Friday, June 7, 2013

Demolition Funding for Flint and Other Michigan Cities


Much needed funding is headed to Flint and four other Michigan cities to demolish abandoned property.
"Today's announcement that Michigan will receive $100 million in federal funds to clean up blight in communities across the state is welcomed news," said Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint). "Freeing up federal money to revitalize and invest in cities, including both Flint and Saginaw in my congressional district, will strengthen neighborhoods and unlock greater opportunity for all homeowners. Since being sworn into Congress, one of my top priorities has been to secure this money to ensure cities and towns have the resources necessary to remove and repurpose abandoned homes. I'm pleased that the partnership between my office, the State of Michigan and the Treasury Department has resulted in millions of dollars in much-needed funds."

29 comments:

  1. It is probalby a good thing BUT
    I can not get out my mind the histories that went on behind these doors. The stories that these homes could tell. Homes that have more character than McMansions. I remeber finding a veterans sight that even listed the address of the veterans that were killed in WWII....I could use Google Maps to find the address. In most cases the homes were still standing. A home that someone left and never returned too.

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    1. Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City goes into detail about the mixed emotions stirred up by the demolitions. It's a plan that appeals more to the head than the heart. I know it will help the city, but it's still depressing.

      The house in the photo is described briefly in Teardown:

      "The two-story on the corner of Humboldt and West Dayton—known as “the bachelors’ house” because four young guys who were very popular with the ladies lived there—looked like it had been hit by a tornado. The windows were broken, and the front door was wide open, affording a view of the living room where numerous parties had raged."

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  2. I cherish such history, but a trashed, disintegrating house is hardly a fit memorial for the people who earlier lived in it.

    Just as our proper disposal of a worn-out American flag indicates our respect for the country's values, removal of these worn-out houses is the best way to honor the memories with which they're associated. Then those memories can be of happier times.

    Tear them down. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

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  3. So I don't know the real numbers, but let's guess that Flint might get $5 million of the state's $100 million. Per Gordon's $10K/house rule-of-thumb, that'd be about 500 teardowns.

    Roughly how many houses are on the List?

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    1. In 2009, there were roughly 6,000 abandoned homes in Flint. Some of those have been torn down, but there are new ones popping up every day. So whatever the exact numbers, we've got a long way to go and $5 million isn't going to do the job.

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  4. You can see the remnant of a fence to the right in the photo. I still have a scar on my arm from scraping against the fence on the day I learned to ride a bike.

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  5. Remember the criticism that I-69 and I-475 generated when they cut their swaths through the "poorer" sections of Flint, resulting in the demolition of all those houses? I wonder how many more abandoned homes there would be if these highways hadn't been built where the were? Maybe the planners knew something we didn't.

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    1. Dude, that's like saying the Beecher tornado knew what it was doing because it eliminated houses that would have eventually been abandoned.

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    2. Folks,this was my (obviously unsuccessful) attempt at humor.I-475 was built in large part to get Buick car bodies from Fisher 1 to Buick Assembly (not humour).

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  6. "Dandy" Randy HandyJune 8, 2013 at 6:50 AM

    Man, that is quite a conspiracy theory. If they were such seers though they wouldn't have built 475 to begin with.

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  7. The Urban Renewal removed blighted housing, but blighted housing that was mainly OWNED by African American families. They did their best to keep up these houses, but as you know, as things get old, everthing starts to fall apart. But by placing these former owners in poorly constructed so called rental "projects", it took away the pride of ownership. Such disastrous social engineering is the rule, rather than the exception, in many government programs. The result was a totally destabilized relocated population and neighborhoods. The better off people like GM workers ended up much better off in areas like Floral Park and Evergreen Valley, with the pride of ownership that everyone deserves. And living with White people isn't what it's cracked up to be, and integrated neighborhoods took away the support system that known non hostile neighbors provided in the old neighborhoods.

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    1. You beat me to it, Anonymous. For an indepth treatment of this very issue, google "Demolition Means Progress by Andrew Highsmith" and you can read Highsmith's Ph.D. dissertation at UM that chronicles these projects in Flint. Soon, it will be in book form from the University of Chicago Press. Required reading to understand Flint.

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    2. Devil's Lake BottomfeederJune 8, 2013 at 8:39 AM

      For the record, living with Black people sometimes isn't as awesome as advertised either. Race-based beatings of honkies were (and probably still are) not that unusual.*


      Sorry Gordon, but you gotta admit there might be a kernel of truth to this... and stating that there is way more black on white crime† than vice versa does not make one an automatic supporter of Ken's Kustom Kitchens either.


      *Yeah, I know all about the historic and current high crimes of the global white power structure. I'm talking about getting the brakes beat off of ya for being a white boy.

      †No, I don't have any data, but c'mon.

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    3. You are also correct. Much crime is swept under the rug. Frankly, many African Americans don't want forced integration either. I think many of the problems stem from the involuntary nature of the change. People get along a lot better when they find common ground on their own.

      When many Asian Americans began coming to Michigan, I experienced a lot of discrimination as a Caucasian. Asian cashiers assumed that because I was Caucasian, I knew nothing about even basic arithmetic, and would make comments implying that I didn't even know how to make change. That is in a big part due to the way American media portray Americans as intellectually and academically inferior. That situation has gotten much better in recent years though, even despite the media portrayal. The Asian children may study harder, but the longer they are here, the more they get distracted by the same cultural influences responsible for other American children not buckling down and studying more.

