Sowing Seeds of Change: Shiawassee District Library Rain Garden Project Flourishes in Owosso

The Shiawassee Community Foundation is thrilled to unveil a transformative project in collaboration with the Shiawassee District Library and the William J. “Bill” Brooks Memorial Fund – a captivating rain garden nestled at the base of the library’s distinguished American Elm tree, just outside the parking lot side entrance.

Addressing a Longstanding Challenge: Erosion and Shade

The area surrounding the majestic American Elm has grappled with erosion issues near the storm drain for quite some time. Complicated by sprawling tree roots and persistent shade, traditional solutions like grass proved impractical, leaving the site muddy and problematic after every rainfall. A vision emerged to address erosion, enhance the natural landscape, and prevent debris from clogging the storm drain.

A Symphony of Native Flora: Creating a Beautiful Solution

The result is a beautifully landscaped rain garden adorned with native sedges, columbine, iris, coneflower, and onion – a carefully selected mix designed to enhance the site and attract essential pollinators. By strategically planting in the fall, the library ensured these native plants had a head start in the growing season. Come spring, the rain garden is expected to flourish, adding vitality to a previously problematic spot.

Honoring Bill Brooks: A Legacy of Community Beautification

The project is made possible through the William J. “Bill” Brooks Memorial Fund, established in 2021 by Bill’s wife, Heather Brooks, and daughter, Cheyenne. Bill, a U.S. Navy veteran and dedicated arborist, spent 20 years working for the city of Owosso DPW, significantly contributing to the beautification of Owosso. His legacy lives on through the fund, which focuses on community beautification, tree and flower planting projects, community gardens, downtown project upkeep/repair, parks, and community spaces. It also supports plant and tree education, camps and classes for all ages, river clean-up, and similar environmentally beneficial initiatives.

Expressing Gratitude and Looking to the Future

A special note of gratitude is extended to Heather Brooks, Cheyenne, and the entire community for their support. The Shiawassee Community Foundation remains committed to initiatives that enhance the community’s well-being and environmental sustainability. For more information about the foundation and its projects, please visit

Contact Information:

Amanda Bruner

Program Manager

Shiawassee Community Foundation


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In essence, this rain garden project addresses a longstanding environmental challenge. It is a living tribute to a dedicated community member, ensuring that Bill Brooks’ passion for beautification and environmental stewardship continues flourishing in Owosso. Please visit the donation page if you want to donate to the William J. “Bill” Brooks Memorial Fund. All donations make an impact.