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      Grant funding dwindles for blight fighting groups

      A Flint non-profit group is taking responsibility for the majority of vacant lots inside Flint's Central Park. But securing the funding for that operation isnâ??t guaranteed.

      Deontrey Crockett and Court Street Village Non-profit thought they would never hear their lawn mowers cleaning the neighborhood again.

      "Without me doing that then the neighborhood would just look horrible," said 20-year-old Deontrey Crockett.

      â??We were devastated,â?? said Court Street Village Non-profitâ??s Norma Sain.

      After losing a $10,000 grant from the city of Flint last summer, Sain was unsure how Court Street Non-profit would continue mowing lawns for the elderly.

      "We would take care of their lawn for only five bucks" said Crockett.

      With countless organizations getting into Flint's blight fighting mix, Court Street Non-profit started looking elsewhere for funding. The group eventually turned to the Genesee County Land Bank's Clean and Green grant. The grant required the applicants to take on more properties so Sainâ??s organization starting reaching out to others.

      "So Central Park Neighborhood and Fairfield Village Neighborhood partnered together and currently we mow and maintain 36 properties," said Sain.

      The fight for funding is widespread Sain says it requires grant writing skills and persistence to keep her community blight free; and Deontrey Crockett cutting grass.

      "I actually do think that me cleaning out the vacant lots in the neighborhood is making a difference," said Crockett.

      Court Street Non-profit says they hope the Genesee County Land Bank will keep providing the Clean and Green grant after this years grant expires.