Flint’s made a lot of lists over the last decade. Not many were desirable, says Mayor Karen Weaver, who frequently laments that a mention in rankings like “America’s Most Dangerous Cities” guarantee the city national headlines — while improvements in public safety rarely get notice.
The tide is changing, according to Mayor Weaver, who proudly extoles the tidal wave of new developments in Flint including its ranking on more “desirible” lists.
Tim Herman, CEO of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce calls Flint’s ranking as one of U.S. News and World Report’s “125 Best Places to Live” cause to celebrate.
“It’s good to see the tide changing,” Herman said at the Chamber’s annual meeting last week. “That’s real progress.”
The magazine pointed to signs that Flint is emerging as an epicenter of arts, culture and education. Chief among attributes cited was Flint’s resilience, community cohesion and pioneering spirit in addressing issues like public safety.
Factors in the listing included cities’ ability to offer good value, provide a desirable place to live, maintain a strong job market and provide a high quality of life.
The chamber highlighted these and other signs of progress in Flint and Genesee County at the meeting, including success achieved in the first year of its three-year strategic plan.
The achievements included:
- forging a partnership between the City of Flint, Genesee County and the Flint & Genesee Chamber to develop a county-wide vision, “Forward Together.”
- working with investors to build a strong business climate that helps Chamber members prosper collectively and individually.
- collaborating with community partners to support events that showcase Flint and Genesee County to influential groups inside and outside of Michigan.
- supporting more than $194 million in total investment.
- helping to generate 263 jobs.
- More than $134 million in tourism-related economic impact due to overnight hotel room rentals in Genesee County
For all the successes of the past year, Herman also said “there’s still much work to be done.”
“I want to leave you with food for thought on two challenges: one, population decline, and two, a talent shortage,” he said. “Oftentimes, we skirt around some of these issues if they feel too daunting, but we can’t afford to do that. We have to address these things head on, and the Forward Together countywide visioning process is going to help with this.”
Lead photo by Danen Williams