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Flint, Saginaw Kick Off New Blight Removal Efforts

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Flint (Credit: City of Flint Facebook)

Flint (Credit: City of Flint Facebook)

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SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) – Officials in the Saginaw and Flint areas on Monday are kicking off a new round of blight removal efforts using their share of $100 million in federal aid for Michigan.

“Blight Blitz” work begins in the Saginaw area, which got $11.2 million, and in the Flint area, which received $20.1 million. Officials in both cities describe the work as their largest in the fight against residential blight. Targeted are 950 homes in Saginaw and 1,600 in Flint.

“This is the largest single award of blight eradication money to Flint at one time and will be a big strike at the blight that undermines too many neighborhoods,” Flint Mayor Dayne Walling said in a statement. “We hope this encourages the people who live in our neighborhoods to take heart and continue revitalizing their communities.”

With the Saginaw demolitions, officials said crews will eliminate about 50 percent of the city’s 1,800 abandoned properties. The Flint-area effort aims to demolish roughly a quarter of the city’s 5,600 abandoned homes. Demolitions are expected to take place in groups.

Earlier this year, Gov. Rick Snyder announced that the U.S. Treasury Department approved aid to demolish abandoned buildings and fight blight in five Michigan cities. Funding included $52.3 million for Detroit, $3.7 million for Pontiac and $2.5 million for Grand Rapids.

“By working together at the ground level, we will reverse the challenges caused by blight,” said Scott Woosley, executive director of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

The rest of the aid is to go to a reserve fund for additional demolition, the state has said.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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