New life for vacant Calvin Coolidge Elementary School in Flint thanks to state grant

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FLINT (WJRT) (6/26/2018) - A $16.5 million project to breathe new life into a vacant Flint elementary school got a significant boost Monday from the Michigan Community Revitalization Program.

Communities First Inc. plans to turn the empty Calvin Coolidge Elementary School at 3701 Van Buren Ave. into 54 affordable rental housing units with commercial space on the first floor.

The state will provide $1 million toward the project if the developer meets certain goals outlined in an agreement, including the creation of 12 full-time equivalent jobs.

Glenn Wilson, president and CEO of Communities First, earlier said the project is close to his heart. In 1992, his brother, sister and cousin died in a house fire on Mallery Street.

Since all three of them attended Coolidge Elementary, a tree was planted at the school that still stands. Wilson has said the project to reuse the school will keep their memories alive.

"I believe that preserve a building, you preserve a memory. Just like with this school here. This is preserving some of the fondest memories of my brother and sister and my cousin," Wilson said last summer.

Communities First already has completed transformations of Oak School and the Swayze Building in Flint.

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