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Old 09-30-2010, 04:42 PM
 
Location: Genesee County
16 posts, read 48,160 times
Reputation: 29

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Understood and I agree!

GN---
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Old 09-30-2010, 08:35 PM
 
Location: City of McKeesport
3,933 posts, read 4,060,007 times
Reputation: 2422
I think people who have lived in the same city all their lives are more likely to be negative about it, simply because they haven't been other places (for better or worse).

I also think that Michiganders (I am a former Michigander) are very city-phobic. I live in Pittsburgh and I am sure we have ghettos to rival the worst of Flint (I work in one). However, the difference is there are people in Pittsburgh who have pride (and hope) in the city, and THAT is what makes it a good place to live.
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Old 09-30-2010, 10:06 PM
 
Location: Genesee County
16 posts, read 48,160 times
Reputation: 29
I agree. I have been fortunate to have lived in different cities other than Flint. Denver Colorado, Sacramento California, Memphis Tennessee and Little Rock Arkansas. They all have 'bad' areas, as every metropolis does. I was in Denver shortly after the time "Roger and Me" came out. I had never seen the movie and was curious as to why people seemed to shy away from me once they found out where I was from. Finally a friend told me about the movie and suggested I watch it. I was stunned. There was a definite slant to that movie. I saw parts of town that I never knew existed and now understood the reason why I was treated as I was. I was like..wait..the ENTIRE city isn't like that! I was defending Flint the same as others have..hey hold on!..we have the Cultural Center..etc..etc. But the negative outweighs the positive on many levels.

Pride does play a salient role. However, those that shout the loudest about turning the city around, when asked what they plan to do to help, it's like.."oh..um..well I didn't say I was going to do anything." In other words, people have gatherings, town hall meetings, etc about making the city better, but all the ideas and/or plans they have, they expect someone else to implement. I remember there was one "meeting" where many local pastors, reverends, etc. got together to discuss ideas. The meeting was high profile, on the news and in the paper. What they came up with was to go to the city (mayor, chief of police and district attorney) to find out what THEY were going to do. What?? Seriously?! What a waste of time. All it was was a meeting to see not what 'WE' can do, but what are 'YOU' going to do. Yeah, like the mayor and DA have no clue as to the plight of the communities. Most people think that being involved is looking for someone else to begin to solve the problems for them. No one seems to want to take the reigns and lead. I don't get it. Don't get me wrong, there are a few neighborhood groups that have set up community watches and such, but from what I have learned, these have been short lived. It starts off all RAH RAH, but then after a week or two, everything reverts back to finding someone else to do it. People don't want to take responsibility anymore. They are too quick to pass the buck and blame someone else.
It's the mayors fault because due to budget problems he had to lay off police officers and crime is near an all time high, it isn't the fault of the parents of 15-16-17 year old high school drop out gang bangers that get caught robbing the corner store.
It's (the company's) fault for not hiring (you) for the executive position even though (you) only have an 11th grade education and no other experience.
It's someone else's fault (you're) 25, have 5 kids, on welfare and no money to pay the bills.
In my position I hear this ALL the time, hardly anyone ever takes responsibility for their actions..it's ALWAYS someone else's fault and they expect someone else to bail them out.
In all honesty, I believe it is the people here that need to change. Once that happens, the city itself will follow. When people take pride in themselves, inevitably it will be contagious and more and more positive things will happen. But, sadly, I don't see that happening anytime soon.

GN---
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Old 10-01-2010, 12:41 AM
 
Location: City of McKeesport
3,933 posts, read 4,060,007 times
Reputation: 2422
I think the best thing you can do to help a city, especially one that has as bad of a reputation as Flint, is to live in the city and tell others about what you are doing. Other people will see you live in the city and say, "Oh, he/she lives there and seems to like it, so it can't be THAT bad." It takes an urban pioneer mindset to live in a city as downtrodden as Flint, though. Do urban pioneers even exist in Michigan? Seems like the only desirable cities in Michigan -- Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids -- were never downtrodden to begin with. When I lived in Michigan, all I ever heard was middle-aged people talking about how "terrible" Flint, Lansing, Jackson, Detroit, etc. were. Yet these same people were perfectly fine in their suburban or country homes. I think the problem with Michigan's cities is that not enough people see the advantages of urban living -- historic architecture and affordable housing, close proximity to amenities, walkable neighborhoods, etc.
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Old 10-01-2010, 04:51 AM
 
Location: Lansing Metro
2,787 posts, read 3,006,863 times
Reputation: 3558
Quote:
I also think that Michiganders (I am a former Michigander) are very city-phobic. I live in Pittsburgh and I am sure we have ghettos to rival the worst of Flint (I work in one). However, the difference is there are people in Pittsburgh who have pride (and hope) in the city, and THAT is what makes it a good place to live.
Quote:
I think the problem with Michigan's cities is that not enough people see the advantages of urban living -- historic architecture and affordable housing, close proximity to amenities, walkable neighborhoods, etc.
I think there is a lot of truth to these statements!

