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Clean and Green program works to rid Flint of blight

Clarence Campbell mows the lawn at a vacant lot in Flint.
Clarence Campbell mows the lawn at a vacant lot in Flint.
Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 6:06 PM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) -(05/11/21)-The smell of fresh cut grass hangs in the air on Dakota street this afternoon.

“Cleaned up the trash, you’ve mowed the grass, you edged it. You weed wacked it and it just looks like home,” said Flint native, Clarence Campbell.

Clarence Campbell has been working to clean up Flint--- one lawn, one vacant, overgrown lot at a time.

“In fact, my email is fight against blight,” he said.

The Flint native spent 30 years away from his beloved city before returning home in 2009. He says it looked nothing like that the neighborhoods he remembered.

“You heard about it on the news. You saw it on tv, but when you drive down the streets and you see it with your own eyes, its rather troubling,”

Campbell knew he possessed a set of skills that could make a difference.

“I had my own mowing business since I was 12 years old. So mowing is what I do,” Campbell said.

In the beginning-- back in 2013-- Campbell started cutting the grass in his Flint neighborhood on his own.

“Cause the grass was just unbearable and then I learned about the Clean and Green program,”

“I think it’s one of the most important programs that we do,” said Genesee County Executive Director, Michael Freeman

Michael Freeman is the Executive Director of the Genesee County Landbank-- where the Clean and Green program was launched. The goal--- to remove blight from Flint through partnerships and organizations, with members like Campbell .

“We 69 organizations that we are working with and will be taking care of roughly 3,700 properties in our portfolio. And that represents about one third of the properties in the city of Flint. So this is making a huge difference,” Freeman said.

Today’s project has special meaning for Campbell. He dedicated it to his late wife-- another reason why he says he’ll continue the work-- until every single blade grass, on every unattended lawn is taken care of.

“I’m the grass keeper of Ward 4. Well most of it anyway,” Campbell said.

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