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Genesee County Land Bank Authority under new leadership, wants Flint residents to weigh in on blight elimination plans

A Flint house on Arlington Avenue that neighbors have been complaining about caught fire Monday...
A Flint house on Arlington Avenue that neighbors have been complaining about caught fire Monday night.
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 5:15 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - The people of Flint have weighed in, and reducing blight is high on the list in order to improve neighborhoods. More dilapidated structures will be coming down thanks to a $450,000 Focus on Flint grant from the Mott Foundation.

“In the spirit of that grant we’re actually going back to the community to say now you spoke on how you want that money spent, now help us figure out the criteria of how to choose which houses we can demolish with those funds,” said Michael Freeman, executive director of the Genesee County Land Bank Authority.

Out of 2,900 blighted properties with structures on them, Freeman says only 30 to 35 will be covered by the funding. It costs roughly $11,000 to $13,000 to demolish each home. The cost can increase depending on how much environmental remediation or other services are needed.

“All we can do is work at trying to deal with the problem and to identify additional funding sources,” Freeman said. “Mott Foundation has been a tremendous resource for us.”

The Genesee County Land Bank Authority is asking residents which houses they want to see go first. A survey asks questions like, “How important is it to prioritize burned-out houses over houses in sub-standard condition or blighted houses close to open schools?

With this kind of approach Freeman, who’s been in the position since May, is hoping to lead the Land Bank in a different direction.

“It’s a brand new team and it’s a brand new perspective. It’s also the best that the Land Bank had, but it’s also new vision, new purpose,” Freeman said.

As the team works through a heavy backlog caused by the pandemic, the Flint native is happy to not only find ways to get rid of eyesores, but to find ways to reinvest into the community.

“There’s frustrated people out there who -- you know -- they’re tired of looking at that blighted house,” Freeman said. “They’re tired of people dumping on properties, and I guess, the thing that’s important to know is that I understand that, and those things make me mad, too.”

To weigh-in on which dilapidated properties you’d like to see demolished, visit here.

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