Flint, MI — The Flint Housing Commission (FHC) is seeking input on a plan to relocate and expand River Park Apartments, a more than 170-unit housing complex on the city’s north side.

FHC received a $500,000 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant from the federal government in late 2022.

The grant, awarded to just nine communities last year, is meant to “support the development of comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plans” with a focus on transforming a neighborhood with not only housing, but also people and opportunities in mind.

“River Park and what we are calling the Northeast Flint area needs a long-term solution,” Jason Borror, FHC’s Director of Development, told Flint Beat in an email. “We know the property is reaching the end of its useful life to provide quality affordable housing. We are not seeking a rehab solution. The goal is to build new housing and introduce mixed incomes.”

Borror said FHC has already been meeting with key stakeholders, including River Park residents, on early ideas for the new, mixed-income development. But now, the commission is inviting others into that conversation at an upcoming public meeting.

“We are encouraging those with a vested interest in the area to participate in a discussion. We expect to have representation from community groups, businesses, organizations, governmental bodies and resident representatives from River Park in attendance,” Borror said.

The meeting will be held at the Gloria Coles Flint Public Library at 1 p.m. on Oct. 17, 2023.

“Where the new housing is built is the most important issue to be addressed through this planning process,” Borror noted. “From there, we will focus on making sure the neighborhood where new housing is built has the amenities to support a high quality community.”

A map of the target area for the Choice Neighborhoods planning grant that the Flint Housing Commission has received for River Park Townhouses’ redevelopment on the northeast side of Flint, Mich. (Image courtesy Flint Housing Comission)

The target area for the new River Park development is bounded by Carpenter Road to the north, West Stewart Avenue to the south, Branch Road to the east, and Dupont Street to the west. 

Borror said this first meeting will cover what the commission knows about the target neighborhood through data collection followed by a discussion of assets and areas of opportunity within that neighborhood.

“This Choice Planning grant process is fluid and organic. There is not a predetermined plan for what will be done,” Borror emphasized, adding that all input is “welcome and appreciated.” 

The goal of the planning process will be to develop what the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) calls a “Transformation Plan.” That plan will become the basis for a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant application to support making the River Park’s redevelopment a reality.

FHC and the city of Flint previously received such an implementation grant to relocate Atherton East and its residents in 2018, a construction and transition process that is still ongoing.

The commission’s first draft of the River Park Transformation Plan is due to HUD in June 2024, with its final draft due in December of that same year.

Borror said FHC will continue to host input meetings throughout the coming months, though those dates and times have not yet been set.

“A plan that truly represents the desires of the community and has the support of the community will be most successful,” he said.

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....