Flint, MI—Residents joined local officials on April 13, 2023 as the Genesee County Land Bank kicked off demolishing blighted properties throughout the county.
This is the first of thousands of planned blighted property demolitions in Flint and Genesee County over the next three years.
“This right here, what they’re doing, is phenomenal,” said Shawn Hairston, the president of the Bel-Aire Woods Neighborhood Association, which encompasses the 1202 W. Home Avenue property being demolished on April 13, 2023.
“Because what they’ve done, it helps this area,” he said. “When you tear down blighted property, it’s making the neighborhood look better, it’s gonna be a little cleaner, and also, it’s gonna be safe.”
Aside from Hairston, representatives from the Genesee County Land Bank (GCLBA), City of Flint, Genesee County, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Michigan State Land Bank Authority also gathered in front of property, bearing witness to Flint’s first blighted, Land Bank-owned structure to be demolished with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.
“Clearing blight will help restore value to communities and create healthier and safer neighborhoods,” said Michael Freeman, the executive director of GCLBA, adding that he was pleased the ARPA-funded demolitions were now underway.
According to an April 12 press release, the Land Bank issued bids on a batch of more than 220 properties in March 2023 and awarded contracts to both North American Dismantling Corporation and Smalley Construction Inc.
The first 176 demolitions are now scheduled or underway and planned to be completed by early June, the release said.
Faith Finholm, the grants manager for GCLBA, confirmed bids for another 119 properties are already listed on the Land Bank’s website and await response from qualified contractors.
Overall, more than 1,900 structures are being prepared for demolition, inclusive of the properties already put out to bid, and the Land Bank plans for all of those structures to be demolished by the end of 2025.
Finholm added that the GCLBA is currently seeking additional funding to reach its goal of demolishing more than 2,400 blighted structures in Flint and Genesee County by the end of 2026, when ARPA funding must be fully spent.
For more information and lists of properties to be demolished, Flint residents can check the the Land Bank’s website or the Flint Property Portal, where properties scheduled for demo will be noted as “Funded” under “Demolition Status.”
Finholm said the GCLBA is also working to create an overall schedule for demolitions that will be shared on its website, as well. Though she did not have an exact date, she said she expected that schedule to be posted soon.