Flint to participate in Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initia - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Flint to participate in Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative

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(01/16/14) - The Obama Administration says Flint is among seven U.S. cities that will participate in a program meant to spur economic growth in the area.

It's part of the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative.

The goal is to help the city recover by bringing jobs and other economic growth to the area.

Employees from different federal agencies will come in to provide expertise on how to successfully apply for federal grants.

The secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says those employees will team up inside city hall for about two years. They'll give advice on how to get local projects off the ground and create jobs.

The team will be made up of two full-time federal employees and other part-timers.

HUD says there's a great need for this kind of help in Flint.

"This is critically important because in these critical times, municipalities don't have money to waste or throw at every problem. One of the things that really impressed us about Flint is that there is a brand new master plan called Imagine Flint that was put together, and really from like a clear roadmap strategy for the city, that we really felt that we could be helpful on," said Shaun Donovan, of the U.S. Dept. of HUD.

Congressman Dan Kildee released a statement that says, in part, "This will help coordinate and direct federal programs and investments to spark additional economic growth and opportunity in Flint".

Flint city leaders say this will help them concentrate on three areas that are a part of the master plan.

"Public safety, blight elimination and neighborhood stabilization and economic development around the Brownfield free developments that we're trying to evolve, for example, Buick City, and bring more jobs into Flint," Megan Hunter, Flint director of planning and development.

This project is going to have a tremendous impact on the people who live here, including Livia Montae, who says the crime has gotten so out of hand that she's afraid to leave her home.

"Flint used to be the most beautiful city," she said.

Montae can't say the same thing anymore about her city that she has called home for the past 13 years.

"It breaks my heart because every other house I see boarded up and the crime has run rapid. Children can't play outside. Elderly people like myself are afraid to drive anywhere at night, and it hurts me because I used to love to walk downtown," she said.

The federal employees are expected to start around March.

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