- Associated Press - Sunday, May 7, 2017

FLINT, Mich. (AP) - Additional patrols will be hitting the Flint River Trail in and around the city’s downtown area following an expansion of a University of Michigan-Flint program.

The patrols will be added beginning this week through the end of October, the Flint Journal reported (https://bit.ly/2p5bNm6 ).

The university announced the addition of two golf carts for the River Trail Watchers program in partnership with several local community organizations and police departments, as well as new weekend patrols along 15 miles of the river.

University Department of Public Safety director Ray Hall says the response has been positive toward the program’s 2016 pilot year and they would like the effort to continue moving forward with aid from a $200,000 Urban Safety Corps grant through the United Way of Genesee County.

“The River Watchers is about more than just about safety,” he said. “It’s about blight elimination, it’s about encouraging people coming out to use this jewel that runs through our city, our community. This is an example of the transformational power of partnership.”

The group, consisting of volunteers and AmeriCorps members, follows safety protocols including use of the public safety department’s radios for reporting incidents. Members also pick up trash and help with blight elimination along the river.

United Way chapter executive director Jamie Gaskin hopes the program provides “a safe environment for families” to enjoy and highlights the river as an asset for the community.

University chancellor Sue Borrego spoke of noticing the difference along the river “with all of the pickup and trying to get rid of the debris and decay that scares some people.”

“Our goal is the same thing: to have people recognize the beauty and gem that the river and the river trail is and be able to be out there with their families,” she said.


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

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