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Cleanup efforts improve park appearance, safety

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Cleanup efforts improve park appearance, safety

FLINT

THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION

Sunday, September 12, 2004

By Marlon Vaughn

JOURNAL STAFF WRITER

FLINT - A summer of cleaning, pruning and shrub-trimming has left the Mott Park area cleaner, greener and safer, residents say.

"The alleyways have been opened up, and the light is getting through," Christine Monk, president of the Mott Park Neighborhood Association, said about the extensive removal of shrubs and overgrown weeds from alleys in the neighborhood.

The neighborhood association, along with about 200 Kettering University sorority and fraternity members, completed a major project in the spring that included the clearing of the alleyways, the removal of brush in the park and a litter cleanup. Volunteers from the neighborhood did another couple of cleanup rounds during the summer.

"It just looks so much better, and it's just so much nicer," said Anne Longley, a neighborhood resident. "This has always been a nice neighborhood, and it's important to preserve that."

One impetus behind the cleanups, specifically the clearing of the alleyways, was crime. Several houses, many of them rental units for Kettering students, straddle the alleys, and break-ins were frequent. Also, theft from cars had become a problem.

The clearing of the brush in the alleys has made a big difference, residents said.

"It's just so much better now," Monk said. "The light goes through the alleyways, and it's easy to see. There's nowhere to hide."

The neighborhood association is planning more cleanups for the near future, and another massive project with the Kettering students for next spring. The group hopes to thin out some of the dense woods inside the park.

"It's just an open invitation for someone to hide," Monk said. "If we clear it out, there will be no place for someone to hide and rob someone or deal drugs or whatever."

The Mott Park Neighborhood Association essentially took over maintenance of the park during the city's financial crisis a few years ago.

"It's our park, and we take pride in it," Monk said.

***

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