Gas station blight

Residents are coming together to fight for a cleaner, safer neighborhood.

After waiting years for their city leaders to do something about the blight in their community, a group of grassroots activists are pushing for change.

“You see mattresses, cabinets,” said Willie Casey, Saginaw resident. “People are just dumping into these vacant lots.”

You will find blight like that throughout Saginaw’s east side and residents are frustrated.

“What the city is doing thus far is not working,” said Gary Dawkins, Saginaw resident.

Another example of the blight is at the gas stations at 6th and Lapeer.

“Driving into our community, it doesn’t look good with those abandoned buildings,” Casey said. “I would hate for my home to be right next to that thing.”

The stations have been abandoned for decades. The Saginaw County Land Bank owns them now and people who live near the eyesores say enough is enough.

“We’ve sat by idly, waiting for the city to take the initiative to tear it down and it’s been 20 years. So now we’re just coming together as a community and a neighborhood saying, ‘you know what? We want to voice our opinion so we can have something done,’” Dawkins said.

Dawkins organized Thursday’s meeting of the Houghton Jones Neighborhood Association to ask questions and get answers.

An environmental consultant said the county is trying to get an assessment of the gas stations.

“I’m not making excuses for anybody at all. No process of deflection and whatnot. But straightforward. They do have a sense of urgency from the community to check out these facilities and it’s in the near future,” said Heath Bobick, environmental consultant.

Until they see action, some are staying skeptical.

“Since there’s no value to the city, I believe for the assessment, then it’s gonna be a slow train to China,” Casey said.

The Houghton Jones Neighborhood Association is planning to do a clean up around 11th and Janes next week. Members plan to do many more and they hope those gas stations get taken down soon.

Copyright 2019 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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