FAQFAQ   SearchSearch  MemberlistMemberlistRegisterRegister  ProfileProfile   Log in[ Log in ]  Flint Talk RSSFlint Talk RSS

Home Open Chat Political Talk  Flint Journal Political Jokes The Bob Leonard Show  

Flint Michigan online news magazine. We have lively web forums


FlintTalk.com Forum Index > Political Talk

Topic: Another plan for Wood street Project

  Author    Post Post new topic Reply to topic
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

FLINT NEWS
Flint sees former Michigan Bell site as landing spot for Atherton East residents


Updated on September 18, 2017 at 8:07 AM Posted on September 18, 2017 at 8:00 AM
Officials are shown outside a warehouse once used by the defunct Michigan Bell company, located on North Saginaw Street. Flint, Genesee County and state officials announced plans to demolish the building here -- and other commercial buildings in the city -- during a news conference Tuesday, Sept. 12.
Officials are shown outside a warehouse once used by the defunct Michigan Bell company, located on North Saginaw Street. Flint, Genesee County and state officials announced plans to demolish the building here -- and other commercial buildings in the city -- during a news conference Tuesday, Sept. 12.(Ron Fonger | The Flint Journal)

By Ron Fonger
FLINT, MI -- The city is pursuing a plan to develop new housing on the site of an old Michigan Bell warehouse that's been targeted for demolition and could eventually relocate tenants from Atherton East there.

Suzanne Wilcox, Flint's acting director of planning and development, said the project in the area of the University Park subdivision and the Smith Village neighborhood is the result of a partnership between the city, the Flint Housing Commission and a private developer.

"It's not secured yet, but we are optimistic," Wilcox said after a news conference this week on the site, where officials announced plans to demolish abandoned commercial buildings there, on Averill Avenue and on Ballenger Highway with support from the Genesee County Land Bank and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

The plan that includes Atherton East, public housing located on the city's south side, is a proposal to develop mixed-income new housing, including duplexes and low-rise, multi-family buildings, Wilcox said.


"All of these have been big problem areas so it's really nice to see some movement forward," said Deb Cherry, Genesee County treasurer and chairwoman of the Land Bank Board of Directors.

Flint officials plan to apply for an implementation grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help make the project more feasible after having received a $500,000 planning grant for Atherton East more than two years ago.

The grant was part of HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, which is to designed to help with the redevelopment of distressed public housing.


"Really the development is going to proceed regardless of whether they get the Choice implementation grant, but we are hopeful we do get that," Wilcox said. "That would be a significant benefit to the project."

Land Bank officials said demolition of the buildings identified Tuesday, Sept. 12, won't likely take place until 2018.

Katie Bach, communications director for MSHDA, said representatives of the agency have been meeting with Flint officials and others about the Choice Neighborhoods project.

"It's premature to discuss any components the project might entail until we receive a proposal and have an opportunity to give it a thorough review," Bach said.

An application for tax credit funding for the project is expected to be submitted to MSHDA, she said.
Post Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:30 am 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

FLINT NEWS
Land Bank will pay for demolition of three Flint business eyesores


Updated on September 12, 2017 at 2:41 PM Posted on September 12, 2017 at 1:06

By Ron Fonger
FLINT, MI -- Three abandoned commercial properties in the city will be demolished, including a Ballenger Road apartment complex, a foreclosed mobile home park on Averill Avenue and a vacant commercial building on North Saginaw Street, city, Genesee County and state officials say.

Officials from the city, the Genesee County Land Bank and Michigan State Housing Development Authority announced the demolitions, which are expected to occur in 2018, during a news conference Tuesday, Sept. 12.

Demolition coming to three Flint eyesores
A half-million-dollar grant from MSHDA will help to help pay for the projects.

"All of these have been big problem areas so it's really nice to see some movement forward," said Deb Cherry, Genesee County treasurer and chairwoman of the Land Bank Board of Directors.

The demolition targets are:

-- The former Ballenger Court Apartments, which are fire damaged and were condemned by the city in 2015. Conditions at the complex had become so bad that the U.S. Post Office ultimately suspended mail service to the tenants in advance of the condemnation.

-- Kirkwood Mobile Home Park, once a 60-lot development on Averill Avenue, which was taken by the Land Bank through tax foreclosure in 2015. Kirkwood was one of the first two mobile home communities that the agency foreclosed on since it was founded more than a decade ago.


-- A warehouse once used by the old Michigan Bell Telephone company on North Saginaw Street across the street from University Park subdivision. The building has been vacant for at least two decades, according to the Land Bank.

