The New York Times has taken note of an area in Flint called Carriage Town that is making a comeback due to some industrious and motivated homeowners. In the midst of an otherwise impoverished area and dire economic circumstances these people are taking advantage of real estate deals and restoring the beautiful old homes that make up the area. The article Faded Glory: Polishing Flint’s Jewels also notes that as people move in businesses follow and once again becomes a community.
In a city that is synonymous with faded American industrial and automotive power, Carriage Town’s success is both unexpected and inspiring. A persistent group of long-term urban homesteaders â€” along with newer arrivals eager to live near a downtown showing signs of life â€” has restored dozens of Victorian-era houses and buildings in the last 20 years. While many Flint neighborhoods feel all but abandoned, in Carriage Town home ownership has increased 10 percent over the last decade, according to Census data.
In a worldwide recession, development projects with more than $47 million in public and private financing are in progress or recently completed in the 30-square-block Carriage Town area, including the conversion of the derelict Berridge Hotel into lofts and the ongoing renovation of the long-vacant Durant Hotel into 93 apartments and commercial space. There are even plans for a neighborhood grocery store.
But there’s no denying that Carriage Town is a work in progress, and that those who call it home must deal with challenges like speculators, abandoned houses and lack of code enforcement by the cash-strapped city.
For more images of Flin’t Carriage Town check out this slideshow from Flickr…