Group "saves Santa"

A group of Flint residents is putting time and money into keeping a Flint landmark in the community, but the "save Santa" organizers also hope to send a message to Flint leaders.

Melodee Mabbitt and her group of supporters wearing elf hats arrived at Flint's Repocast Saturday with $1,330 from area donors in exchange for the man in red.

Flint's emergency manager, Ed Kurtz, said the city accidentally placed the long-time display on the auction block.

These Santa supporters say you can't put a price on this fixture in the Flint community.

Mabbitt says many people on her "nice list" stepped up with donations to bid on the display.

"Santa has a history downtown," said Nancy Tessmer, co-owner of Soggy Bottom Bar in Flint.

According to Mabbitt, the piece of history is here to stay.

"Mayor Dayne Walling has graciously said that he will not say no to Santa and that he would be happy to put him back on display at City Hall so that's what this is about having elected officails make decisions on behalf of the public," said Mabbitt.

Mabbitt said Santa will be stored at a local non-profit til Christmas.