City officials said the demolitions will eventually support redevelopment plans for each of the three sites.

The Ballenger Highway property is a nuisance and hotspot for crime, according to project details released by the city, and demolishing buildings there is necessary for the redevelopment of the former Coolidge School, which located across the street from the old apartments.

The North Saginaw Street property is located within the Smith Village neighborhood and demolishing it will increase property values for surrounding homeowners, according to the city.

"Demolishing the property is also a key component of a mixed-use development project ... that will construct a new community center on the site and create more than 200 units of mixed-income housing," the city's statement says.

On Averill Avenue, the demolition and clearing of 30 mobile homes at Kirkwood will aid in the redevelopment of a former General Motors property on Center Road, the city says.

The Land Bank said demolition and cleanup was made possible using grant funding provided by MSHDA, the city, the county and a private
contribution.

Michele Wildman, executive director of the Land Bank, said some preparation work will begin this year at the targeted properties with demolition expected in 2018.
Post Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:35 am 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Crime has a grip on Flint's Atherton East public housing complex



Print Email Jiquanda Johnson | jjohns16@mlive.com By Jiquanda Johnson | jjohns16@mlive.com

on September 03, 2015 at 5:00 AM, updated September 09, 2015 at 1:12 PM
ATHERTON EAST
Planning starts for future of crime-infested public housing like Atherton East
Committee to discuss the future of Atherton East, Flint's southern corridor
Solution to crime plaguing Flint's Atherton East could be wrecking ball
Residents, community leaders search for answers to Atherton East crime
Crime has a grip on Flint's Atherton East public housing complex
Editor's Note: This is the first of three posts about Flint's crime-ridden Atherton East public housing community.

FLINT, MI - The woman peered out of an upstairs window of her daughter's Atherton East townhouse while her grandson pressed his face against the mesh screen. She looks down.

"Can I help you?" Jonsene Johnson asked.

After introductions, she seemed relieved, as if she wanted to talk. Her conversation started with drugs and truancy. She ended with a 2014 slaying at the Flint public housing community.

"We heard the gunshots. I grabbed the kids, threw them in the basement and called 911. I watched the boy fall," she said as she pointed to an empty courtyard near the townhouse. "They did it right in front of us. My husband and I want my daughter to move."

Her daughter has lived in Atherton East apartments, a community that Johnson compares to a war-torn Beirut and Chicago's notorious Cabrini-Green public housing, for more than a year now. It's a place where residents say they are scared to talk; a place that some say is plagued with violence, drugs and prostitution, a place that some still call the Terrace.

Community officials and law enforcement leaders have been grappling with the issues at Atherton East and the surrounding community for years. They are trying to decide whether it is feasible to rebuild the development where it is, move it or if anything can be done at all.


Flint police investigate triple shooting at Atherton East Apartments
Flint police were called to the 2900 block of Kleinpell Street around 9 p.m. for a shooting on Friday, May 22. One woman and two men were injured, leaving one person in good condition and the other two in critical condition.
"It's like they act like people don't exist back here," Jeffrey Morgan said. "Children in Atherton East learn the difference between the sounds of gunshots and fire crackers at an earlier age. These kids deserve better. They are good kids."

Morgan, who frequents the community to visit friends, says there are number of generalizations people make about residents living in public housing. He says those generalizations contribute to the lack of concern.

"Most of the residents here have jobs. They go to work every day and they are good people. "

Atherton East is tucked away about a quarter of a mile off Atherton Road on the Flint's south side. Some say that out-of-the-way location contributes to the crime problem.

The outlining townhouses look like most communities. They have maintained lawns and flowers and it is quiet. Farther into the complex are more obvious signs of life. Children are playing and residents are sitting outside enjoying Michigan's summer weather.

There are signs of wear and what looks like abandonment with broken street lights and rows of boarded-up townhouses throughout the development.

Some residents barely open doors when a stranger knocks, or simply yell from the other side that they have nothing to say about crime or living conditions. Some say it is out of fear, others say they just don't care anymore.


Watch fully-engulfed Atherton East apartment building in Flint burn from many angles
Several people were displaced after an apartment building was destroyed Wednesday morning at Atherton East apartments. Everyone got out, but one person had to jump from a second story window and a woman was taken to the hospital for minor smoke inhalation, said Battalion Chief Ray Barton. The building had three or four apartments inside.
Crime is not new to public housing. It has plagued Flint housing communities on Flint's south side for years, with shootings reported by The Flint Journal going back to 2007. On Jan. 7, a mother and son were both killed in their townhouse at Atherton East making the community the scene for some of the city's first homicides this year.

