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Company hoping to rezone historic Michigan neighborhood

The owners of NEW Life Enterprises are hoping to build a new garment-making factory in the north side of Flint. Expected to create 100 jobs, the proposed development project could potentially help to revitalize the Civic Park Neighborhood. Before the project can get underway, however, there are a few zoning issues that will need to be dealt with.

Because the Civic Park Neighborhood is zoned as a historic district, its buildings are protected from demolition. In order to build their new factory, NEW Life Enterprises is hoping to raze the shuttered Civic Park Elementary School and about 220 homes to construct the brand new 20,000-square-foot building. This proposal will only be allowed to proceed if the Michigan State Historical Preservation Office is willing to remove the neighborhood from its list of historic districts.

According to a statement by a Flint city councilwoman, the Civic Park Neighborhood is one of the city's most blight-riddled areas. Far from being a historic tourist attraction, the neighborhood was described as being similar to a war zone. Many local residents have agreed with the councilwoman's words, saying that economic development is what the Civic Park Neighborhood needs. If NEW Life Industries succeeds in having the historic status removed, the are could be made available for more new businesses.

As the economic climate changes, removing the historic status of a neighborhood can sometimes become appropriate. When a company wishes to develop in an area, it can often be beneficial to speak with a lawyer about zoning laws. If the city's zoning laws don't allow a company to build in an area, the lawyer may sometimes help the company to petition the city to have the laws changed.

Source: MLive.com, "20,000-square-foot manufacturing facility planned for shuttered Civic Park school in Flint", Jeremy Allen, October 04, 2013

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