2014-11-13 / Front Page

Pep in Downtown’s Step: Old Souls Revive City Streets

By Carrie raCosta
810-452-2645 • cracosta@mihomepaper.com

FLINT — It is just a hop, skip, and a jump down the street from Burton. It is an extension of home for many county residents. It is Downtown Flint.

In recent years, the city has undergone a visible facelift. That much is an obvious fact, yet there exists more to the change than meets the eye.

The urban epicenter is overflowing in recent years with positivity and rejuvenation from somewhat unexpected sources, and the least expected of financial backers.

Sagniaw Street in particular, has undergone a revival much in part due to the hard work and passion of many young adults in the community who frequent the area with pride, hope, and a ready helping hand.

Networking individuals, mostly in the 20-40 age range have felt compelled to volunteer their time, finances, and hearts into the place that has been their artistic inspiration, educational base, and source of much culture acquisition; uncommonly found in other areas within the county.

Crystal Pepperdine is one of the young adults involved in this movement, spearheading numerous progressive projects with great success.

She works full-time in her paid career at Priority Children, advocating for improved public policies and other important social caus- es. She also works full-time with her unpaid position with Flint Handmade and numerous other outreach arts and volunteer projects within the city.

She is not alone.

“There are so many young professionals in our community who are looking for things to do, and they often use their own finances to back their project ideas and volunteer work. Those in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s are the up and coming community leaders. We need them and their understanding of the city’s needs, their sense of responsibility, and focus Pepperdine.

Motivated by the work of famed Flint philanthropists, Genesee County business leaders that invest in the restoration of the city, various professors at The University of Michigan-Flint, and their even peers,

“We are excited to grow beyond our wildest imagination, “said Pepperdine.

That imagination combined with their hard work and a relentless pursuit in the name of protecting the city’s points of pride have made a difference. It has been changing the image of the downtown area, impacting lives for the better, and generating a sense of renewed hope for many.

“Cultural Relativity is defensible and attractive. It’s also a source of hope. It means we don’t have to continue this way, if we don’t like,” said revered novelist Kurt Vonnegut.

On par with the above perspective, young professionals in the local area have been drawing a new portrait of the city of Flint. One, worth taking a second look at. Or, a deeper one.

Their canvas is always evolving, and they want you to be a part of the brighter picture.

An upcoming event representing the heart of the movement is The 8th Annual Holiday Craft Market on Nov. 29 from 10 a.m until 4 p.m. at The Masonic Temple.

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