And like this every day.
For decades Flint has been considered, by people like me who don't live there, a sort of Detroit mini-me, a city so weakened by urban blight it would soon become extinct. Well, that's not what happened.
While the rest of the world turned their backs on it, the people who care about Flint got busy saving their town. They thumbed their noses at the naysayers, held their heads up high, and recreated themselves.
New dormitories were built to house students attending University of Michigan Flint. An influx of new students meant new staff. Once-empty office buildings were refurbished into loft apartments. Boards came down from storefront windows as pubs, cafes, and eateries sprung up along Saginaw Street, the cobblestoned main drag of the city. Special events started bringing people into the city and, presto, the place came alive!
The Crim Fitness Foundation sponsors a race each year that draws over 15,000 participants from around the world. The annual Back to the Bricks Cruise Weekend is considered one of the top 50 car cruises in America and brings thousands more visitors into the city. The Flint Cultural Center features live theater, symphonies, art institutes, and a library. Frequent downtown art shows and gallery walks are a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening with family and friends.
Street musicians, sidewalk artists, and magicians give the streets a festive look, feel, and sound.
Beyond the downtown area there is a great Farmer's Market with a butcher, a baker, and fresh doughnut maker. It also houses an excellent wine shop, artisan clothing, costume jewelery, a Rock Shop, and fresh Barb-B-Q on Saturdays.
Community gardens flourish all over town in places where abandoned houses once stood.
Flint even has its own archaeological dig, a Native American burial ground that was discovered during excavation of a vacant lot. How cool is that?
There are a lot of other things going on that I haven't yet had a chance to experience but I certainly intend to do so in the very near future. Hey, this sounds like an unsolicited testimonial, if so, I hope those streets have ears. You hear me Flint? You rock!