Other communities, such as Howard Estates, also had problems, but residents said a police raid cleared up many issues that residents were facing.

In 2012, charges were issued against 22 men accused of being part of the Howard Boys street gang. Twelve of the men were indicted on charges including racketeering, attempted murders, drugs and weapons dealing. The other 10 were charged with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and assault with intent to murder. They allegedly operated the gang since 2002 at the apartment complex and surrounding area.

Since their arrests, residents say the neighborhood has been quiet.

"You can sit on your porch all night," said Cameela Leeper. "They have a lot of stuff for us here like workshops and events." Leeper lives in Howard Estates with her two children who are ages 4 and 2.

"Children in Atherton East learn the difference between the sounds of gunshots and fire crackers at a very early age."
Johnson agrees that Howard Estates has become a better community.

"Howard Estates has a very extremely good neighborhood, neighborhood watches, volunteers and they take care of each other," she said.

Flint Housing Commission developments are comprised of affordable housing for families and senior citizens. They manage 133 properties, including single family homes and multi-family housing developments.

In a January 2015 interview, Flint Public Housing Director Terrence Clark said about 95 percent of the crimes committed in public housing are by people who do not live in the community. He referred to the January double homicide where Sue and Vanthony Burns, were killed by a man who lived in neighboring community, Evergreen Regency.

The communities are connected by a bridge that is located at the back of both complexes.

But all crime can't be blamed on the neighboring community.

The killing Johnson recalled was the 2014 unsolved murder of a Flint man named Dominique Fuller an incident that has not been tied back to Evergreen.

"I don't even know why my son was there," said Angela Mizell, of Fuller. "He wasn't a bad person. Anyone who knew him knew that. He had a lot of friends. Everybody feels like I shoulda been there. There's something we coulda done to help him. There's a lot of people who feel that way."

Mizell said her son was supposed to be in Stonegate, another townhouse community not managed by Flint Public Housing, visiting his daughter that day.


Flint Police Chief Tolbert talks warrant sweep in crime-ridden neighborhood
Flint Police Chief James Tolbert said officers conducted a warrant sweep on the city's southeast side as part of an operation to cut down crime. Tolbert said officers went out with 110 warrants and arrested 25 people during the sweep and targeted areas like the often troubled Atherton East Apartment complex.
"We still don't know anything," she said. "They still haven't arrested anyone for murdering my son." Her story is similar to others who have had family members killed in the complex.

So far, the summer has been quiet for the community, with no violent crimes, but residents along Chambers say they still have problems.

"Some of us are scared but I'm just tired," Ruth Caldwell said. "We see drug deals and prostitutes parked in cars. We want to move." Caldwell owns a home on Chambers and lives with her husband Rick Zinn and their 11-year-old daughter. Chambers is the street that leads to Atherton East off Atherton Road.

"Crime has never stopped for us. If the cops just parked, they could sit and watch all the prostitution and drug deals that happen around here."


Watch police in possible standoff situation at Atherton East Apartments
Flint police and Michigan State Police surrounded an apartment building Thursday, May 28, during a possible standoff situation. Investigation of a Wednesday night homicide led police to the apartment where police said the suspects may be inside.
It is five months since Johnson's first interview with The Flint Journal and she is pointing at something again. This time she points at a makeshift memorial shaped like a cross and decorated with what look like red silk flower petals.

"That wasn't there the last time you were here," she says to me. "This time it was different. They shot him in broad day light. He was just a baby. He was only 17."

She recalls details of a shooting that happened in May.

"I helped drag his body over here. I knew when they put in him in the car that it was over. I knew he was dead. I just knew he was going to die."

-- Jiquanda Johnson is a reporter at MLive Media Group/The Flint Journal. Contact her at jjohns16@mlive.com or 810-252-5575. Follow her on Twitter.
Post Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:40 am 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Solution to crime plaguing Flint's Atherton East could be wrecking ball


Gallery: Crime has a grip on Flint's Atherton East public housing complex
Print Email Jiquanda Johnson | jjohns16@mlive.com By Jiquanda Johnson | jjohns16@mlive.com
Follow on Twitter
on September 08, 2015 at 5:00 AM, updated September 09, 2015 at 1:11 PM
ATHERTON EAST
Planning starts for future of crime-infested public housing like Atherton East
Committee to discuss the future of Atherton East, Flint's southern corridor
Solution to crime plaguing Flint's Atherton East could be wrecking ball
Residents, community leaders search for answers to Atherton East crime
Crime has a grip on Flint's Atherton East public housing complex
Editor's Note: This is the third of three posts about Flint's crime-ridden Atherton East public housing community.

