FLINT TWP. — West Haven? Grandview Heights? Garland Township?
Would Flint Township by any other name be better able to compete?
A committee hoping to answer that question has met twice and is in the early stages of exploring feasibility of a name change or becoming a city, Township Supervisor Karyn Miller announced during her monthly update to the West Flint Business Association at its meeting last week.
Miller said the committee discussed trying to get the question on the November ballot but decided to do more research including reaching out to the community for input. That process could take a few years, she said, noting that she will consult with attorneys and has considered outcomes when the City of Burton changed from a township and Pontiac Township changed its name to Auburn Hills.
Miller also mentioned that a name change effort has been attempted unsuccessfully at least twice in the past – once in the 1950s and once in the 1970s.
No name has been selected but Miller mentioned some suggested names from the past including West Haven and Grandview Heights. The township also was long ago known as Garland Township, according to historical references.
This latest name-change attempt is at the request of citizens. Chuck Hughes, for one, has been very vocal at recent meetings about the need to separate the township’s identify from the troubles in the city of Flint.
Speaking at a township board meeting in January, Hughes pointed out that with its own name, the township would have its own mailing designation, eliminating its association with the city of Flint.
“Sadly Flint Township property values are tied to Flint simply by having Flint in our name,’’ Hughes said then.
“There is no separation in anybody’s eyes between Flint and Flint Township. The township gets no respect.’’
Mort Krasner, an WFBA member and longtime local jeweler, has also joined the name-change committee to advocate competitive business interests.
“My personal experience tells me people from outside the area do not want to apply for jobs in “Flint” because of the reputation of Flint,” Krasner said “The township, being the same name, is painted by the same brush. I am also sure the decision makers of large chain operations take one look at “Flint” and do not give a second thought about coming to Flint Township. We are certainly missing out on many of these opportunities.”
Krasner reiterated that the committee wants to hear both the pros and cons on the proposed name change and to seek out the feelings of township residents and business owners.
Miller has noted that any recommendation the committee makes will go before the full township board for a vote before ultimately being put to a vote of township residents.
She invited anyone interested in the discussion to attend the committee’s next meeting at 10:30 a.m. on May 23 at the township hall.