructure.

Eastside Community Network

“We’re excited about this achievement because it sets yet another precedent of residents driving the change they want to see in our neighborhoods,” says Orlando Bailey, chief development officer at ECN, in a statement. “It is our hope that the Rainscape will serve as a place where the children and adults of this community can gather and learn as well as serve a functional purpose and keeping water out of our combined sewer system.”

Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting event coincided with Juneteenth, the nationwide celebration date commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.