Flint gets $2.9M grant for staffing, development
The city of Flint has been awarded $2.9 million from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to increase its staffing levels and boost economic development, officials announced Monday.
“This grant will make a significant impact in our work to transition from crisis to recovery,” Flint Mayor Karen Weaver said in a statement.
Weaver said staff levels at Flint City Hall had been reduced to skeleton crews after years under the control of state-appointed emergency managers. Some departments were merged while others eliminated.
The staffing issue became worse after the city experienced the water crisis, officials said. Flint was run by emergency managers when it moved to switch its water source to the Flint River in April 2014, which caused corrosive water to release lead contamination into the water system. The state returned Flint to the Detroit area water system in mid-October 2015 and it has since used the treated water.
Weaver said that in addition to staffing the funding will be used to focus on economic development in Flint.
City Council President Herbert Winfrey said, “We remember what Flint was like when business was booming, and we want it to be like that once again. This grant is going to provide a big boost to getting us to that point. It’s going to help the mayor and other city leaders get the right people in place and begin to execute a strong plan to bring about the change this city needs.”
The City of Flint will receive the $2,957,800 in funding over four years.
“For the children of Flint to thrive, the city needs to continue to build capacity for economic vitality,” said La June Montgomery Tabron, W.K. Kellogg Foundation president and CEO. “This award will make it possible for Flint municipal leaders to access the skills and expertise needed to plan and implement long-term community development strategies as the city continues to recover.”
Some development is underway in Flint. This past fall Lear Corp. broke ground on a 156,000-square-foot automotive parts plant on the former site of the historic Buick City complex. A state-of-the-art early childhood center, Educare Flint, opened late last year. Also, 6,000 lead-tainted pipes are scheduled to be replaced this year under the mayor’s FAST Start program.