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    4. Many were given NEW HUD homes that were neglected, abandoned and torn down a long time ago.

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  8. Oh, I dunno. We've been the only white people on this block for over 30 years & the neighbors we have now are the best ever. We all care about each other, help each other & look out for one another.

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  9. Ursula KoenigschnidtJune 8, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    ... well, sometimes it IS as awesome as advertised. I was pointing out that whilst living with white people might not be all it is cracked out to be, an opposite perspective of Flint's racial divide sometimes results in actual physical hostility.

    Your block has to be one of the only that is better in 2013 than it was in 1983.

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  10. You may have grown up in Flint but you write like a San Francisco dilettante. I just finished Tear Down and it was a real disappointment. I graduated in 64 so maybe different eras see things differently. But if I encountered all the crime and violence that your family suffered in Flint I wouldn't go within a 1000 miles of that pathetic excuse for a city. General Motors didn't cause the demise of Flint, the crime and violence did it long before GM packed up. Plus Kildee and Walling came along long after the city entered its death spiral.

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    1. Sorry you didn't like the book, but thanks for taking the time to read it. It is worth noting that I don't devote much space to why Flint declined. That's old news and many others have covered that ground. It's more a book about what's happening right now in Flint and looking toward the future of the city. But, again, it's a personal take on the city and there are bound to be disagreements. Thanks again.

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    2. Also, sorry it took so long to post your comment. It got spammed for some reason, along with several other legitimate comments, and I just noticed it. Didn't want you to think I was burying a bad review!

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    3. Some of us were apparently isolated from the crime in Flint. I never experienced much of the crime many of you describe, but I moved out in the mid 1980s, and rarely ventured out of the southwest corner. I almost never traveled north of Mott Park, downtown, or the UM-Flint and Mott CC campus areas. Our friends on Pierson Rd. died or moved away. My father retired from the Buick area in 1972, and he would have transferred if he had stayed. My grandmother passed away, and no longer went to her doctor on Broadway near Lewis. It seems that even those who frequented those areas after I left had a harder time. That must be why my perception is so much different than many of you. I remember going up to Freddie's Doughnuts on N. Saginaw and had heard it was a dangerous area. but never had a problem.

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    4. As goes Flint, so goes the nation. It sees to me that what Flint has experienced will swoon be coming to a city near you. I live in California and I've been unemployed for more than 4 years. I am now in school full time, surviving on grants and student loans. I am expecting a 70% VA disability rating to come through anytime now and although I've never been to Michigan, I am seriously considering a reconnaissance mission to Flint. This will be a home buying expedition. Instead of living in denial of what appears to be the decline of the American way of life, I am going to meet it head on. I will own my $15000 home free and clear and while the rest of America keeps it's blinders on, I will be learning to survive in post industrial America. I get the feeling that there is a real sense of community among those who remain in Flint. The kind of community that only develops through shared pain. The kind of community I long for. If fail to find it there, I intend to create it :)

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  11. Living in Luxembourg for the last 19 years, it always surprises my how they take the a really historical - meaning 1600s and destroy it for new Dallas Style architecture which lives will shorter than the the genesee twin towers. Also, I noticed that the house in the picture has its original slate roof....niiiice....how long do tar papaer shingles last anyway?

    But I conceed....demolition in Flint's case is probably the right road. It is just a pitty that these homes can not be transformed...or at least some of them.

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  12. Funny how U of M people will tear down any old building in Flint in their way while fighting to keep every clunky building in Ann Arbor intact as historical. I have no doubt that that house with all the junk in it would have court orders to stop demolition if it were in AA. Then they have the audacity to suggest that the houses in Woodcroft Estates are on lots that are too large. And people think U types have all the answers?

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    1. I get the feeling that U of M wishes both of their satellite campuses(Flint and Dearborn) had never happened.

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  13. The bringing down of WFUM-TV is one of the saddest chapters in Ann Arbor strong arming history. Basically, WFUM-TV had two things working against it. It was too far away for the U Forces to totally control it, and couldn't be located close enough to Ann Arbor to have an overwhelming over the air signal there. Now, it's just a satellite of a Mt. Pleasant based institution! Perhaps becoming independent of Ann Arbor, like Oakland University did years ago from MSU, would help. Branch campuses, especially ones that fill an important niche, like UM-Flint does, do not exist just for the glory of the mother campus.

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  14. Gary Indiana offers vacant houses for a dollar. No stinking red smoke belching steel mills=another city in decline. Pollution was powers of ten worse than Flint ever was.

    http://posttrib.suntimes.com/news/lake/20517084-418/gary-offering-vacant-homes-for-a-dollar.html

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  15. Nope, they still do a lot of steel in Gary. The US Steel plant is one of the biggest in the US. Pollution is still bad there. Hopefully you aren't arguing in favor of low air quality standards. Saying that you can't have jobs without horrible pollution is a weak position.

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  16. It's depressing and ridiculous. I see TONS of abandoned houses, not only in Flint where I grew up, but other places I've lived since, including here in Texas. Many can't be saved as they are beyond repair, but so many CAN be saved, and with so many homeless in this country, including homeless veterans, I don't understand why we can't exercise our powers of eminent domain to help people who are homeless (sorry if that p***es you off, republicans, sometimes "giveaways" are necessity). It's just sad. And no i'm not sorry if I offended a Republican who may have read this.

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