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RESILIENCE AMERICORPS LAUNCHED IN 10 CITIES
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Love Your Block
Flint’s long-standing struggle with blight began over 30 years ago when changes in the domestic auto industry began to have a profound effect on reshaping populations and economies throughout the Midwest. Though they have long been on the road to recovery, the recent recession undercut a lot of progressm on blight remediation. The inventory of blighted and abandoned houses in the county land bank jumped to more than 5,000, or approximately 10 percent of the total residential parcels, despite the land bank clearing more than 1,000 structures per year for the last three years with federal and state funding.
To address these challenges, Mayor Walling launched Flint’s inaugural Love Your City campaign in 2012, and engaged community leaders and city workers recruited and managed a volunteer army to cleanup blocks citywide – and the results were stunning. More than 1.8 million pounds of trash were hauled away, including over 8,000 discarded tires. Over 2,500 square feet of graffiti was removed—even though the late fall cleanup was snowed out. Additionally, Flint residents planted new trees and created over 50 small gardens, adding healthy and vibrant green spaces to enhance the quality of life in a variety of neighborhoods.
As a former AmeriCorps member, Mayor Walling enjoys serving alongside community volunteers in clearing abandoned properties and creating new green spaces. He encourages community members to learn how to be prepared for emergencies and leads by example by participating in training himself.