Land Conservancy Uproots Saginaw Blight

This past summer, the Bay County Treasurer’s Office and Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy established a unique partnership to manage vacant parcels th…

It takes time for a property to decline into blight.

This past summer, the Bay County Treasurer’s Office and Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy established a unique partnership to manage vacant parcels throughout Bay City and fight the war on blight — a win-win for the entire community.

“We’ve had a lot of experience starting in Saginaw,” said Zachary Branigan, executive director of the Saginaw Basin Land Conservancy, which is based in Bay City. “We have worked closely with (Saginaw County Treasurer) Tim Novak and have taken care of over 1,500 lots.”

Bay County manages several vacant parcels that once contained residential or commercial structures that have since been demolished. Many of these parcels are unlikely sites for development in the near term yet create a significant maintenance obligation for county staff and taxpayers. These pilot sites will serve as a test case for how these types of planting regimes are received by area residents and county staff, with the potential for an expanded scope of work on additional land throughout the city and county.

Each of the properties chosen requires a degree of site preparation in advance of seeding. Existing weeds and overgrown turfgrass are treated to eliminate these species prior to establishing a desired plant regime. Once the existing vegetation is controlled, the land conservancy uses a small disc implement to expose and prepare the soil for seeding, which is completed by broadcasting and cultipacking the seed to ensure sufficient seed-to-soil contact.

“It’s a beneficial ground cover and will look nicer for neighbors,” noted Branigan.

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