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.
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.