Volunteer program to attack Flint blight block by block - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Volunteer program to attack Flint blight block by block

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(01/21/13) - Flint is preparing to kick off a new volunteer program aimed at eliminating blight - block by block.

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling says there's already a good core of volunteers working to tackle blight.

This new initiative, the "Volunteer Blight Elimination Service," will simply add to that.

"There's always been a focus on traditional clean-up activities," Walling says. "This is one more thing people can do. It's all about getting a few hundred more people to volunteer in their own neighborhoods across the city."

Walling says new training and tools will be provided.

The city's Blue Badge Volunteers, who work closely with police, will play a big part.

The goal is to improve 20 targeted blocks in Flint.

"We're going to be asking community groups and volunteers to propose a block to focus on," Walling says.

Success will be measured by the square feet of graffiti removed, pounds of litter collected, number of trees planted or new green spaces created, for example.

"I think it's a great idea," Shirley Milton says.

Milton lives on the city's south side.  She says she already volunteers in her neighborhood and would consider this program too.

"Because that it one of our goals.  Safe neighborhoods.  Clean neighborhoods," Milton says.

Walling says Flint was awarded a grant from the National "Cities of Service" coalition to pay for what's needed to get the work done.

Flint residents can have a say in where the work will be done.

"We don't have blocks pre-selected," Walling says. "It's wherever neighborhood groups and volunteers tell us they want to focus."

Additional details will be unveiled at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

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