Clean Michigan Initiative

The Department of Environmental Quality awarded a Clean Michigan Initiative grant to the East Hills Council of Neighbors. The grant, the first to be awarded to a neighborhood, supports Governor Jennifer M. Granholm's Cool Cities Initiative. The DEQ offered a Request for Proposals specifically targeted at Cool Cities catalyst grantees in October 2004.


The grant resulted in the implementation of low-impact development techniques at four locations in East Hills. The DEQ demonstration sites showcase stormwater solutions in the urban environment including green roofs, pervious paving, and bio-retention.


Diamond parking lot is no ordinary parking lot. This permeable asphalt project allows water to filter through the surface and into the soil, a natural filter.

The East Hills Center is a zero stormwater run-off site, the first ever in Grand Rapids. The project included a vegetative roof, a rain garden and monitoring equipment.

920 Cherry will incorporated Low Impact Development Practices and Energy Star Townhouses, it changed the largest piece of vacant land in East Hills into a mixed-use development that enhanced the local economy and community, while respecting the environment and the hsitoric neighborhood.

The Helmus Building, formerly a Brownfield site has been renovated into a green building including a vegetative roof.

"The project will implement the type of storm water practices that we need in our urban and suburban watersheds," said Director Chester. "Low impact development allows for economic growth and environmental protection to go hand in hand."


Stormwater management is an ever-growing issue for municipalities, developers, communities and citizens. As impervious surfaces increase from new construction and infrastructure, stormwater runoff has fewer paths to infiltrate the soil and filter out contaminates. Untreated stormwater continues to pollute our pristine waterways, wreaking havoc on the natural ecosystem. The implementation of a rain garden system, three green roofs, and construction of three porous asphalt parking lots in East Hills is a step toward correcting the problem.


We are leading the way and these demonstration sites will help others see the value in sustainable development practices.