Flint to use money to demolish vacant homes in high-crime areas - WNEM TV 5

Flint to use money to demolish vacant homes in high-crime areas

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

A mission to clean up crime-infested neighborhoods will soon be a reality in Flint and it's going to start with fighting blight. 

Flint's Emergency Financial Manager Ed Kurtz announced Wednesday $2.8 million will go toward leveling homes and vacant buildings in high-crime areas. A home costs about $6,000 to demolish and Kurtz said this will be enough money to clear out about 400 vacant and abandoned structures throughout the city.

"Known drug houses, places where we've had complaints on issues in the past, but again, relying on the community and the police department for input on where those areas are," said Kurtz at his weekly press briefing.

It's not hard to find the reality of a tough economy in Flint. Street blocks that once flourished are now nothing but burnt out shells of homes and boarded up buildings. But for some people, these areas are still home.

"Passing through you can't help but notice something terrible could happen because of the mentality of people," said Flint resident Asabian Jones, who lives near several abandoned homes.

Many of the vacant homes have turned into cess pools for crime.

"Just look at the homicide rate, a lot of the crime happens on the north side of Flint, so there's a lot of things that need to be done around here," said Flint resident Keith Peterson.

And residents believe that work to clear up some of the vacant homes will only help. They say clearing up some of the blight and reducing the chances for crime to happen in the abandoned homes will only make the area safer.

"The less that is here, the better the problem will be, because if there's more houses, then there's going to be more this and that," said Flint resident Lucia Chapman.

Bids to take on some of the demolition are expected in the next couple of weeks. The work is going to focus in on areas on Flint's north and northeast sides, along Pierson and Saginaw roads.

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