I was in Lansing yesterday looking at apartments. I work in the area and technically fit the profile of "young professional", but live outside of town in a rural community. In the last year or two I've become intrigued with the idea of urban living (thanks in part to reading this forum!). While I know friends and family who've moved out of state or to Grand Rapids (where I would rather be) to get the experience, I thought, what the heck, I'm already working in Lansing. Why not just get the experience here? It's not the most exciting city, but it does have a decent restaurant/entertainment district near the capitol. If I could live within walking distance of that area, maybe I could have my own version of urban living in Mid Michigan.

Well... I'm losing momentum already. I looked at a few places yesterday that would be considered a great location in most cities. Only 4 or 5 blocks from downtown restaurants and bars, a fitness center, and an organic city market. I walked around town for an hour, and while it's a nice looking downtown... I felt lonely! The only people walking around are 18 and 19 year old kids from the community college, the occasional government worker, and a few Cooley Law students. But hardly anyone my age.

When I met with the property manager, she asked if I was looking for something close to the community college. I said "no, I actually work in the area and thought it would be cool to live downtown." She looked at me like I was a weirdo. Apparently no one has ever tried this before in Lansing. I had a similar conversation with a property manager last week.

I have not completely given up on the idea, but it does look like I'm going to have to be an "urban pioneer" if I'm going to do it. In all honesty, though, I'm more of a trend-follower than a trend-setter. Maybe I'll just give up and go live in a sterile apartment complex in Delta Township. Like everyone else does. Or live by the college kids in East Lansing.
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Old 10-01-2010, 10:25 AM
 
Location: FLINT (yeah you read that right!), MI
336 posts, read 575,785 times
Reputation: 161
Good for you! I was in Lansing in August and there were some really cool looking condos (?) across from Lugnut stadium.
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Old 10-01-2010, 11:01 AM
 
Location: Lansing Metro
2,787 posts, read 3,006,863 times
Reputation: 3558
Quote:
Good for you! I was in Lansing in August and there were some really cool looking condos (?) across from Lugnut stadium.
Oh yeah, those are definitely cool! I'm a little too cheap to live in one of those, though.
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:03 PM
 
Location: FLINT (yeah you read that right!), MI
336 posts, read 575,785 times
Reputation: 161
I loved living downtown Flint when I first got married. We had an awesome apartment overlooking Court St. that was more square footage than the house we live in now.

I really wish the Durant would have been reopened back then. We could've taken a horse drawn carriage from the church to the reception and our apartment would've been right upstairs.
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Old 10-01-2010, 08:02 PM
 
Location: City of McKeesport
3,933 posts, read 4,060,007 times
Reputation: 2422
I know what you're talking about, Michigan83. I worked in downtown Lansing in the summer of 2008. Not only is downtown Lansing very quiet, but most of the residents there consider Lansing an undesirable area and prefer suburban East Lansing (or further out suburbs), which isn't an urban experience at all. Downtown Lansing has some lovely old buildings (Olds Tower and the Capitol), but I was saddened to learn how many historic structures fell to the wrecking ball over the years.

Urban living is not in vogue in Michigan, unless you're in Ann Arbor (not my opinion of an urban city) or Grand Rapids. That is the main reason cities like Flint, Lansing, Jackson, etc. have a bad reputation. Incidentally, downtown Jackson feels more urban than downtown Lansing, even if it is smaller.

I remember I had a conversation at a job interview for employment with the city of Lansing. Most of the city employees worked in the suburbs and looked at me like I was crazy when I said, "I thought it would be fun to work and live in the city." These were city employees! God help Lansing if even the city employees don't have faith in the city.
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Old 10-04-2010, 02:43 PM
 
41 posts, read 58,275 times
Reputation: 26
Hmm, this thread is all sorts of interesting. At least for me.

I was born and raised in Flint and for the most part...it was okay. While I'm not as vocal as Goin' North, I believe that a good family and the right choices made the difference. The city has gotten a lot worse, even in my 5 years since graduating high school there. Flint just lacks the right people to care about it. I'll admit, I gave up on it because there was no way it could provide the big city, urban experience that I wanted and I moved to Chicago 1 month ago.

I also lived in Lansing for a year after graduating from MSU, and I love how people there always acted like Flint was the wooorst thing in the world. In my opinion, if it wasn't for the capital being there, Lansing would've taken the same route as Flint. The capital serves as a HUGE buffer for a lot of the problems facing similar rust belt sized cities. (Random side note: I found Lansing to be a lot less segregated than Flint.)

Hm...I don't really have anything of worth to add....I'm just rambling...I just feel sad for the kids who don't have the support or means to know that Flint isn't the end-all-be-all. Even as I was growing up, a lot of kids never thought beyond the city, and the adults who were there just wanted to complain and move to Grand Blanc/Flushing/Burton. The loss of the Magnet Program & Central High School was a major blow to the school system in my opinion. That program is the only reason my mother kept me in the school district. The teachers and students involved with that were literally the brightest and best in Flint. End rambling.
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