Flint, MI—The Genesee County Land Bank, in partnership with the city of Flint and Genesee County, has secured $39.5 million for blight elimination.

The announcement came at an Oct. 12, 2022 City Hall press conference, during which officials shared that the money will go toward the demolition of up to 1,910 blighted structures, both commercial and residential, mostly within the city of Flint. 

“You know, I’ve heard it said many times that we can have a dream or wish, but it’s much more like a hallucination if you don’t have the resources to put forth,” said Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley. “This is a great step with a historic movement.”

Funding for the demolitions comes from multiple sources, including $16 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds from the City of Flint, $8 million in ARPA funds from Genesee County, $10 million in grant funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, $4.5 million from the Genesee County Land Bank and the Genesee County Treasurer, and $1 million in Community Project Funding through Congressman Dan Kildee’s office.  

The collective funding will enable the Land Bank to clear 65 percent of its properties in need of demolition within the next four years.

“We are one Genesee County, and we are stronger when we come together as a team,” said Genesee County Commissioner Dominique Clemons. “Working with the city and in conjunction with our philanthropic partners, we’re going to be able to tackle a huge task of helping to eliminate blight here in Flint and Genesee County.” 

Land Bank officials said they determined the 1,910 priority structures out of the organization’s 2,900 unfunded demolitions by collecting property condition information and resident recommendations for demolitions through the Flint Property Portal.  

They then added feedback received from a community survey returned by over 400 respondents asking the Land Bank to prioritize properties that are: directly next door to occupied properties; in areas where more people live and where homes are occupied; near open schools; and fire damaged. 

Collectively this information gave the Land Bank a scoring framework that produced its final list of 1,910 properties, which is now available for review on the Land Bank’s website

The list includes 1,690 residential and 35 commercial demolitions in the City of Flint and 183 residential and 2 commercial demolitions outside the city in Genesee County.  

When asked about what he’d say to residents who are disappointed by what properties didn’t make the demo list, Genesee County Land Bank Director Michael Freeman said his organization had already put the majority of properties that are “demo-worthy” on the list.

But, he added, “it’s not just about demoing properties, it’s also about putting back.”

Freeman said the Land Bank can’t tear down all the properties in its possession, and more, that’s not necessarily what’s best for future use or potential homeowners.

“If it’s a property that is salvageable, we need to try and put that back on the market,” he said.
According to an Oct. 11 press release the Land Bank intends to secure an additional $5.8 million to demolish 505 more blighted structures within the next four years, and a schedule for the demolitions of the first 1,910 blighted properties will be published on the Land Bank’s website soon.

Kate is Flint Beat's associate editor. She joined the team as a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues....