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Fighting blight in Flint, one house at a time

Fight Blight and Spur Revival in Flint campaign

Tackling the issue of blight in urban communities is incredibly challenging.

Recently, the city of Flint, with the help of the Genesee County Land Bank, has torn down 600 properties in its effort to demolish more than 1,500 blighted homes in the city.

It’s part of the Michigan Blight Elimination plan, with support from the Hardest Hit federal grant fund.

Doug Weiland, executive director of Genesee County Land Bank, joined us on Stateside to talk about the plan’s priority and progress.

Meanwhile, some people are taking a very personal approach to dealing with blight in Flint.

There’s a crowdfunding campaign going on right now that hopes to raise $10,000 to tear down a single crumbling home on Parkbelt Drive. 

Gordon Young is spearheading the project. He’s the author of the book “Teardown: Memoir of A Vanishing City” and he runs the Flint Expatriates blog. He’s joined today by Crystal Ashburn-Brown, a resident of Flint who lives on Parkbelt Drive.

Young said what he wanted to accomplish through the campaign is to connect with residents like Crystal and focus on something manageable that one person can start.

That’s why he concentrated on one house – it's the only abandoned one on the block.

“I came to realize just how insidious these houses can be. One abandoned house can drag down the whole neighborhood … we wanted to tackle this one small problem before it expands,” Young said.

*Listen to the full interview on Stateside today at 3:00 pm. Audio for this story will be added by 4:30 pm.

Stateside is produced daily by a dedicated group of producers and production assistants. Listen daily, on-air, at 3 and 9 p.m., or subscribe to the daily podcast wherever you like to listen.
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