Thursday, July 24, 2014

Help Fight Blight and Spur Revival in Flint



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.”

2 comments:

  1. I delivered the Flint Journal to that block in 1982-1983 and used the money to fund my year with AFS as an exchange student in Denmark. I'll definitely be donating in thanks to the Mayfields and their neighbors who funded my dream and changed my life.

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    Replies
    1. Amy, thanks for commenting. That's great to hear. These blocks really do have a history and a lot of memories. I hope we can help preserve Parkbelt Drive by getting rid of this house.

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