Utilizing a $14 million allocation from Dakotas America, Uptown Reinvestment Corporation and URC-FJ, LLC of Flint, Michigan, are converting a four-block area in one of the most distressed urban communities in the US, into a medical school for Michigan State University, the new Flint Farmers’ Market and a public access area or space for future development.
The medical school will focus on public health education. Related research activities are expected to generate programs and prototypes for public health practices in urban areas. The project represents a long-term vision sponsored by the region's medical centers and hospitals. The facility in which the school will be located will also include apartment complexes, with a portion of the units offering affordable rent for low-income persons.
A separate new Flint Farmers’ Market facility will be established at the site, offering modern space for at least 50 vendors, and accommodating hundreds of thousands of visitors. Open year-round, the market will offer increased accessibility to fresh and healthy food to low-income residents of the area, with close proximity to public transportation. The market space will also be available for community events and provide incubation support for start-up food-related businesses.
As part of the project, the former Genesee Towers facility has been demolished. This building was previously vacant and derelict, and presented a community safety hazard. The space created from its removal will provide an opportunity for future development or alternatively, serve as a new public access area and plaza.
"The Flint Health and Wellness District is laying the groundwork in downtown Flint for a diverse economy that combines the Med's, Ed's and Market to revitalize four city blocks," said Ridgway White, from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. "Anchored by Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine and the Flint Farmers’ Market, the project’s end goal is to attract health and medical related businesses to the downtown area."