(09/06/13) - One of Flint's "oldest" buildings is getting a "new " look.
The former Oak School in the Grand Traverse neighborhood district will be turned into affordable housing for seniors.
The project is expected to take a little more than a year. In addition to housing, it will include a library, a community room, and even a vegetable garden.
Glenn Wilson and his wife are re-imagining Flint's landscape.
"It's always been one of my dreams to do development and see the city of Flint be better, so this was the best route for us to take," Glenn said.
The Wilson's formed Communities First, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to redeveloping distressed communities. Their first major undertaking - turning the former Oak School into 24 apartments for low income seniors.
"To be able to imagine a new use, a productive use, a building that was designed for a different function, really is an important lesson for us all," said Rep. Dan Kildee, 5th District (D).
"Here we are on the verge of an exciting year of hard work to accomplish your vision, you're carrying our aspirations with you," said Flint Mayor Dayne Walling.
Verna Cowell has lived near the school for more than 70 years.
"Never gave up on the neighborhood," she said. "I thought, 'Why move away?"
Cowell and her neighbors hope this project will spur more growth.
"This is going to help a lot.Hhopefully we will get more help," she said. "I think it's wonderful. A few years ago, they talked about tearing it down, and I wanted to get a brick, but I am so glad they saved it."
Funding for the Oak Street project comes from several sources, including the federal and state government.
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