By Patsy Isenberg
Establishment of a city court to help eliminate neighborhood blight and a report on difficulties of containing crime in the neighborhood were features of the Sept. 20 meeting of the College Cultural Neighborhood Association.
About 45 residents, officers, volunteers and speakers gathered at the Mott Technology Center, after a summer break, back on the regular CCNA schedule of meeting on the third Thursday of each month from 7 to 9 p.m., and alternating monthly between general meetings and neighborhood watch meetings.
Mark Fisher from Grant Hamady Realtors reported 50 homes sold in the last six months. He said there are currently 18 homes for sale in the CCN, up from 11 in March, and only one “distressed.” Eleven sales are pending, including one foreclosure. The greatest number of homes for sale in a month in the CCN was 37 in January, 2016. The price per square foot of recent sales averages $49, with the highest being $83 and the lowest, $20. Average days on the market are 42, he said, down from 84.
- No pot shop: As reported in the minutes from the May meeting, the former Family Video mini-mall on Court Street will not include a marijuana dispensary because it has been zoned D-2 which means no “grow shop” or dispensary can operate within 300 feet of a home.
- Tree efforts blooming: CCNA President Mike Keeler announced 70 trees have been planted in the neighborhood and are doing well this year purchased with money from the association and planted with help from friends and neighbors.
- Bridge blues: Andy Everman reported on the repair of the Gilkey Creek bridge on Court Street east of Crapo. He said not much has been done on that project other than some cutting back of growth on the south side of the bridge which causes a lot of damage from moisture and lack of sun. So far no grants applied for have been successful.
- Prop 2 information: Ward Lindsay representing Voters not Politicians presented information about Proposal 2 concerning redistricting and gerrymandering which will be on the November ballot. Lindsay urged a “yes” vote. More information on Prop 2. and gerrymandering is available from East Village Magazine’s political columnist Paul Rozycki here, here and here.
- LWV reminder to vote: Rhina Griffel from the League of Women Voters reminded attendees about the responsibility to be registered and to vote on Nov. 6. In particular, she passed out information concerning three proposals that will be on the Michigan ballot. She offered residents some detail about Proposal 3, the voters’s bill of rights.
- Blight Court In Session: Alyssa Olivarez, a clerk from The City of Flint Administrative Hearings Bureau (AHB), described a new blight initiative, the Blight Court. She said the AHB is trying to solve the problem of how to process tickets given out by Neighborhood Safety Officers which often are not followed up on. She said the Blight Court will increase fees incrementally if the owner of a property the ticket was issued to does not appear and pay the fine. The Blight Court also takes calls from citizens and operates a website for reporting blight problems in the city. Residents can call Olivarez at 810-410-1205 or visit www.cityofflint.com/city-clerk/city-charterordinances/ for more information. In summary, she said, the aim is beautify and improve safety in Flint.
- Difficulties of tracking, stopping crimes: Mike Herriman, the CCNA’s Neighborhood Watch chairperson, offered reports on several homes being watched for criminal activity in the neighborhood. He noted part of his job, along with a team of neighborhood watch volunteers, is fielding complaints from residents who suspect illegal activity. He reminded CCNA members of the history of a troublesome house on Franklin Street and two houses on Chandler Avenue where gang activity was suspected and where the tenants ultimately left, after three years of complaints by neighbors and police. Herriman summarized most of the suspect homes are rentals, often with out-of-state landlords, but are documented as being owned by people with many different names making it difficult to contact the owners. He said an early sign of trouble often is when water has been shut off but is getting pirated. He reported that once the new meters are installed in Flint homes it won’t be possible to pirate the water. The difficulty continues because even when criminals are tried, he said, sentences are often too light and the crimes continue.
To find out about future meetings
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EVM Staff Writer Patsy Isenberg can be reached at email@example.com.