Doug Sanders, who just might have shorter hair now, provided this gem.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Saturday, August 23, 2014
The fundraising campaign to demolish 6608 Parkbelt Drive in Flint in now complete. More than 150 donors gave everything from $1 to $1,000 to help us reach our goal. In the end, we raised $11,113. It's a reminder that even people who haven't lived in Flint for years still want to do their part to help all the current residents who are doing such inspiring work in the city. Flint has a storied past, but I think this shows that it also has a future.
“The land bank is very grateful to all the generous donors who have contributed and made this campaign a success,” said Douglas Weiland, executive director of the Genesee County Land Bank. “You can rest assured that the results in this one neighborhood will not only be significant in eliminating this blighted house and the detrimental effect it has had, but it is also a great reflection on our society that people still come to the aid of others that they don’t even know. The neighborhood residents will benefit from your generosity for years to come.”
Here is the tentative schedule for the demolition of the house provided by the land bank:
September: Complete all demolition inspections, surveys, and request utility cuts.
November/December: Pending utility cuts, complete demolition, backfill lot, and complete winter grade inspection
May: Complete final grade, seed, and mulch lot. Conduct final inspection.
June: Make lot available for sale as a side lot to eligible adjacent homeowner.
Thanks again to everyone who contributed to the campaign. They are listed below using their Indiegogo username.
Beth and John Kirkpatrick
Carlo & Cindy
The Coyne Family
Thursday, August 21, 2014
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
I'm not above taking a certain perverse pride in growing up in a tough, unpredictable city. But MLive's Blake Thorne explains why the t-shirts, stickers, and hats that glorify the violence that plagues Flint are far from funny:
The real subject of this apparel was Flint's violent reputation. I'm sure you've seen it before. It's been around, there are several iterations. Some shirts say "Murderville" or "most violent city," some simply have the word "Flint" alongside a drawing of a handgun or a bullet hole.
Bang bang. You're dead. People get killed here. Funny, huh?
Sure, they're meant to be jokes, a tongue-in-cheek riff on Flint's violent reputation. Maybe at first they seemed funny, or clever. That one where the "L" in Flint is a sideways gun. That's kind of cute, right?
But somewhere along the line, these shirts -- or hats or stickers or whatever -- have lost their cultural cachet. There was a time, maybe, when making a joke about murder was the only comfort in an endless winter of senseless violence. Some people might still feel this way.
Read the rest here.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
Mission accomplished! Thanks to all the generous donors who made this possible. It’s a great example of people coming together to prove that American cities like Flint have a future and not just a storied past.
And a special thanks to the residents of Flint who have not given up on the Vehicle City, especially the homeowners on Parkbelt Drive. Crystal Ashburn-Brown just texted me: “Wow, I am sooooo happy! Parkbelt Drive says thank you to all the donors.”
A bit of housekeeping…the campaign will stay open for the full 30 days as originally planned. Any donations over the $10,000 goal will also be given to the Genesee County Land Bank Authority to cover any extra costs associated with demolishing 6608 Parkbelt Drive and/or the land bank’s other work in Flint and the rest of Genesee County. Donate here.
Thanks again for all the support. It’s great to know that so many care about Flint’s past, present, and future.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Thanks to Uko Oshima for this 1969 photo of his father's judo club shortly after it moved from 2nd Avenue and Saginaw street to the corner of Davison and Iowa on the East Side.
In many ways, shrinking cities like Flint don't have a functioning real estate market, because supply is so high and demand is so, so low.
Miami doesn't really have a housing market as we would traditionally define it, but for the opposite reason.
Henry Grabar at Salon reports:
"But the crop of downtown Miami condos from the last cycle, according to the Downtown Development Authority, are over 95-percent occupied, whether by part-time owners or, more likely, by tenants. Miami neighborhoods may lack the organic texture of 57th Street or Mayfair, but their buildings are not lacking for people.
"Is it crazy to add 23,000 units – the crop of the current cycle – to a market with scant local demand, in a metro area with the highest foreclosure rate in the United States? Is downtown Miami a bubble?
“'Greater Downtown Miami is always in a bubble,' the report finds, 'because 90 percent of the demand is external, and hence not tied to economic fundamentals.'
"Whereas a traditional housing market draws its strength from job growth and new residents, 'safe haven' housing markets are fueled by global instability. And there’s certainly plenty of that to go around."
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Go here to donate
I’m Gordon Young and four generations of my family lived in Flint, Michigan. This is a crowdfunding campaign to help my hometown and a group of residents raise money to demolish a single abandoned, burned-out house on an otherwise healthy vibrant block.
The money you donate will enable the Genesee County treasurer and the Genesee County Land Bank Authority to tear down the burned out house at 6608 Parkbelt Drive in the North End of Flint and maintain the lot or deed it to a neighbor who will take care of it.
Obviously, this won’t solve all of Flint’s problems, but it will be a huge help to longtime, dedicated Parkbelt homeowners like Paulette Mayfield and Crystal Ashburn, who have watched the house decay, attract squatters and drug users, and ultimately catch on fire. And your donation will play a role in helping Flint transform itself into a smaller, greener, more viable city.
“One abandoned and blighted house on a well-maintained block can destabilize the whole neighborhood," said Doug Weiland, executive director of the land bank. "Demolishing this newly foreclosed house sooner rather than later will help to stem the cycle of decline and send a message to surrounding homeowners that their neighborhood is worth investing in."
Like a lot of Rust Belt cities, Flint has suffered through deindustrialization and all the problems that come with it. The birthplace of General Motors had one of the highest per capita income levels in the nation in the sixties. But after losing more than 70,000 automotive jobs, Flint has struggled with population loss, budget cuts, and unemployment. Thousands of abandoned houses attract crime, depress property values, and destabilize neighborhoods.
In order to reinvent itself, Flint has to get rid of these houses, but it doesn’t have the money to demolish the thousands of structures that are too far gone to save. What it does have are inspiring, dedicated people who call Flint home. They’ve never given up on the city and they are still working hard to make it a better place.
"When I was young, I loved the early mornings on this block," Parkbelt homeowner Paulette Mayfield said. "My mom was an early riser. She would always get up and sit in the front window and read her Bible. Then all of the kids on the block would get up, grab something to eat, and be out on the street on their bikes. It was a just a warm, friendly neighborhood. It still is and we want to keep it that way.”