Swift Run: Growing Green for Clean Streams

Letter sent 10/17/17

Hello Mitchell neighborhood friends,

We are checking in to let you know the status of the Swift Run Creek Growing Green for Clean Streams project.  In the last update we sent in March, we let you know we submitted the Michigan DEQ-approved rain garden plans to the City of Ann Arbor for approval.  The City made some adjustments to the plans, which resulted in many fewer gardens that would not capture as much stormwater runoff. We then submitted these revised plans to our funder, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).

Since the revised plans did not meet the original project goal of capturing a large amount of stormwater, we need to unfortunately change the project plan. The City and MDEQ will no longer fund the smaller rain garden project.  We are disappointed. So now, instead of planting rain gardens in the public right-of-way between the roads and private residential properties, we are approaching owners of larger private and public properties to see if we can work with them on their properties. Projects include planting bigger gardens and trees, and building other infrastructure methods to capture runoff such as disconnecting downspouts, installing porous pavement, and constructing parking islands at lower levels that will absorb water.

Our goal is to get permission from these property owners and managers to develop projects that will collectively capture and treat enough runoff to make a significant water quality impact.  We also hope to fund some of the original residential rain gardens in your neighborhood.

If you know the landowners of any of the larger properties in the Swift Run creekshed and would like to help us negotiate water quality improvement projects, please let us know as soon as you can. We are currently working on all the public schools. Other key properties include the following:

  • Churches including the Korean Church of Ann Arbor in your neighborhood;
  • Pittsfield Village and Colonial Square Apartments;
  • Arborland, Packard Office Center, and several other commercial properties; and
  • Washtenaw Community College

If you have any questions about the Swift Run: Growing Green for Clean Streams project, please let us know. In the next few months, we should have a decision from MDEQ whether we can proceed with the project.  We need to have permission from the large property owners in order to continue so any connections to large property owners you can provide will be very helpful. We’ll be sure to let you know the outcome.

Thank you!


Reducing Pollution Runoff to Heal the Swift Run Creek

Through this project, we are going to “slow the flow” of water that drains into Swift Run Creek after every rain event. By partnering with neighbors, the City of Ann Arbor, and Washtenaw County, the Huron River Watershed Council will bring ‘growing green’ methods to public and residential properties.

Rain garden bump out rendering on Creek Drive

Rain garden rendering on Creek Drive

Keeping our Water Clean
These innovative techniques will capture polluted stormwater before it enters the storm drains and pipes that send untreated water directly into the creek. By capturing the water before it enters the system, we will filter out pollution while protecting the creek from harmful erosion due to stormwater runoff.
The Growing Green project will:
  1. Decrease pollution going into Gallup Pond and the Huron River
  2. Significantly reduce stormwater runoff from the neighborhood.
  3. Return Swift Run to more natural flows
  4. Allow for aquatic life to return to the creek.
  5. Create a place for flowers to bloom; they will absorb water and support pollinators

Project Construction

HRWC received two bids for project construction (see below). Bids were accepted through the bid deadline of June 9 at 2 pm. The following bids were received:


Company Name    Total Bid Price   
 Anglin Civil, LLC    $ 463,643.26
 Erie Construction, LLC    $ 554,662.00

HRWC and City of Ann Arbor staff are currently reviewing the bids to select a contractor.


Design Plan (Approved by Michigan DEQ):

Swift Run design image

Once bids have been received and a contractor selected, a construction schedule will be posted.

Frequently Asked Questions


Check out these free Master Rain Gardener

Classes on You Tube

Presented by Susan Bryan & Harry Sheehan (Washtenaw County), and Shannon Gibb-Randall (Insight Design)


On-Site Tours by Street:
Wed., May 25, 2016 @ 530 pm: 3131 Creek Dr.
Wed., May 25, 2016 @ 630 pm: 3300 LaSalle Dr.
Tues., May 31, 2016 @ 530 pm: 3441 Creek Dr.
Tues., May 31, 2016 @ 630 pm: 3200 Fernwood Ave.


6:00-7:30 pm

Scarlett Middle School

3300 Lorraine Street

Come learn about the proposed design and construction of the Swift Run: Growing Green for Clean Streams project! We will present a draft of the plan to use streets and parks to soak in rainwater. Projects include rain gardens and native plantings. We want to know what you think about the design and locations we propose. Construction is proposed to start in August 2016.

All persons are encouraged to participate in public meetings. Accommodations, including sign language interpreters, may be arranged by contacting the City Clerk’s office at 734.794.6140; via email to: cityclerk@a2gov.org; or by written request addressed and mailed or delivered to:

City Clerk’s Office
301 E. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Requests made with less than two business days notice may not be able to be accommodated.”

June 21, 2015 – Neighborhood Meeting

What: Swift Run Neighborhood Public Meeting
Date: Tuesday, July 21st, 2015
Time: 6 pm-7:30 pm
Location: Scarlett Middle School, 3300 Lorraine St.

You’re invited to learn about the Growing Green for Swift Run project, upcoming construction in your ‘hood, and how you can participate in protecting your creek!

We will give a presentation followed by a discussion so we can answer your questions.

There will also be a free raffle to win a rain barrel and light refreshments will be served. No RSVP required. This is a free event. Please join us!


July 16, 2015 – Just Scheduled: Free Guided Tour of Mitchell Neighborhood Rain Gardens!

Huron River Watershed Council invites you to join us for a brief guided tour of Swift Run creek and a few rain gardens in your neighborhood. Please join us if you would like to:

  • Get to know your neighbors
  • Meet some Master Rain Gardeners
  • Learn about “slowing the flow” at home
  • Explore the creek
  • Hear more about our Swift Run Growing Green for Clean Streams project

Date: Thursday, July 23, 2015
Time: 6:00 pm-7:00 pm
Location: Meet at 3159 La Fere St.

Just show up!


June 22, 2015 – Have you filled out your Swift Run questionnaire yet? Please do, your opinion counts!

In order to gain insights into residents opinions and knowledge of the Swift Run Creek, HRWC has sent out a pre-project questionnaire to Mitchell residents living in the project area. Please take a moment to fill it out so that we know how best to partner with your community.

Want to fill it out online? Get your Unique Code from the mailers we sent and then click here to access the questionnaire. If you need to get your Unique Access number, email Pam Labadie here.

October 2014 – HRWC Received Grant Approval for Grow Green Swift Run

Check out our blog post announcing the funding for the project/

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