- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Flint Mayor Dayne Walling said he wants $70 million in federal funding to help fight blight and tear down nearly 6,000 buildings in the financially troubled city.

Walling made the declaration Monday in his State of the City speech.

“Today, Flint declares a war on blight,” he said. The money would be in addition to state and federal funds already awarded to Flint.

“These abandoned buildings surrounding us are offering shelter for crime and drugs,” he said. “This is not a new problem in Flint, but the scale of the challenge has pushed the threat level up and it is time for an all-out battle against blight.”

Last year, Flint kicked off an effort to tear down 1,600 homes with $20.1 million, the city’s share of $100 million in federal aid for Michigan. Major efforts to fight blight also are taking place in Detroit, Pontiac, Grand Rapids and Saginaw.

The theme of Walling’s speech was a year of service and action, The Flint Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1fEf0I2 ). Walling also aims to get volunteers to take care of 20,000 vacant lots in the next year, which would double the number taken care of last year.

“It’s an aggressive goal,” Walling said.

Flint has been operating under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager since 2011. Emergency manager Darnell Earley has said the city must take a number of steps before it can move back under control of elected leaders.

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Information from: The Flint Journal, https://www.mlive.com/flint


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