Flint, MI — The City of Flint has contracted with three pest control businesses to remove rats, mice, and other wildlife like raccoons, skunks, and groundhogs from blighted properties.
City officials announced in a July 6, 2023 press conference that they are set to spend up to $75,000 on efforts to remove pests, an ongoing concern in Flint neighborhoods.
The initiative is to prepare for upcoming demolitions of blighted properties throughout the city. Flint’s City Services Manager Arnold Brown said at the press conference that it’s important to have pest control in buildings set to be demolished so that animals don’t invade occupied homes or other areas after the properties are demolished.
“The purpose of this . . . program is to try to make sure that . . . we can contain these rodents,” he said.
Rodent abatement is part of the City of Flint’s partnership with the Genesee County Land Bank to remove an estimated 2000 blighted and hazardous structures in Flint by 2024. The first demolition happened in April 2023.
“We don’t want the collateral damage [of the demolition projects] to be residential blight inside the city because we have an infestation of rodents and we did not take the opportunity to think about that,” said Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley.
Rose Pest Solutions, Landscape Services, Inc., and Griffin Pest Solutions will be contracted with the city on an as-needed basis for services up to $25,000 each.
Rodents in vacant structures have everything they need: food, water and shelter, said Griffin Pest Solutions District Manager Mark Davenport. He added that the animal becomes displaced once the heavy demolition equipment comes in.
“The animal looks for shelter, looks for anything else that they can and that gives that opportunity where they can push into areas we don’t want them,” said Davenport.
The Genesee County Land Bank tracks funded demolition projects, which have been taking place throughout all nine wards in Flint.
As of May 19, 2023, there were scheduled demolitions in all nine wards in Flint:
- 198 scheduled demolitions in Ward 1
- 393 scheduled demolitions in Ward 2
- 458 scheduled demolitions in Ward 3
- 247 scheduled demolitions in Ward 4
- 160 scheduled demolitions in Ward 5
- 115 scheduled demolitions in Ward 6
- 18 scheduled demolitions in Ward 7
- 79 scheduled demolitions in Ward 8
- 60 scheduled demolitions in Ward 9
Of the 1,778 scheduled demolitions on the list, 1,704 of them are residential structures, 42 are commercial and others do not have a category listed.
Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley said pest removal is starting because of the $43.7 million made available to the City of Flint and the Land Bank to demolish more than 2,000 properties in Flint. The funds came from the following:
- $16 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) from the City of Flint
- $8 million in ARPA from the County
- $10 million in grant funding from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
- $4.5 million from the Land Bank and Genesee County Treasurer
- $5 million in Community Project Funding through Congressman Kildee’s office
- $200,000 from the Michigan State Land Bank Authority
Pest control will primarily occur in Flint’s areas where demolition is scheduled. Live trapping and removal will take place the week before a property is set for demolition, as scheduling allows.
Davenport said they will use the most “humane” policies to eliminate pests. He said they will only use poisons when necessary, but they hope to trap and relocate most of the animals. He said he works with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources on release points for animal relocation.
“Each county will take certain amounts of animals per month, depending on what their population levels are,” he said.
The main focus will be the properties set for demolition but if residents have concerns about other properties, officials said they can call the Blight Office at (810) 237-2090 or by filling out the form on the city’s webpage at https://www.cityofflint.com/blight/.