New Era Group attracts nearly 100 community, state leaders - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

New Era Group attracts nearly 100 community, state leaders

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(12/09/13) - Monday, more than 100 people came together to come up with a plan to revitalize downtown Saginaw.

The goal behind the Saginaw Community Summit is part of an effort to attract more people to the heart of the city.

Community leaders at that meeting said it's all about bringing back a new Saginaw.

They're going to do that by improving an area that some people say has divided the city for years.

For the past month, members of the New Era Group have listened to what people in the city had to say about ways to make downtown Saginaw a more thriving place.

Part of that plan is centered around the riverfront near Janes Street.

"It got a lot of people excited to actually use the river instead of turning their back on it, which the city has done for a long time only because it's been industrial," said Sarah Lewis, who's helping with the project.

People also said that live entertainment would keep them coming downtown.

"Some of the things to do year-round, so some of the pictures that you'll see really speak to what the possibilities are for entertainment for housing, for transportation and ways for people to get around," said Kim Butler, with the New Era Group.

The goal is to take those ideas and start coming up with an action plan on how to move forward.

Congressman Dan Kildee wants more support from the federal government when it comes to funding.

"From the federal standpoint, I believe we need to invest more in our older cites, that's why I went after the so-called 'hardest hit funds' to bring what ultimately was $11 million to Saginaw to clear away blight and abandonment. That's a way to re-set the table and market so that some of the new initiatives have a better chance of taking root," he said.

"The citizens of this city, they want to see the city recover, they love to see the city of Saginaw just as we do and this is an opportunity for us to help the citizens get what they deserve to have," Butler said.

Kildee says the city will have a much easier time getting the resources when a community has a vision like this.

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