EDC humming along on economic development planning

FLINT TWP. — Tiny house developments, community holiday events and starting up a Downtown Development Authority were among topics discussed at the October 10 meeting of the township’s Economic Development Corporation.

The volunteer board was reactivated earlier this year to help shepherd more economic development in the township.

Recreating a DDA took up the bulk of the board’s business. Since reorganizing in May, the board has spent several months listening to experts on the benefits of forming a DDA to raise funds for improvement projects.

Tracey Tucker, township economic enhancement director, guided the board through a discussion on the benefits of a DDA and potential projects.

She asked if the board was ready to make a decision on whether to move forward.

EDC members voted unanimously to recommend recreating a DDA to the township board.

The board also discussed its tentative plans to host a Christmas community event, in line with its mission to provide more activities for township residents.

EDC member Carol Phaff-Dahl who also is a township trustee, had suggested holding a Christmas caroling event in the township park. She spearheaded a committee that looked into planning the event.

Phaff-Dahl reported that the committee decided there is not enough time to plan the event this year but would get started early on hosting one next year. She also proposed hosting an Easter egg hunt instead, and received support from the board.

Tiny house development was brought up by EDC member Lawrence Ratliff. It is a national trend in which people are downsizing to very small, and sometimes portable homes. Ratliff said he noticed a proliferation of development of such homes in the Detroit area. It is said to be especially popular with millennials who don’t want to be bogged down with a 30-year mortgage because they prefer having experiences instead of owning stuff.

Ratliff said old neighborhoods in Detroit are being razed and redeveloped as tiny home communities. He asked about the feasibility of developing tiny home subdivisions in Flint Township.

Tracey Tucker, building director, said that the homes could be placed in trailer parks. She said there are very few larger parcels in the township that would be suitable for development of single-family homes.

Citing a need for more housing development in the township, Ratliff also asked if single-family homes could be developed as a Brownfield Redevelopment project.

Tucker said multi-family units would be allowed.

The EDC recently established a Brownfield Redevelopment Authority that would oversee redevelopment projects at distressed properties.

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