Stories of Meaningful Change


Stories from the Community Foundation of Greater Flint.

Cultivating Beauty

"It is a whole lot better than what it was," said Gary Burns, Vice President of the Eastside Franklin Park neighborhood group. "We have our ideal plans that will take a few years to put fully into place, but we want it to be used by all the neighbors."

Charred houses, debris-filled basements, and rotting trees filled vacant lots in the Eastside Franklin Park neighborhood for several years, until members of the local neighborhood association starting cleaning up the area in late 2015. The group eventually retained a five-year lease to transform the vacant land into an area residents could enjoy. "Everyone wants their neighborhood to be a place where families feel safe and welcome," said Edna Sabucco, President of the Eastside Franklin Park neighborhood association. "We wanted to turn this eyesore into a beautiful spot where we could gather."

One of the Community Foundation's strategic goals is to foster strong neighborhoods throughout the county, and in 2016, we distributed 71 grants totaling $92,404 to local neighborhood groups. The Eastside Franklin Park neighborhood association received a $1,000 grant to help it create a pocket park out of the vacant lots. The association used the funds to fell a dangerous tree and to remove other debris from the space.

Future plans for Eastside Franklin Park include planting dwarf fruit trees, installing picnic tables and benches, and installing a raised vegetable garden and flower beds for neighbors' use. In addition to regular cleanups, the association hopes to paint storm drains to deter dumping, trim trees to better expose street lights, and create decorative boarding on various derelict properties.