FLINT, MI -- One solution to the violent crime plaguing Atherton East public housing complex could come with a wrecking ball.

Just level the place and start over there or somewhere else.

It's one option that a new public housing steering committee may consider as public officials and police search for solutions.

So far, there are no easy answers.

City officials along with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced in January a $500,000 grant that would help Flint with planning for the future of crime-infested and blighted Atherton East.

In late August, officials put together a steering committee to tackle the issues, but that process alone could take up to two years.

"It's a community-driven process," said city of Flint Planner III Kevin Schronce. "We are working with residents in Atherton East and the surrounding area."

The grant is part of HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative and will be used to help with the redevelopment of distressed public housing in the city. Flint was one of six cities chosen out of 51 applicants.

Schronce said the grant will help plan the future for that particular corridor, not just Atherton East.

The grant went to setting up community engagement and making plans for the community's future. Schronce said that starting October they will meet every third Wednesday.


In 2014, there was talk of possibly demolishing Atherton East. Officials said they are looking to see what option is most feasible, including the possibility of replacing the entire complex, renovating what is there or moving the community and starting all over in another location.

"Residents need to start speaking up. We need them to be accountable for what is going on in their communities."
Atherton East is about a quarter of mile down Chambers off Atherton Road. The community's discrete location has been one of the reasons some blame it for becoming a safe haven for criminals.

Since January, the Planning Commission, Flint Police Department and Flint Housing Commission worked together to set up meetings with residents at Atherton East and surrounding neighborhoods. Flint Police James Tolbert said turnout was low.

"Residents need to start speaking up," he said. "We need them to be accountable for what is going on in their communities." Tolbert said they have worked with community members to find different options for youth during the summer months and police patrols have increased in that area.


At Atherton East alone, two people were killed Jan. 7, two people were shot dead in 2011 and a mother and her 12-year-old daughter were killed in 2013. Earlier this year, a 17-year-old was shot. He died later from injuries sustained in the shooting.

According to the Flint Housing Commission's website, it owns 1,248 public housing units, including 133 scattered properties -- complexes and homes -- throughout Flint. The Atherton East property has 192 units, mainly occupied by single, low-income mothers.

Crime at Atherton East

* 2015: A man and woman are found dead in a townhouse. Police said were killed, possibly in a home invasion. Later in the year, police responded to a triple shooting in the community where a 17-year-old man later died from injuries sustained during the shooting.
* 2014: In August, a man was shot and killed.
* 2013: Mother and 12-year-old daughter found slain in July.
* 2011: Two people were shot dead at the complex.
* 2010: A man was shot in the head and transported to Hurley Medical Center.
* 2009: One man, 20, was shot in the chest and another was grazed by a bullet. Both men were taken to Hurley Medical Center.

Resident concerns

* Safety
* Police presence
* Security
* Drugs
* Outside traffic

So far, a steering committee was put together in late August. Schronce also said there are plans for the committee to meet every third Wednesday of the month starting in October.
Post Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:44 am 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

I remember driving down Saginaw Street after Flint was designated an Enterprise Zone and a Renaissance zone. I was puzzled by the signs on the buildings the corner of Wood and Saginaw and again in the 3600 block of Saginaw announcing development soon by Better Builders.

Originally the properties on Wood, including the building to be developed, were owned by Don Williamson and called the Wood Street Project, About the time Williamson gave the Windmill Place to the black pastor's group, this property was given away also.

After lawsuits against the Black Religious Leaders, Reverend Pointer, Metropolitan Baptist Church, and others, AEV Inc. owned Windmill Place/ AEV Inc. stands for Alonzo & Emira Vincent.

Eventually AEV Inc. also owned the Wood Street project and sold it to Fred Speed, manager of Speed's Electric and brother of Renetta Speed, then a county commissioner. Speed applied for and received funding from the Flint Area Investment Fund, including a Main Street facade grant for the strip plaza on 1515 n. Saginaw Street. Since this was federal money that both the city and the county had to approve, it is my firm belief that HUD should have issued a waiver for these transactions. Probate records show all of the children were to benefit from Speed's Electric after the death of the father and founder of the company.
Post Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:47 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

There was a point at which money for 1515 N Saginaw (at Wood) was allowed by the FAIF to also be used for 3615 N Saginaw. The businesses that stated they would move into 1515 N. Saginaw never materialized and eventually both went into foreclosure.

