New community center at Flint's former Coolidge Elementary lands $50,000 grant

A new community center being built as part of the complex now under construction on the grounds of Flint’s former Coolidge Elementary school received a $50,000 boost from the Consumers Energy Foundation.

The Foundation awarded the grant to Communities First Inc., which is spearheading the $16.5 million community development project that includes renovating the long-closed school building into apartments and constructing a new four story building to create a mixed-use commercial and residential space just down from McLaren Flint. 

“Consumers Energy is committed to ensuring all Michigan residents and communities are thriving economically,” said Carolyn Bloodworth, secretary/treasurer of the Consumers Energy Foundation.  “We are pleased to support Communities First with a grant that will provide Flint residents with affordable housing, and recreational and life skills programs that will provide a bright future for the community’s next generation.”

The school’s old gymnasium will function as the community center, incorporating a variety of programs including cooking classes, recreational activities, family literacy, access to healthy foods, career exploration, dance/exercise classes, and financial education for tenants and community members.

Related story: Flint starts 2019 with $200 million in ongoing development

“We are excited about this grant which brings us one step closer to offering high-quality programming and opportunities for youth and families near the Coolidge site.  We look forward to keeping neighborhood youth engaged during the critical out of school hours,” said Glenn Wilson, president and CEO of Communities First.

Communities First was founded in 2010 by Glenn and Essence Wilson with a mission to build healthy, vibrant communities through economic development, affordable housing and innovative programming. It also developed both Oak Street Senior Apartments and Swayze Court Apartments. 

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