Flint gets funding to fight blight - WNEM TV 5

Flint gets funding to fight blight

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The ongoing blight fight is getting extra support in a local city, and it's focused on a very specific location.

Neighborhoods across the city of Flint are littered with boarded-up homes and abandoned lots. But thanks to a new grant, residents in historic Civic Park will have more than 200 fewer in their neighborhood.

Flint resident Adrian Mansfield says about half of the houses on his street in Flint's Civic Park neighborhood are vacant. He says those empty homes leave the door open for criminal activity.

"Growing up, you used to see so many kids running around in the street, playing basketball. Now everyone's gone, and the houses are abandoned," says Mansfield.

Keith Batson lives nearby. He says all the vacant houses need to go.

"The homes aren't nothing but a sore on the eyes. What's the purpose of having them here if you're not going to do anything with them?" says Batson.

The Genesee County Land Bank owns nearly half of all the properties in their neighborhood. It's in the process of demolishing more than 1,000 abandoned houses in Flint, but the houses in this area weren't included until now.
Back when General Motors was booming, the company built about 1,000 homes in what's called historic Civic Park. The historic status caused problems for these homes being torn down, but organizers and residents didn't give up and now progress is being made.

The Genesee County Land Bank announced Wednesday that it received another $2.6 million from the state and now plan to tear down 225 abandoned houses in the neighborhood.

Residents say the news is encouraging, but they won't get too excited until they see the bulldozers coming down their street.

Representatives from the Genesee County Land Bank say demolition will begin on the abandoned houses in just a few months, in December and January.

State Senator Jim Ananich had positive things to say about these funds. He released a statement on the funding.

He says securing these critical funds and the transformation of Civic Park are great examples of what the city can accomplish if everyone works together and stays committed.

He also says the efforts will create safer neighborhoods, reduce scrap-metal thefts and support economic development in the community.

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