By Nic Custer
The Central Park Neighborhood Association discussed the success of a home painting pilot project in the neighborhood at its September meeting.
The group also heard about blight and beautification efforts and installation of a bike share program, and sent a letter of support to Mott Community College police.
President Karen Tipper reported a $60,000 N.I.C.E. Initiative program had paid 75% of the cost of exterior house painting in the neighborhood. Six homes have been painted so far, with one more planned for the year. Tipper said many of the paint jobs cost $7,000 to $8,000.
She said applications for the program were closed for the year but there are many more projects that can be done to improve the neighborhood. The paint program, funded by the McFarlane Family Foundation, was intended to grow membership in the CPNA investors committee.
Tipper said the purpose was to get owners involved in making Central Park a model neighborhood to attract future funding from the city and other sources throughout the state.
Incentives for investors
Ingrid Halling said the program could act as a template for other Flint neighborhoods.
“The incentive for an investment is that our owners are involved in making this a better neighborhood,” Tipper added. “So the more neighbors we get involved, the better chance we have of coming back with more projects like this.”
In exchange for the payment, homeowners must attend three investors committee meetings during the year. Norma Sain, Court Street Village Non Profit, said the program is working and has attracted new committee members that she had not met in the nine years she has worked with the neighborhood association.
Sain is working with the committee to launch another program for landlords called Central Park Certified. This certification will be given to landlords that are up to date on their taxes, rental license, and inspection from the city. The certification will be used to recognize landlords that take better care of their properties.
Smoothing steps to blight elimination
Ingrid Halling, representing the blight committee, reported neighborhood association officers met with city officials to discuss blight and code enforcement. Central Park and Fairfield Village neighborhood association representatives spoke with Raul Garcia, blight elimination coordinator; Mike Reiter, senior rental inspector from building and safety inspections; and Interim Executive Director of the Land Bank, Jon Care, about how to assist the city taking care of blight. Halling said the officials suggested contacting their councilperson and the mayor when a problem remains unresolved.
Halling said a lot of good came out of the meeting. Sain reported the officials committed to two things. First, they are looking into speeding up the process of demolition for properties such as a burnt out vacant home on East Street. She was told there was a way to speed up the process by one year but it has never been done in Flint. Care and Reiter agreed to put together a document explaining the process. She said she believes the demolition request will need to go to city council in the near future for approval. T
They also agreed to work with the court administrator to create a flow chart explaining what happens after code enforcement writes a citation which may help residents track citations through the court system.
Vice President Ed Custer reported six volunteers from the beautification committee added mulch to the cul de sacs at East and Court streets and East and Second streets.
He said extra attention needs to be given to the empty lot at 529 Avon Street and at the end of Court and Thomson streets. The committee recommended asking the Land Bank, which owns the property, to haul away a fallen tree behind 529 Avon St. Volunteers plan to clean up brush and leaves at Court and Thomson streets.
The group voted to send a letter of support to the MCC board of trustees telling them how much the MCC police patrols through the neighborhood are appreciated. Neighbors were concerned that low enrollment at the college might reduce funding for the neighborhood patrols.
Bike share system installed
In other news, Crystal Dillard, Flint Cultural Center Corporation, told the group that the Cultural Center recently installed the second site for Flint’s bike share on their campus. The Cultural Center bikes are located between the Flint Institute of Art and Longway Planetarium.
The bike share is through national bike share company Zagster and allows people to download the Zagster mobile app and pay for the rental with their credit cards. Dillard said the first half hour is free and then users are charged $2 for every additional hour. Day passes (8 hours for $10) and three-day passes ($20) are also available.
She said there is another bike station operated by Genesee County Parks. UM-Flint and two other downtown locations will also install bike share stations soon. She said bikes can be picked up at one station and dropped off at another. Sain said it is a great opportunity for the neighborhood since 41% of the residents don’t own cars.
The group meets next at 7 p.m., Oct. 13 at Court Street Village Non Profit Neighborhood House, 737 East St.
EVM Managing Editor Nic Custer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.