Welcome to the official Blog for the City of Flint, Michigan

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What Is Neighborhood Action?

Neighborhood Action is about citizens defining Flint’s future and creating a common foundation for economic development, public safety, and other community improvements. Neighborhood Action is designed to allow residents the opportunity to help guide the deployment of limited resources in ways that best meet their needs and desires. It is a citywide initiative that covers every ward and builds on the assets of every area. Phase one is aimed at identifying strategic priorities and discussing assets and challenges. Phase two is centered on turning priorities into projects and assets into action items. Phase three is focused on outlining resources and accountability to ensure the neighborhood plans are implemented.
Neighborhood Action is about partnerships. Joining with Mayor Walling and the City of Flint Department of Community and Economic Development are a number of partners including: Neighborhoods Small Grants Program Advisory Committee of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint; The Ruth Mott Foundation Applewood Initiative for Gardening and Community; Resource Genesee; and UM-Flint Outreach.

Neighborhood Action Phase One Sessions
The purpose of the first phase was to introduce Neighborhood Action to every ward. Neighborhood Action sessions were held in each of the city’s 9 wards between October 1, 2009 and December 16, 2009 with the active participation of each ward’s councilperson. Plus a session was held with high school students and another with college students. More than 600 residents participated in the process. Every session started with participants introducing themselves and sharing one thing that they are proud of about Flint. Also as part of every session, Mayor Dayne Walling introduced key members of his administration, who provided brief remarks and answered questions.
The core of the sessions was the discussions among the groups of citizens. Residents were asked to rank their needs according to importance. They were given 7 options, including a box for other, ranging from Public Safety to Parks, Trails, and Recreation. Public Safety and Economic Development emerged as the top two concerns of residents the City of Flint.
Next, residents listed assets and challenges in their ward. Neighborhood schools emerged as assets in many of the nine wards. Closed school buildings, as well as empty lots where business once stood, emerged as opportunities for reuse and redevelopment in most of the wards. A lot of interest was expressed in finding more recreational opportunities for the youth. Included on the following pages is a summary of each of the 9 Neighborhood Action Sessions.

Looking Ahead
The data gathered from these Neighborhood Action sessions is being reviewed by the volunteers for the ward work groups. The information will become the foundation of the neighborhood action plans that will be drafted in phase two. During this next phase, a follow-up session will be held in each of the three areas of every ward plus one for downtown. The purpose is to generate ideas to help build on the assets and identify specific action items that will provide solutions to address the ward by ward challenges.

Neighborhood Action Phase II Begins Thursday In The 3rd Ward

Residents of Flint's 3rd Ward will kick off the next phase of Neighborhood Action Sessions. The meeting will be held Thursday, January 28, 2010 at 5:30 at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church on East Stewart Avenue.

In this next phase, the city will hold a session in each of the three areas of every ward plus one for downtown. That's correct, 28 meetings across the city between now and the end of March. The purpose is to generate ideas to help build on the assets and identify specific action items that will provide solutions to address the ward by ward challenges. These assets and challenges were identified by third ward residents during Phase I of Neighborhood Action.

The following is data collected from the Phase I Ward 3 session.

Ward 3
The 3rd ward neighborhood action session was held on December 7, 2009 at Berston Field House. More than 40 residents, city staff and facilitators came together to engage in discussion about the direction of the 3rd ward and the City of Flint as a whole.

During the brief introductions everyone was ask to name 1 thing that made them proud in the City of Flint. Many residents in the 3rd ward were proud to be lifelong Flint residents. They were proud of their community’s willingness to stick together during good and bad times. They also echoed the sentiments of residents in wards 1 and 2 by expressing their hopefulness of new opportunities for the city under the leadership of Mayor Walling.

Assets and Opportunities
• Max Brandon Park and Berston Field house emerged as the main assets cited by the 3rd ward residents. They are both viewed as places that provide recreational opportunities, sports and picnic area. Residents also saw an opportunity in Berston Field House to add more outside lighting, senior programs and recreation;
• The one thing 3rd ward residents say their community is missing and so desperately needs is a full service grocery store;
• Residents also want to see Leith Street opened as a way to drive more business development in the area;
• These residents also expressed an interest in the redevelopment of the empty lots for possible community gardens, new housing, or housing for the homeless.
• The churches and the police mini-station were also viewed as assets in the 3rd ward.

Strategic Priorities
The following listed in the order of importance from greatest to least is what 3rd ward residents would like to see city government concentrate its efforts on.
1. Public Safety
2. Economic Development
3. Infrastructure
4. New/Improved Housing Options
5. Human Services (specifically related to senior citizens)
6. Parks, Trails, and Recreation
7. Building and Property Code Enforcement

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hope For Haiti Citywide Gospel Event

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling joined State Representative Woodrow Stanley and others to announce details of Flint's "Hope For Haiti" relief effort. The citywide event will take place Thursday, January 28, 2010 at the House Of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church in Flint. Musical guests include: Antwan Stanley; Sherwood Pea; Uplifted; and the House Of Prayer Mass Choir among others. The community is asked to come out and support this effort to help the Haitian people during their time of crisis. A goodwill offering will be collected and all proceeds will go to the American Red Cross to aid in their relief efforts in Haiti. The following is video from today's press conference.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mayor Dayne Walling Emcee's 25th Annual Martin Luther King Community Celebration

Mayor Dayne Walling was the emcee for the 25th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration at the Flint Public Library.

It was an overflow crowd Monday afternoon at the library as people of all races gathered to honor the memory and the legacy of Dr. King.

Flint Native and award winning children's Author Paul Christopher Curtis provided the keynote address.