The Michigan Bell building was originally intended to be loft apartments. Did Speed have advance notice that these properties would have tax credits for being in the proposed zone? We will probably never know.

Renetta Speed enlisted the aid of former County chair Richard Hammel to include the east side of Saginaw in Becher in the Enterprise Zone expansion when it was available. That opened the door for Charles Young and Operation Unification. Most of those properties were lost eventually also.
Post Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:56 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Communities First, building low income rentals for seniors and veterans in Flint, recently bought city owned properties near Mary Street for low to moderate income housing. No one has said what segment of Atherton East residents , if any group will be selected, will be eligible for the new proposed housing. Atherton East is very large.

What impact will the large number of foreclosures in University Park and Smith Village have on the stability of this neighborhood?
Post Mon Sep 25, 2017 2:13 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

In their July 27, 2017 quarterly report to Congress Sigtarp (Special Inspector General over Tarp fund) addressed the failure of Treasury to identify the potential risks when they implemented expanded use of TARP funds. Originally these Hardest Hit Funds were meant to help people stay in their homes when layoffs and job losses occurred. However, it appears that Michigan has decided to use these funds almost exclusively for demolition.

SIGTARP announced in January they were performing an audit of Flint and Genesee County. SiGTARP had performed an investigative look at several cities in Michigan before moving into a more comprehensive stage of investigation. Detroit has already had a highly publicized negative audit by SIGTARP. In the second phase of a SIGTARP investigation teams are brought in to do a more comprehensive investigation.

The warning is about the potential risks when TARP money is used to demolish large commercial buildings and apartment buildings. The fear is that the use of these funds in this capacity creates potential new risks for fraud, waste and abuse that had not been analyzed by Treasury.
Post Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:29 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Risk of Developer Fraud

SIGTARP reported to Congress how attractive a large vacant lot in the vicinity of large apartment buildings would be to a developer. (pages 41 & 42)
"However, the use of federal dollars to make that lot vacant through the use of federally funded demolition brings the risk of developer fraud in the acquisition of the lot. There is the risk of collusion with a developer and the existing property owner. There is also the risk of corruption with city or county officials in the awarding of contracts, or rezoning for commercial use in kick back schemes or quid pro quo arrangements"
Post Mon Sep 25, 2017 6:47 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Risk of Unfair Competition such as bid-rigging or collusion.

Most local demolition companies will lack the capacity to bid, so the contract may be opened up to out-of state contractors.
"Larger contracts, more federal money and a smaller competitive pool increases the risk
of criminal unfair competition."

Risk of Fraud

SIGTARP points out how the risk of overcharging grows exponentially as the amount of TARP money grows. They use the example of the fraud that occurred in the HUD blight elimination program of Neighborhood Stabilization. HUD was the victim of contract steering with respect to large commercial properties.
Post Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:06 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

The report describes the 2012 incident in Detrot where a contract was steerd in regards to a large commercial project. Then there was the Detroit suburb ehen a township supervisor attempted unsuccessfully to steer the demolition of a theater. The supervisor then asked the successfu lbidder for a cash payment in exchange of a change order for a greatly inflated cost of asbestos remediation.
Post Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:18 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

I keep getting told the feds are in town and yet no one says what fed. Is it SIGTARP, the federal water investigation or possibly the Rizzo deal?

But surely some agency will investigate the newly proposed development plan to demolish the building by a city-county Partnership with Flint Housig on behalf of an "unnamed devloper". Isn't that what SIGTARP isinvestigatingt?What funding will the Land bank have for demolition except the Hardest Hit funding?
Post Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:24 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
untanglingwebs
El Supremo

Flint had to repay HUD over $500,000 the city, under Walling and Eason, gave to Boji to buy the land for the new State FIA building on Clio Road. It was a state project in which Flint had no involvement and Boji was to purchase the land for the state grant.

Boji was also invlved in a similar project in Detroit and Detroit had to repay HUD.
Post Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:36 pm 
 View user's profile Send private message  Reply with quote  
  Display posts from previous:      
Post new topic Reply to topic

Jump to:  


Last Topic | Next Topic  >

Forum Rules:
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

 

Flint Michigan online news magazine. We have lively web forums

Website Copyright 2010 Flint Talk.com
Contact Webmaster - FlintTalk.com >