Lawmakers announce additional funding for blight removal - WNEM TV 5

Lawmakers announce additional funding for blight removal

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FLINT, MI (WNEM) -

The fight against blight could be getting a big boost from Washington.

U.S. lawmakers revealed the amount of money set aside in the new federal budget that could go to the hardest hit fund on Tuesday.

Sonya Austin is tired of living next to blighted property, an eyesore in her neighborhood.

"Nobody wants to move over here. We can't sell our home because of the way it looks around here," Austin said.

There's some good news for Austin and many people like her.

Mayor Karen Weaver welcomed U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters along with U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee to Flint on Tuesday.

"Well, I'm excited about this news," Weaver said.

The trio announced passage of a measure authorizing the treasury department to transfer up to $2 billion additional into the Hardest Hit Fund.

"It's about families, neighborhoods, people. And I’m really pleased to have been in a position to play a major role in getting this across the finish line," Stabenow said.

The fund designed to help remove and revamp thousands of abandoned properties in places like Flint and Saginaw.

"Any kind of re-development of an urban area in this country really has to focus on neighborhoods," Peters said.

Kildee said, "Making that empty house into a playground or a community garden is transformational."

Austin said she's looking forward to sights like these being nothing more than a bad memory.

"I think it would make the neighborhoods look pretty. Get more sunlight, people would actually make gardens, they could do nice things," Austin said.

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