Flint’s a funny city for a lot of reasons but the reason the always perplexes me is the indifference to areas that are not right, square downtown. Sure, there are people that live and care about the other areas of Flint but for some reason no one seems willing or able to set their goals beyond the downtown. Once upon a time, the city was more than ten square blocks and had several interesting buildings that were valuable assets to the city. I am hoping that as the renovations projects near completion in the city that some people will begin to see the value in moving north on Saginaw Street, the main street that bisects the downtown area. North Saginaw Street is also sorta weird in that it leads to what is known as the north side of the city, an area that has a tendency for more crime, poverty, and thus is avoided a lot but, to see the area, you’d be almost surprised. Sure, the poverty is easy to see, but the road leading here is wide and smooth, the houses all whispering of former glory, and many areas seem so desolate that it’s a wonder that there is enough activity to warrant the bad reputation. Like very city though, there are parts that are not as safe as others, and this is one of those areas. I can happily say that my experiences there – walking door to door with another volunteer a few years back on MLK Day to give people information on the Earned Income Tax Credit available to lower income people and then working in a middle school near to the norh side – have been pleasant. I can’t shake the feeling though that some areas become ‘dangerous’ because we allow them to become that way by turning our backs on them.
I went out with a friend to photograph a small area on North Saginaw Street, these are some of the places we saw.