"I wish Saginaw was" campaign creator hopeful of change - WNEM TV 5

"I wish Saginaw was" campaign creator hopeful of change

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Red and white signs and stickers have been popping up all over Saginaw.

“I thought it was kind of trashy originally, but I like reading what's on them,” said resident Philip Nigel.

They can be found on buildings.  

But these signs are more than just trash or graffiti, it's a social movement looking to bring hope to the area.

Benjamin Champagne is the creator of the “I wish Saginaw was” campaign.

“You know, it's sad. When you come down here and go down a few more blocks and there's all these cool buildings and nothing going on,” Champagne said.

He said he would like to see a city without so many empty buildings, and instead bustling with energy and commerce.

“The idea to give people some agency over it, like, here, tell us what you want and let it be a community effort. That's where the inspiration came from,” Champagne said.

And these signs allow anyone to share their thoughts on what they'd like to see in that place.

All it takes is a quick glance to see what people would like in a building: a youth center, just something open, a movie theater.

But some of the stickers speak to larger issues in the area.

“I like seeing the ones that are kind of poetic. Or when they address the city as a whole,” Champagne said. “I've seen some that say I wish this was a non-violent city. And I'm like, yeah, you have the right idea.”

Champagne said so far, the response has been all positive. He hopes some of the wishes will one day become reality.

“A lot of times they think, oh well I don't own the building, nothing can be done. But that's not true,” Champagne said. “Just because you don't own it, you're a part of this town and can make stuff happen.”

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