Flint Southwestern High School Senior Terrance Patton-Hill did a very impressive oration of Dr. King's most famous speech "I Have A Dream."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling In Pittsburgh Discussing Flint's Transformation

In the city of Pittsburgh, PA Mayor Dayne Walling shares his vision for transforming Flint into a 21st Century sustainable city with new jobs, safe neighborhoods and great schools.

Here is the article on Mayor Walling's visit that appeared in today's edition of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Flint mayor comes to Pittsburgh to discuss plan for Michigan city
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
By Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

If you think your town has it tough, check out Flint, Mich., where one in four people are unemployed and one-third of the land is vacant.

Those grim numbers don't deter Flint's new mayor, Dayne Walling, who will be in Pittsburgh tonight talking about his efforts to transform the town of 114,000 with an audience that would like to make some of the same ideas work here.

Here's one of the 35-year-old mayor's plans: Use sewage to generate electrical power. Mr. Walling is working with a Swedish company to turn methane from human waste into power that will be coursing through municipal buildings' wires soon, then hopefully those of private businesses.

Here's another: Craft a first-in-decades plan for redeveloping Flint. That's one thing members of Pittsburgh Councilman William Peduto's Guyasuta Fellowship will hear about at 6 p.m. in Council Chamber on the 5th floor of the City-County Building.

"Citizens in Flint know that as mayor, I can't change international trade laws or the national economy," Mr. Walling said yesterday. What he can do is end crisis politics that left past mayors "focused on short-term fixes and managing decline. ... My approach is you need to rebuild a foundation for the future."

Flint's history mirrors Pittsburgh's, without, so far, the semi-happy ending. Big steel's collapse foreshadowed the auto industry's blowout, but Pittsburgh became the most livable city, while Forbes magazine in 2008 ranked Flint as the third most miserable. The Flint region's unemployment rate is more than double that of the Pittsburgh region.

Just as Pittsburgh had two quick mayoral transitions in 2006, ending with Luke Ravenstahl, 29, as mayor, Flint had three mayors last year, with Mr. Walling winning an August election.

"This community came out in a special election and voted me into office, 64 to 36 percent," Mr. Walling said. "There are very high expectations for what my new administration will be able to accomplish."

Flint has been buying around 1,000 vacant homes a year. Mr. Walling held meetings in all nine wards to get thoughts on what to do with that land. Next up: development of 10 action items for each of 28 neighborhoods. Then comes a summit leading to a plan for bringing together federal funds, neighborhood ideas and environmental entrepreneurship.

"We will begin, for the first time in over 30 years, the process of developing a new comprehensive master plan for the city of Flint," he said.

Mr. Peduto met Mr. Walling in September and was impressed by his enthusiasm.

"He speaks confidently about how there is this great opportunity to turn things around for Flint," Mr. Peduto said.

The Guyasuta Fellowship, created by Mr. Peduto but funded privately, includes young people who are studying the economics of environmentalism and community recovery, and who will report to council in the spring. Mr. Walling's presentation is free and open to the public.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Congratulations Mark Ingram, Jr.

Congratulations Mark Ingram, Jr. and the Alabama Crimson Tide football team on your National Championship Victory!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Preliminary Crime Numbers For 2009 Show Small Signs Of Improvement

The preliminary crime numbers for 2009 reflect a decrease in criminal activity in the City of Flint with the exception of murders and larceny. There were a total of 11,430 crimes committed in the city of Flint in 2009 compared to 12,507 crimes committed in 2008. This reflects an 8% decrease in crime from year to year.

Here are the crime statistics for 2009.

Murder up 5.7%
Rape down 8.8%
Robbery down 13.2%
Aggravated Assault down 15.2%
Burglary down 7.5%
Larceny up 0.1%
Motor Vehicle Theft down 19.6%
Arson down 6.1%
Simple Assaults down 10.2%

Mayor Dayne Walling Unviels His Top 10 Priorities For 2010

Top Ten Priorities for Mayor Dayne Walling and the City of Flint for 2010

1. Reduce crime by 10 %
The preliminary crime numbers for 2009 reflect a decrease in criminal activity in the City of Flint with the exception of murders and larceny.
Murders up 5.7%; Larceny up .1%; Rapes down 8.8%; Robbery down 13.2%;
Aggravated assaults down 15.2%; Burglary down 7.5%; Arson down 6.1%;
Motor Vehicle Theft down 19.6%; Simple Assaults down 10.2%
The goal is to decrease all crime in the city by 10% in 2010. We will achieve this through the implementation of community policing reforms and targeted neighborhood sweeps.

2. Decrease number of unemployed residents in the City of Flint
Current unemployment rate for the city stands at 26.8% indicating that more than a quarter of our residents are out of work. Our goal is to create opportunities for job growth and economic development in the community. Our hope is that at least 1 unemployed resident a day will become gainfully employed in 2010.

3. A balanced budget for 2010 and achieve the deficit elimination target of $9.1M

4. Adopt a 2011 budget that is focused on top citizen priorities

5. Spend 100% of the available federal and stimulus funds awarded to the city; these totals are in excess of $10M

6. Negotiate new contracts with all six unions to achieve cost savings and efficiency improvements

7. Through Neighborhood Action Sessions phases II and III we plan to involve 1,000 residents in the creation of neighborhood action plans and use their input for the development of comprehensive master planning for the city.

8. Help ensure a complete census count for the City of Flint
As we work to transform the city into a 21st century sustainable city with new jobs, safe neighborhoods and great schools it is critical that all residents are represented in the 2010 Census Count. This administration will work closely with census officials to get a true count of our residents with a goal of 100,000 residing in the city.

9. Continue our conservation efforts
We will work to integrate compost, recycling, sanitation and waste management to reduce our landfill usage

10. Develop partnerships with local school districts to create initiatives that promote positive youth involvement in the community