County Landbank leading demolition plans

FLINT TWP. — Look for about 35 more blighted houses to be torn down over the next year and a half or so.

That’s the good news delivered to the township board last week by Michele Wildman, the recently hired executive director of the Genesee County Landbank. Accompanied by Genesee County Treasurer Deb Cherry, Wildman said she previously worked in redevelopment in various leadership roles for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority – a role she hopes to continue in partnerships with local units of government.

Cherry noted that the county Landbank is “lucky to have” Wildman because of her MSHDA background and also because she grew up in Genesee County.

Wildman is having discussions about using Requests for Proposals (RFPs) as a tool in blight elimination efforts.

Two weeks ago, the Landbank received appropriations for Hardest Hit Funds that includes out county areas, she said.

Over the next 14 months, 30 of 35 homes in Flint Township will be torn down using those funds, said Wildman, adding that HHF funds for five houses has not been received yet.

A list of houses to be demolished, provided by Tracey Tucker, township building director, includes six properties slotted under HHF-4 funds and 24 under HHF-out county grants. Fourteen are in the 48504 zip code, 10 are in 48532 and six are in 48507.

Wildman said the demolition schedule will be slowed down a bit due to administration adjustments needed to comply with recent changes in state requirements that reduced RFP bid packets from 100 at a time to 50 at a time. Cherry added that her office provided extra funding last year for demolition work that included properties in Flint Township. She said she hopes to be able to do it again this year.

The township also uses Community Development Block Grant Funds for demolition.

On the recovery and redevelopment side, Township Supervisor Miller told Wildman that she and Tucker would like to set up a meeting with her to discuss creating a side lot program to assist township residents in acquiring Landbank properties. Miller said she already is aware of several residents who are taking care of vacant lots adjacent to their property.

Cherry commented briefly about the March 1 deadline for tax payments and about programs set up to help property owners pay delinquent taxes and avoid foreclosure. Copies of the Petition for a Hardship Postponement of Tax Foreclosures were left with township treasurer Lisa Anderson and also are available from Cherry’s office. For more information, call 810-257-3025

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