Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Carriage Town in The New York Times


My story on the Carriage Town neighborhood in Flint is up on The New York Time's website, along with several amazing photos like the one above by Fred R. Conrad. It will run in the paper edition on Thursday. Here's an excerpt:
In a worldwide recession, development projects with more than $47 million in public and private financing are in progress or recently completed in the 30-square-block Carriage Town area, including the conversion of the derelict Berridge Hotel into lofts and the ongoing renovation of the long-vacant Durant Hotel into 93 apartments and commercial space. There are even plans for a neighborhood grocery store.

But there’s no denying that Carriage Town is a work in progress, and that those who call it home must deal with challenges like speculators, abandoned houses and lack of code enforcement by the cash-strapped city.

While it is racially and economically diverse, there are few African-American homeowners. Many empty houses sit beside pristinely restored homes. Residents also remember AutoWorld and other once-promising redevelopment failures immortalized two decades ago in Michael Moore’s film “Roger & Me.”

Ken Van Wagoner owns two houses and runs the Good Beans Cafe, which has served as the primary gathering spot for Carriage Town residents since it opened in 2000.

“I’m excited about all the new projects, but I’m also a little wary,” he said. “I can’t help wondering if it will all last. In the same breath, I want Carriage Town to succeed more than anybody.”
Read the complete story here.

16 comments:

  1. One of the best articles on Flint in the Times ever, great job.

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  2. Congratulations Gordy on your excellent piece in the Times. Your portrayal of the strong sense of community that has emerged for the residents of Carriage Town casts positive light on a city in the process of mending itself. The extension of vibrant pedestrian corridors and expansion of the residential base are sure signs that the healing has begun.

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  3. Very nice! A colleague of mine from California saw this article about Flint yesterday, positive stories like this change how people think about our city. Thanks!

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  4. This is an excellent article about urban renewal but this odd statement on page one caught my attention; "While it is racially and economically diverse, there are few African-American homeowners." It is as odd as saying there are few Asian, Hispanic or White homeowners and I wonder why you considered it significant to point out that a particular ethnic group is underrepresented in Carriage Town.

    Monte

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  5. Monte, Flint is a predominantly African American city, so I thought a neighborhood where homeowners are predominantly white was worth noting because it is somewhat unexpected and doesn't jibe with the rest of the city's demographics. (Although there are certainly other neighborhoods in the city that are predominantly one race or the other.)

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  6. A link to the story was posted on Kettering University's website today. David White is Kettering's archivist. I read the whole story without knowing you had written it. I loved the positive spin on Flint, and the photos were cool, too. When I checked the byline, I was happy to see that you were the author. Thanks, Gordie :)

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  7. This was a great article. I think, however, that if a neighborhood has an artsy coffee shop, couples who are composting in their yard, and multiple domestic partners redoing vintage homes the fear of "gentrification" is a little late.

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  8. Great article! I posted it on my facebook and everything.

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  9. Gordon,
    As a Flint native and social media maven, thanks so much for the excellent NYT article on the revitalization of Carriage Town! It seems like everything written about Flint is awful, it's so nice to read about the positive things happening and getting that positive publicity in the NYT, WAY TO GO!

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  10. It's so pleasant to read and hear about positive things happening in Flint...what a relief! Thank you so much Gordie for bringing a little sanity to folks who still live in this besieged city. Much appreciated, friend!

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  11. good job there Sparky! now what about an encore? j/k, GY...more.

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  12. Thanks, Gordie -- I'm joining the chorus late but thoroughly enjoyed it, and saw it posted on at least 10 Facebook pages. As others have noted, what a relief to see a positive portrayal of our town for once. I agree -- those photos were fabulous. The yellow house with its colorful flowers just glowed out of the page. Did the photog come from NY to do that?

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  13. Thanks, and yes, Fred Conrad is a staff photographer with the Times.

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  14. And naturally you took Fred to Angelo's, right Gordo?

    (Hi, Macy.)

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  15. Nice story! I still have yet to see Carriage Town... I usually only go down Detroit Street only.

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