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Clean & Green program fights blight in Genesee County, Michigan

<i>WNEM</i><br/>After nearly 20 years
After nearly 20 years

By James Felton and Hannah Mose

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    GENESEE COUNTY, Michigan (WNEM) — After nearly 20 years, the Clean & Green program focused on fighting blight in Flint and Genesee County is getting more support than ever.

Dozens of groups are helping maintain thousands of vacant properties in Genesee County.

“It feels really, really good because so many residents want to be a part of this program,” said Raynetta Speed, the community relations manager for the Genesee County Land Bank.

Speed explained how the Clean & Green program works.

“The participants help us to manage our vacant lots, properties. And they do that by mowing and removing blight,” she said.

Speed said 66 groups have pledged to maintain 3,600 vacant properties across Flint and Genesee County. She said each property will get a visit every three weeks from now through September, which is something that makes residents in the neighborhoods happy.

“They’re very appreciative. We hear that all the time,” Speed said.

Speed added maintaining some of the properties in Genesee County is a challenge.

“Why don’t you take it to the dump, to the legal dump? Do it right and help keep the city of Flint looking good,” said Robert Allen, a leader of one of the Clean & Green program groups.

Allen was asking the question of whoever left a mess at a lot on Tilden Street in Flint. He said the area was clear until last weekend. But Allen isn’t giving up.

“This is the same neighborhood where my children grew up at back in the day,” he said.

Allen, and others like him, will try their best to fight blight.

“Even though we do our part, they’re still going to do what they try to do to get up in here. And we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing to try to keep them out of here,” Allen said.

For her part, Speed just wants everyone to be good citizens and take care of their trash.

“It’s great to find so many committed people. But it’s horrible to find that there’s so many people that are showing disrespect to the neighborhoods and to the people that are doing this work,” Speed said.

The 2023 Clean & Green program is supported through grant funding from the Ruth Mott Foundation, the Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center, and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority through its Hardest Hit Fund.

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