Flint, MI—The Genesee County Land Bank Authority is seeking public feedback on proposed asbestos cleanup options for two duplexes in Flint’s Grand Traverse District.

Informational sessions for the vacant duplexes at 509 and 513 W. Seventh St. will be held on March 16 and March 18 over Zoom. They will cover plans presented in an Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives, or ABCA.

“(Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives) is a mouthful,” said Faith Finholm, Grants Manager for the Genesee County Land Bank Authority. “But it’s a requirement for the grant that we would like to use to clean up the asbestos at these two properties.”

The ACBA for the duplexes was prepared by Mannik and Smith Group out of Canton, Mich., and considers three “cleanup alternatives” for the properties. 

Those alternatives are no action; asbestos abatement and demolition; and asbestos abatement, structure rehabilitation, and renovation.

Mannik and Smith recommend the second alternative—abatement and demolition—as it is the most cost-effective option while achieving the project’s goal of “creating an interim green space.”

Finholm explained the project’s goal is creating green space because both parcels are designated as “Green Neighborhood 2” in Flint’s Master Plan. That means they can be used for single-family residential units, medium-impact urban agriculture, small scale wind or solar systems, or other uses. By creating green space, the GCBLA hopes to best position the properties for their future buyers.

Finholm noted that the duplex project is important because the GCLBA is funding it and other such cleanup efforts through a particular Environmental Protection Agency grant relegated specifically for that use.

Finholm said the $800,000 grant is targeted at hazardous waste and petroleum cleanup projects in the Master Plan‘s “Innovation District”—an area which “encompasses Downtown, the University Avenue Core, the Institutional Campus and is anchored on Center Road and Ballenger Highway by commerce and employment centers,” she said.

Finholm stressed that much of the cleanup work under this grant will be for commercial properties rather than residential, but she said she is “happy to hear from community members if they’re aware of projects loosely within those boundaries” at the upcoming information sessions.

The Innovation District as depicted in Flint’s Master Plan, which was adopted in 2017 by the Flint Planning Commission. (City of Flint)

“We just did a big push to get community input on how to prioritize demolitions when we have limited dollars,” Finholm said. “And, you know, that’s easy for people to understand. That’s easy for them to be involved in. But when you start talking about EPA grants? It gets technical.”

That’s why Finholm is hosting multiple information sessions for this duplex project: to talk about the limitations of the EPA grant that makes it possible.

The grant can be used for site assessment and cleanup of specific contaminants such as asbestos and petroleum, said Finholm, but it cannot pay for demolition.

“We plan to use other grant funding—City of Flint Community Development Block Grant Dollars—to complete the demolition after the EPA grant pays for asbestos abatement,” she added.

“Information sessions are me trying to make myself available to the public, so that if they have questions … they can come and ask them and get an understanding for what we’re doing and why we’re doing it,” Finholm said.

More information about the ACBA for the duplex project, along with a form to submit public comment, can be found on the Genesee County Land Bank Authority’s website

The GCLBA’s information sessions will take place on 16 from 9-11 a.m. and March 18 from 3-5 p.m. Zoom information for those meetings can be found here.

Public comment for the project will be accepted until 3 p.m. on March 23, 2022.

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....

2 replies on “Land Bank seeks feedback on asbestos cleanup plan for Flint properties”

  1. It’d be great to see these buildings restored. We’ve such a lack of quality new housing in Flint and we need more units!

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